Frankenstein as Neo-Gothic: From the Ghost of the Counterfeit to the Monster of Abjection

Jerrold E. Hogle

In Between Cultures: Transformations of Genre in Romanticism, ed. Tilottama Rajan and Julia Wright (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), pp. 176-210

{176} It was already one in the morning . . . when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs . . . Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion, [and] straight black lips . . . [B]y the dim and yellow light of the moon, as it forced its way through the window-shutters, I beheld the wretch -- the miserable monster whom I had created . . . His jaws opened and he muttered some inarticulate sounds, while a grin wrinkled his cheeks. He might have spoken, but I did not hear; one hand was stretched out, seemingly to detain me, but I escaped . . .

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein (1818), 52-53 1
[Manfred, Prince of Otranto,] seized the cold hand of Isabella, who was half-dead with fright and horror. She shrieked, and started from him. Manfred rose to pursue her; when the moon, which was now up, and gleamed at the opposite casement, presented to his sight the plumes of the fatal helmet, which rose to the height of the windows, waving backwards and forwards in a tempestuous manner, and accompanied with a hollow and a rustling sound . . . Heaven nor hell shall impede my designs, said Manfred, advancing again to seize the princess. At that instant the portrait of his grandfather, which hung over the bench where they had been sitting, uttered a deep sigh and heaved its breast . . . Manfred, distracted by the flight of Isabella, who had now reached the stairs, and his inability to keep his eyes from the picture, which began to move, had however advanced some steps after her, still looking backwards on the portrait, when he saw it quit its pannel, and descend on {177} the floor with a grave and melancholy air . . . [T]he vision sighed and made a sign to Manfred to follow him. Lead on! cried Manfred; I will follow thee to the gulph of perdition. The spectre marched sedately, but dejected, to the end of the gallery, and turned into a chamber on the right hand . . . As [Manfred] would have entered the chamber, the door was clapped-to with violence by an invisible hand.

-- Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto (1764), 23-24
Hamlet. Angels and ministers of grace defend us!
Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damn'd,
Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,
Be thy intents wicked or charitable,
Thou com'st in such a questionable shape
That I will speak to thee. I'll call thee Hamlet,
King, father, royal Dane. O answer me.
Let me not burst in ignorance, but tell
Why thy canoniz'd bones, hearsed in death,
Have burst their cerements, why the sepulchre
Wherein we saw thee quietly inurn'd
Hath op'd his ponderous and marble jaws
To cast thee up again. What may this mean,
That thou, dead corse, again in complete steel
Revisits thus the glimpses of the moon,
Making night hideous and we fools of nature
So horridly to shake our dispositions
With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls?
Say why is this? Wherefore? What should we do?

Ghost beckons.

-- William Shakespeare, Hamlet (1600), I.4.39-57

I Gothic/Counter-Gothic?

There has been at least a mild debate about how "Gothic" Frankenstein is. "Despite [certain] affinities," many have said, "Frankenstein departs from the Gothic tradition as obviously as it follows it."2 For some, Mary Shelley ultimately writes an "anti-Gothic novel . . . within her Gothic tale."3 But does there have to be an "anti-Gothic" versus "mainly Gothic" dichotomy? Why can't one ultimately be the same as the other for Mary Shelley? What if Frankenstein transformed the earlier Gothic by intensifying and complicating what was most basic to it? Might we not agree with Frederick S. Frank when he suggests that Mary Shelley's "novel {178} registers deep traces of the Gothic" and yet its author should "be seen as a revisionist of that tradition" precisely in her continuation of those traces?4 And couldn't we provide reasons for that view beyond just saying, with Frank and so many others, the Frankenstein changes "the Gothic fable of identity" by placing it in "the world of theoretical science" or reconnecting it to "Romantic" versions of "the tragedy of the misspent intellect" (Frank, First Gothics, 346)?

I want to argue that Frankenstein "registers traces of the [earlier] Gothic" that go very "deep" indeed. For me what seems "counter-Gothic" in Frankenstein is made possible by how extremely Gothic it is and by how the Godwin-Shelley circle, particularly in Mary Shelley's novel, redeployed the Gothic mode on the basis of the most basic presuppositions underlying the Gothic itself. I think that Frankenstein quite precisely echoes key aspects -- the ghosts -- in the "Gothic Story" as Horace Walpole first presented it in The Castle of Otranto; that the natures of these ghosts reveal the highly conflicted assumptions behind "Gothic" reworkings of past symbolic modes, especially Shakespearean drama; that those assumptions reflect an eighteenth-century transition between states of Western culture in which increasingly waning concepts of signification pull nostalgically backwards while newer, more capitalist alternatives try to make cultural capital out of the older ones; and that this contest between ideological and symbolic tendencies in the Gothic provides a site into which emergent cultural tensions can be transferred, sequestered, disguised, and thus (momentarily) diffused. The creation of this site is based, I find, on a re-counterfeiting (or ghost) of an earlier use of signs as counterfeits, and it is this "ghost of the counterfeit" in the Gothic that both works out and embodies -- or shows the disembodiment in -- the cultural transition underlying The Castle of Otranto and much of its progeny.

Moreover, it is this ungrounded fakery in the "grounding" of the Gothic, its re-presentation of antiquated symbols largely emptied of their older meanings, that opens up a peculiar cultural space into which the horrors generated by early modern cultural changes and their dominant ideologies of the individual can be "thrown off" or "thrown down and under" -- "abjected" in the sense emphasized by Julia Kristeva and others in her wake.5 Such a progression is begun in The Castle of Otranto and its immediate successors, but it accelerates most rapidly in English writing when members of the Godwin-Shelley circle, and finally Mary Shelley herself, among others, {179} foreground the ways in which the Gothic ghost of the counterfeit allows us to load the hollowed-out depths in the counterfeits of the past with the least acceptable, most heterogenous aspects of human being in the early industrial era. Abjection becomes a continuously important feature of Gothic and related fictions from around the time of Frankenstein on, as several critics have seen already.6 Yet that occurs because the eighteenth-century Gothic, a regressive-progressive genre/counter-genre that is betwixt and between in its recalling and recasting of past forms, provides the symbolic means for that very construction of "self" versus "archaic other." Frankenstein turns out to be one major apogee of the Gothic's development from the Walpolean ghosts of older ghosts to the ghost-like representation and sequestering of the abject.

II The Ghosts of the Gothic in Frankenstein

The depth of Frankenstein's roots in the Walpolean Gothic, which has never been clarified in very specific terms, becomes apparent if we look more closely at the passages quoted above. To begin with, it has long been obvious that The Castle of Otranto imitates Shakespeare's Hamlet, particularly since Walpole acknowledges the debt in his Preface to the Second Edition (The Castle, 8-12). The echoes are especially strong in the scene I have quoted from Walpole: Manfred confronts both a fragment (the "fatal helmet") of the armoured ghost of the castle's murdered true owner (Alfonso) and the portrait of his own grandfather (Ricardo) walking out of its picture and "making a sign" to the Prince of Otranto to follow it, much as the Ghost "in complete steel" resembling Hamlet's poisoned father "beckons" to Shakespeare's Prince of Denmark on the "platform" at Elsinore. What the description of the creature in Frankenstein echoes most, however, from Walpole's "Gothic Story" (his own subtitle for the Second Edition) are changes that The Castle makes in the features of the Ghost from Hamlet. The several Otranto ghosts, in contrast to Shakespeare's one, are first of all tearings to pieces of their predecessor. The Hamlet Ghost is split up into multiple specters and into gigantic armored portions of one figure that need to be reconnected at the end of the novel for the primal crime to be fully revealed (The Castle, 108). In addition, Walpole's second ghost-echo of Shakespeare's "spirit" is the "descending" shade of a picture, a moving image of what is already an artificial construct (within the story, not just as part {180} of one). Hamlet's attempt to refer his Ghost's "questionable shape" to a deeply material object outside it, his father's "canoniz'd bones," is turned by Walpole into the shade of a two-dimensional signifier. This kind of "vision" is more the ghost of what Hamlet later calls the "counterfeit presentiment" of his father (Hamlet, 3.4.54) when he asks his mother to compare portraits of the dead and the usurping King of Denmark in the so-called "closet scene."7 Frankenstein's creature extends and further develops precisely the "Gothic" transfigurations of Shakespeare. The monster is, like Alfonso's ghost at its fullest, a larger-than-life-size stitching-together of dead body-parts torn from their "natural" former owners. It/he also haunts his guilty maker, as Ricardo haunts Manfred, by being an artificial "portrait" of dead life set in motion, the phantasm of an act of counterfeiting.8

Once these basic reconstructions of Walpole's recastings become clear for the reader of Frankenstein, other "ghostings" of Otranto's uprooted signifiers become quite prominent in Mary Shelley's creation scene. There we find a night-time "light of the moon" that again serves to reveal a large, upright, but fragmentary shape; the "inarticulate sounds" of the monster that recall the mysterious "rustling sound" of the big helmet's plumes; the "breathing" and "convulsive motion" of the awakening creature that echo the way the figure in the portrait "heaved its breast" and "began to move"; and the reaching for communication (the stretched-out hand) that leads in both works to a sudden breaking of contact, to signifiers (the "making of signs") seeming yet failing to refer to signifieds or counterparts, as opposed to the revelations in the father-son dialogue that immediately follows Hamlet's first sighting of the Ghost in Shakespeare (Hamlet, 1.5.1-91). What all these moments have most in common is a quality basic to the fragmented figures of artificial life at the heart of both scenes: their offering of a representation that at first exposes no signified beyond itself or beyond another signifier, as in the reference of Walpole's huge ghostly fragments only to the armored effigy of Alfonso on his tomb beneath Otranto and its abbey (The Castle, 18). In both Frankenstein and The Castle of Otranto, the initial "horror" of the hero at the emergence of a ghost of counterfeit being is like "the reaction of a reader who finds the letters on a page [losing] their meaning as they lose their ground in a referential depth and order."9 Communicable signification must be initially impossible -- the Gothic must be partly about "the growing gap between word and thing"10 -- because what Walpolean Gothic {181} heroes and heroines are haunted by most apparently, even in Frankenstein, is a pervasively counterfeit existence: the fact of signifiers referring back to signifiers, none of which contain or connect to their own meanings in the ways their users and observers assume they do or wish they would.

Then, too, Frankenstein replays The Castle, along with some of Otranto's echoes of Hamlet, at the level of the basic transgressions to which the ghosts of ghosts refer. Granted, the primal crime for Walpole, the poisoning of Alfonso by Ricardo (his chamberlain) and the shifting of castle ownership from the heirs of the former to the heirs of the latter (The Castle, 109), repeats the murder and usurpation of old King Hamlet by his brother Claudius, though Ricardo and his progeny move more completely from one class to another. At the same time, however, Walpole places an emphasis far beyond Shakespeare's on the movements of ghosts as immediate reactions to the attempted misuse of a woman. It is the near-"seizure" of Isabella twice in the above passage from The Castle that makes the helmet's plumes "tempestuous" and the portrait heave a sigh. Walpole has turned Claudius' semi-incestuous seduction of Gertrude into Manfred's effort to force sex and marriage on Isabella, the daughter of a rival claimant to the castle, so that Manfred may produce male heirs to shore up the retention of Otranto by Ricardo's line (The Castle, 22-23). Manfred's pursuit is never loving and only marginally lustful; Isabella attracts him almost solely as an instrument for his holding on to property, and his own daughter, Matilda, is of use to him only if she is willing to accept a forced marriage, as part of a property-alliance, with Frederic, Isabella's father (The Castle, 90-92) -- a major reason for the (in)famous interchangeability of Isabella and Matilda throughout The Castle of Otranto. Compared to Gertrude and Ophelia in Hamlet, these women are versions of each other less as names of "frailty" -- less as scapegoats for the inconsistency, concupiscence, and deceptive appearances which men seek to transfer from themselves onto "woman"11 -- and more as commodity-objects within a "traffic in women."12 Foreshadowing the heroines in later Gothic novels by women, Matilda and Isabella have meaning outside themselves mostly as positioned and exchanged "between men" for the sake of dynastic and property, or other "homosocial," interactions among males alone.13 Walpole's women are thereby refashioned, since they are really made coins of exchange,14 into counterfeits of counterfeits (falsified and falsifiable women able to be {182} substituted one for another) very like the signs of signs that the ghosts of Alfonso and Ricardo are from the start.

Frankenstein takes this "Gothic" articulation of women as the merest instruments for men and makes it basic to Victor's primal crime by giving it another turn of the screw. First Mary Shelley transforms this instrumentality into Victor's production of a counterfeit person using "instruments of life" that are entirely masculine or inhuman (Frankenstein, 52). Then she compounds that masturbatory outrage by having her monster request a man-made female counterpart for himself, the potential, albeit counterfeit, mother of his future progeny (Victor's view of her on 163); such is the creature's price, and thus Victor's payment, for settling the dispute between creator and creation (again "between men"). The usurpation of "true" male lineage as an original "Gothic sin" bound up with the reduction of women to instruments now becomes the male "attempt to usurp the power of women" to give birth,15 even to become the manufacturer of future counterfeit women as objects of exchange -- a counterfeiting of pregnancy and delivery by a "sublimated womb."16 It is this intensification of Walpole's recoinable female which most directly breathes life into Mary Shelley's counterfeit being.

The creation scene in Frankenstein even extends Manfred's earliest attempt to turn a living woman into a hollowed-out figure: the near-killing of Isabella in his initial pursuit of her. Her "hand" is "cold" when it is first "seized" because she is "half-dead with fright and horror" at a false Prince's attempt to use her as a means to property and progeny. The most analyzed moment in Frankenstein strikingly echoes this basic "Gothic" potential for transforming a woman into a dead body. Between the stirring of the creature on Victor's laboratory table and the looming of the monster's grinning visage at the foot of his creator's bed, the exhausted Victor falls into a dream:

I thought I saw Elizabeth [Victor's "intended"], in the bloom of health, walking in the streets of Ingolstadt. Delighted and surprised, I embraced her; but as I implanted the first kiss on her lips, they became livid with the hue of death; her features appeared to change, and I thought that I held the corpse of my dead mother in my arms; a shroud enveloped her form, and I saw the grave-worms crawling in the folds of the flannel. (Frankenstein, 53)
Whatever the many insights that traditional psychoanalytic readings have drawn from this interchangeability of female figures,17 its status as pointing to an unconscious root-desire behind the construction {183} and features of the monster also recalls, even as Victor tries to displace and deny, the Walpolean desire to use a woman sexually-but-instrumentally that turns her from a young lady to a virtual corpse before Manfred's eyes.18

After all, the first chase-scene in The Castle is but a prelude to Manfred's final and most deadly pursuit of a fleeing girl. Though he takes this young woman in the last chapter to be Isabella still in the act of resisting his suit, she turns out to be his daughter, Matilda (whose "features appear to change"), precisely at the moment he stabs her to death before the underground tomb of Alfonso. At this point (The Castle, 104) Manfred instantly becomes a "Savage, inhuman monster" (a pre-creature) in the eyes of young Theodore, the suitor of Matilda and later the "disconsolate" new Prince of Otranto. Theodore, in turn (by now a pre-Victor), finally accepts betrothal to Isabella only as the merest substitute for marriage to the dead Matilda, for whom he still longs in an incurable "melancholy" that entirely possesses him as The Castle of Otranto ends (110). Yes, Victor Frankenstein can be psychoanalyzed as a melancholic who has so introjected his dead maternal origin that he must continually seek and reject substitutes for it (Elizabeth, the creature) for the sake of still trying to reembrace, while also working to throw off, the Mother only partly embodied by them (the woman by Elizabeth, her dead body by the creature, and both by the female creature whom Victor destroys while creating). But this psychology would not have occurred in the form it assumes in Frankenstein, nor would this novel have so strongly helped to inspire the forms of psychoanalysis that now read it this way, if the "materials [had not], in the first place, be[en] afforded" (Mary Shelley, 1831 Preface, Frankenstein, 226), if Walpole's neo-Gothic had not provided, partly by recasting Hamlet's sense of his mother in Shakespeare, the interchangeability of women for male desire, the pushing of an instrumentalized woman towards a death-state that becomes the death of another woman, the connection of male "monstrosity" (including an incest-drive) with this transformation, and the young hero in quest of his "true being" and origins who apparently finds them only in a sort of marriage with a substitute, a counterfeit, for a dead love-object. Gothic ghosts of counterfeit existence seem to walk forth, as early as The Castle of Otranto and at least as late as Frankenstein, as bound up with -- indeed, as manifestations of -- exchangeable femininity and the turning of eros {184} into a death-drive as male desire moves from one counterfeit to another, especially from one counterfeit of woman to another.

III The Abjected "Substance" in Frankenstein's Counterfeit

At the same time, the "grounding" of Frankenstein in falsifying uses of the feminine body also marks a point of divergence where Mary Shelley's novel surpasses the Walpolean Gothic. Isabella and Matilda may become images of death much like the ghosts of Alfonso and Ricardo, but as Victor Frankenstein's dream presses beyond figures of the creature and Elizabeth to the maternal body, the "shroud" that seems to conceal the ultimate love-object reveals "grave-worms crawling in the folds," referring to the gross otherness of bodily decay in ways no symbol in Walpole does. To be sure, Matilda's death is anticipated and Frederic's marriage to her is prevented in The Castle of Otranto by the appearance of the ghost of the long-dead Hermit of Joppa, a "figure" with "the fleshless jaws and empty sockets of a skeleton" (The Castle, 102). But this third specter of Walpole's, really just a skull in a cowl, is primarily a conventional and quasi-medieval emblem intoning that death is the wages of sin (especially the sin about to be committed by Frederic and Manfred in their proposed exchange of daughters) and serving to remind Frederic of "the behest of heaven engraven" on the large buried sword that led him to Otranto after the dying Hermit helped him dig it up (The Castle, 77-79 ). Like the ghost of the portrait and the fragmented pieces of the effigy on Alfonso's tomb, the skeletal Hermit is a figure of other figures much more than he is a body in decay (indeed, he is past decay).19 Frankenstein's dream-desire both keeps maternal decay covered by its signs (the shroud, Elizabeth, the creature, the large and small portraits of Victor's mother [Frankenstein, 73, 78, 139]) and points to that worm-infested, feminine dissolution, not to mention Victor's necrophilia towards it, as a referent, however hidden, that, like an alien horror, invades the space of some of the signifiers trying to be separate from it.

It seems as if Mary Shelley is returning the Walpolean ghost of the counterfeit of death to the attempted physical references (the "bones" that are mentioned) in Hamlet's first speech to his father's Ghost. As it happens, though, the kind of reference attempted by the "ghostly" symbols in Frankenstein is more a combination of brutal {185} concreteness and the separation of signifiers from referents. Hamlet's reference to his father's corpse stops well short of mouldering decay. The features of dissolution there are "canoniz'd" and "hearsed" within "cerements," already contained by the cultural management of them in symbolic, religious envelopes. In contrast to this Shakespearean and the Walpolean sign of the dead, the worms in Victor's dream of his mother's corpse are harrowingly immediate and almost fully uncovered -- even as the approach to them is mediated by figures, such as the "blooming" Elizabeth and the grinning face of the creature, which keep them at a distance while referring to them as well.

Then, too, the creature's visage, taken by itself, is even more anomolous in its capacities to refer beyond its surface. Unlike the opaque flatness or layers of mere signs in Walpole's ghosts of counterfeits, the skin of Frankenstein's monster "scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath." These multiple organs and bodily functions manifestly show through, even though they were not supposed to, much as the worms penetrate the shroud of the dead mother or the thin skin of premature infants reveals the complex tangle of body-parts that it covers. Moreover, the racial otherness of the creature, the specific physicality of his "irreconcilable [ethnic] diversity" (Cottom, "Monster of Representation," 61), forces itself on his creator's attention in "his yellow skin," his non-Asian "flowing" hair, and his "straight black lips." True, by the standards that Victor first sets for his representation of life -- the construction of a cohesive "being like myself" which will demonstrate the "causation" of existence while being recognizably "human," all with the unified identity of a "new species" (Frankenstein, 47-49) -- the "inarticulate" creature is a failure of representation, a divorce of the visible signifier(s) from the signifieds and referents originally sought, as are the ghost of Ricardo's portrait and the fragments of Alfonso's effigy in The Castle of Otranto. Even so, this monster's half-transparent, "shrivelled" visage composed from fragments of other (and dead) figures does refer, with astonishing precision, to a series of culturally suppressed but very substantial "realities," different ones of which are emphasized by different interpreters of Frankenstein.

Indeed, the creature's counterfeit form suggests, while also concealing and not being, a host of "othered" levels of existence that are, in the words of David Musselwhite, simultaneously "prescribed and {185} proscribed by the facile categorizings of the [hegemonic] social and cultural order"20. Especially by embodying the contents of his maker's dream, he/it is and is not the multiplicity of the human body (its status as a corps morcele rooted in and susceptible to fragmentation); the incestuous desire for reincorporation with the mother; the attractiveness and repulsiveness of the death in that return to the site of birth; the sense of birth as inseparable from a movement towards death; the postpartum horrors of the birth-process, with what was "inside" (including death) now existing "outside" (as living death); the conflation of the masculine with the feminine (a gender-confusion) in the primal relation of son and mother; the placement of a constructed male (the creature) in a female position (that of the love-object/mother), with suggestions of homosexual, as well as incestuous, desire; the condition of existing between and across different races; the state of the gigantic laboring classes uprooted by economic change that are created, colonized, and then (ab)used by the social "science" of the bourgeoisie and capitalist gentry; the attempt both to construct and to deny such a "child" of upper-middle-class aspirations; the transformation of "creation" (supposedly the embodiment of the laborer's work) into "production" (the alienation and wandering of the product from the laborer); the consequent confusion of "sexual reproduction [with] social subject-production" (Spivak, "Three Women's Texts," 259); and the contradictory, even violent energies in individuals and a social order torn between conflicting ideologies over what the "human sciences" do and should reveal about the nature of existence at the start of the nineteenth century.21 The creature is a "monster" in that it/he embodies and distances "all that a society refuses to name -- all the betwixt-and-between, even ambisexual, cross-class, and cross-cultural conditions of life that Western culture "abjects," as Kristeva would put it -- "not just because its very heterogeneity, mobility, and power [are] a threat to that society but" because it/he also implies and sequesters "the very flux[es] of energy that made society possible" in ways that hegemonic culture will not recognize (Musselwhite, Partings Welded Together, 59).

Frankenstein as "Gothic" thus presents us with an extreme contradiction that still needs an explanation, despite the many recent interpretations of the novel and its Gothic antecedents. On the one hand, very much like Walpole's figures of older figures, the creature as a specter of counterfeit life is "a sign detached from a visual or {187} verbal grammar" that would immediately explain it/him coherently (Mellor, Mary Shelley, 128). He/it enters and is "a construct of signifiers which figures his initial want and lack without fulfilling it"22 and so can be known, as the primal truth about Alfonso and Ricardo is known from an "authentic writing" (The Castle, 110), only as a text referred to many other texts by himself, his creator, and his observers or readers.23 On the other hand, "the Creature is a figuration . . . more sublimely literal than [most of his] original[s]" (Sherwin, Frankenstein, 901). It/he is "the absolutely Other" (Spivak, "Three Women's Texts," 258, my emphasis) pointing immediately, as we have just seen, to intermixed and repressed states of being, the divisibility of the body, "thrown down" social groups, class struggles, gender-confusions, birth-moments, and death-drives (or longings for each of these), as well as to a cacophony of ideological and intertextual differences. All the while, though, he/it both represents each of these alterities and keeps them at a great remove by being quasi-human yet strictly artificial. It/he is still a Gothic ghost of a counterfeit, drawn towards yet "protect[ed] from the reality it describes by casting a veil over" it (Montag, "'Workshop of Filthy Creation'," 309), like the shroud cast over the worm-eaten body of the mother in Victor's dream. Frankenstein works to pull readers towards reality's darknesses, but it is equally drawn to, indeed perpetually haunted by, the earlier Gothic signifier and its loss of the increasingly distant past or ground which all such ghosts seem to recall. We now need to decide how the latter led to the former, how the contradiction of the "counterfeit of the abject" came to exist in one of the most influential achievements of Gothic and counter-Gothic writing. We need to determine, in other words, in what ways the ghost of the counterfeit enables the abjection it comes to manifest and sequester. We can do that by looking more closely, first, at Frankenstein's point of departure: the Walpolean recasting of Shakespeare and the conflicted assumptions behind it and its most immediate progeny. Then we can examine how the post-Renaissance counterfeit produces a symbolic scheme that allows increasing abjections into its depths and how more and more anomalies of pre-industrial being were consequently "thrown off" into Gothic ghosts of counterfeits during the ascendance of English Romanticism, particularly in Frankenstein.

IV The Ghost of the Counterfeit in the Gothic

The Walpolean counterfeit Gothic arises at a time in the European understanding of signs and culture when the notion of symbols as counterfeits since the time of Shakespeare is starting to change into a latter assumption. In his intriguing history of how signs have been viewed as relating to their referents in the Anglo-European West since the Middle Ages, Jean Baudrillard finds the tacit sense that signification is and should be "counterfeit" to be the most widely accepted conscious or pre-conscious belief about signs from the Renaissance through the dawn of industrial manufacture.24 Thinking in terms of the counterfeit meant viewing signs the way Hamlet sees the Ghost and its "counterfeit" portrait: as beckoning us towards an image's "determinate links to the world" ("I'll call thee Hamlet, / King, father, royal Dane") yet as finally harboring only a "nostalgia" for (and thus the specter of) a predetermined social or "natural" ground (Baudrillard, "Structural Law of Value," 62). Meaning as counterfeit emerged in the Renaissance of the literate classes, as in that era's promotion of personal "self-fashioning" through a refashioned classical rhetoric,25 because that period, especially in England by the sixteenth century, saw the first widespread effulgence of a truly mercantile or early-capitalist economy and the assumptions it demanded or allowed. Educated Europeans felt they were leaving behind the eras of what Baudrillard has called the "bound sign," the notion of sets of signifiers as referring to an ordained "situation" or "status" where "assignation [was] total, mobility nil" (Baudrillard, "Structural Law of Value," 61). Status and the signs or cultural capital (including the rhetoric) associated with it came to be regarded as more transferable depending on economic success and acquisition. The strict "endogamy of the sign proper to orders of status" now gave way to "the transition of the sign-values of prestige from one class to another" (Baudrillard, "Structural Law of Value," 62). Signs could therefore serve, as they do in Hamlet, both as partially empty recollections of former statuses (being still nostalgic for absolute grounds for themselves) and as announcements of "natures" that could seem recoined, rhetorically transformed, or simply masked (counterfeited into a "questionable shape") by new displays of social position that reused the signifiers of older ones.

It is this duplicity of drives in the counterfeit that the eighteenth- {189} century British "Gothic," more blatantly than the other kinds of fictional discourse around it, takes to later extremes over a century and a half after Hamlet was first staged. At the same time, exploiting the transferability of the unbound counterfeit sign, the Gothic's re-counterfeitings make some crucial shifts that further uproot the nostalgic reference in the Renaissance "original." The image or fragment of that nostalgia takes over the position of the past referent in the neo-Gothic sign; hence the "grounding" of Gothic signifiers mostly in other signs, the pointing of Walpole's ghosts to portraits or divisible effigies, or to earlier authors' ghosts, instead of "natural" persons and their statuses. Indeed, throughout the neo-Gothic "revival" in the eighteenth century, the remnant of "bound-sign" and "natural" meaning is replaced as the "Gothic" sign's point of reference by counterfeits of that remnant: pictures of ancestors, restagings of Renaissance plays, words or illustrations in books (such as editions of Shakespeare or pictorial accounts of "Gothic" architecture), falsely "authentic" reproductions (including sham Gothic ruins and Macpherson's "Ossian"), or pieces broken off of archaic structures and reassembled differently, particularly in Walpole's (in)famous toy-Gothic mansion at Strawberry Hill.26 The supposed medieval "endogamy" of sign and status (or self and "natural" origin) is reduced to a trace of itself, left to be both vaguely longed for and almost entirely, though never quite, thrown away. Walpole's attraction to the Gothic, he tells us in his letters, is to the relics of "centuries that cannot disappoint one," because "the dead" are now so disembodied, so merely imaged, that there is no reason "to quarrel with their emptiness" (Yale Walpole, X: 192). Thus, when he writes The Castle of Otranto, he feels free to use the Catholic iconography of a "form of Saint Nicholas" watching over and finally "receiving Alfonso's shade" (The Castle, 108), even though as an Anglican he flatly rejects such a symbol's claim to truth. His reference to (for him) an antiquated belief-system, as in the reference of his ghosts to portraits, effigies, and outdated emblems of sin, assumes from the start the already broken, hollowed, and (often) fake nature of the icons he adopts and refashions.

The counterfeit, or more precisely the Renaissance counterfeit of the medieval, has now become the "signified" of the Gothic signifier, so the Gothic is haunted by the ghost of that already spectral past -- and thus by its refaking of what was already fake and already an emblem of the nearly empty and dead. Especially in The Castle of {190} Otranto, the Gothic reflects, on the one hand, a longing for the supposed securities of the "bound" medieval sign now fading almost completely behind the surfaces of Renaissance representations and, on the other, the opportunistic manipulation of old symbols for a newer class-climbing acqusitiveness (Ricardo's and Manfred's, not to mention Walpole's own). The "Gothic revival" occurs in a world of increasingly bourgeois "free market" enterprise trying to look like a process sanctioned by more ancient imperatives yet also striving to regard the old icons as empty of meaning whenever they inhibit post-Renaissance Anglican acquisition. Walpole replaces the Preface to his First Edition of The Castle, the one where he pretends under a pseudonym to be the translator of an equally non-existent Renaissance manuscript (3-6), with a second Preface (1765) that acknowledges the fakery of the first, and then applies the "Gothic" label to his series of counterfeitings, mainly as a consequence of -- and a way to further -- the success of Walpole's "little piece" in the marketplace (like that of a well-circulated coin; The Castle, 7). The new Preface and the "Gothic" designation, in fact, along with Walpole's famous proposal for combining the "ancient and modern" forms of "romance," strive to promote more market success in the name of an even wider free enterprise. The now identified "author" trumpets how "desirous" he is to leave "the great resources" and "powers of the fancy at liberty to expatiate through the boundless realms of invention" on the basis of both established and emergent standards in Shakespearean drama and "romantic story" (Preface to the Second Edition, The Castle, 7-8).

No wonder Emma J. Clery sees Walpole's second preface as assuming "infinite vistas of commercial expansion" after its writer had "spotted a gap in the market" and had come to see "fancy" as a form of "wealth" able to be invested and reinvested in the "commodity" of "fiction."27 The Renaissance counterfeit's hesitation between nostalgia for the medieval self-and-status link and the transfer of older signs of status from people of one class to people of another has become the "Gothic" aporia between counterfeits of the old nostalgia (signs of what has been emptied out, even as its remnants still beckon) and recoinings of such bogus archaisms into commodifiable signifiers able to "expatiate" (or "spread out" rootlessly) in a market circulation where "Gothic" fictions can now be reproduced from a mold that is "grounded" in the refaking of fakes. The several recent analyses of Gothic fiction and theater as oscillating between "con- {191} flicting codes of representation or discourses"28 are all based on this fundamental neo-Gothic interplay of regression towards the counterfeit of a past, on the one hand, and the irreverent use of the counterfeit's images as cultural capital for "free" circulation and profit, on the other.

Here, then, in the anomalous "ghost of the counterfeit," lies the symbolic and ideological mechanism by which the neo-Gothic mediates between social and cultural orders that are either fading into the past, as they were starting to in the Renaissance (the priestly and the old aristocratic), or rising into dominance (the capitalist and the pre-industrial). In this transition, the Gothic carries the counterfeit's increasing preference for less "bound" signification towards its (il)logical conclusion and so moves towards the more newly emergent sense of the sign, the counterfeit's replacement: the view of the signifier as fundamentally a "simulacrum" (Baudrillard, "Structural Law of Value, 62-64) able to be industrially reproduced on the basis of a pattern or mold that is itself a counterfeit of the counterfeit.29 Almost all the Gothic fictions written in the wake of The Castle of Otranto, as a result, have the same generally Renaissance (and fake) reference-point with a jaundiced sense of its nostalgia for an older stability, now gone except for its fragments. At the same time, these "Gothics" also show an awareness that such nostalgia is based on inauthentic signs of already empty forms and is connected to motives of capital acquisition that mechanically reproduce the simulacra of the past to extend the boundaries of the present self's quest for upward mobility. Ann Radcliffe's novels of the 1790's, for example, though they are usually "haunted" by remembered older events, take place before continental backdrops set no earlier than the sixteenth century. These are "grounded" in more recent travel accounts and pictures, never eyewitness observations; as Terry Castle has noted,30 all aspects of "outside reality" in Radcliffe's Gothic (scenery, edifices, people, memories, documents) are "spectral" -- ghostings of the already counterfeit, I would prefer to say -- so much so that "every other looks like every other other" in her fiction, to a point where Radcliffe's contemporaries, readers, and successors are inclined to seek "mechanical means [including a flood of Gothic novels] to reduplicate [her and their phantasmic] images of the world" (Castle, "Spectralization of the Other," 238 and 251). Radcliffe's spectral settings, too, are threateningly laden with old Catholic symbols and structures, counterfeit icons for her as much as {192} for Walpole. These have to be exposed as fakes, even as their attraction is admitted, by the ends of her books for social power to be achieved by the heroines and heroes (and readers, vicariously) involved in acquisitive searches for the highest class positions and the most property available to them through the "decent" (as opposed to blatantly manipulative) possession of old counterfeit signs.

Frankenstein certainly continues this "Gothic" ghosting and remarketing of the counterfeit, even to the point of showing the ghost of the counterfeit turning into the simulacrum of industrialized reproduction. The construction of the creature is modelled only somewhat on the Erasmus-Darwin reanimations of dead tissue discussed at the Villa Diodati in 1816. The most immediate "sources" of Victor's artificial man come from his reading (Frankenstein, 32-34) in the mostly Renaissance alchemies of Albertus Magnus (d. 1820), Cornelius Agrippa (d. 1535), and Paracelsus (d. 1541). Each of these figures claims or is said to have temporarily generated a mechanical man (Magnus) or a full-bodied demon (Agrippa) or a semi-"transparent" homunculus (Paracelsus) to demonstrate or experiment with the genesis of physical life -- yet only as these authors have added their own warnings that such efforts are fraudulent and presumptuous attempts to duplicate the power of God,31 only as such models come to Victor colored by the "modern" condemnation of them as falsities by "the more rational theory of chemistry" (Frankenstein, 33), and only as they are reused by the eighteenth-century middle-class scientist to help lift (or sublimate) his endeavours from being "realities of little worth" into becoming achievements of "boundless grandeur" (Frankenstein, 41). Now we see most clearly why the creature, as an experiment based on incompatible ideologies of "science," is unable to represent the "causes" he is originally supposed to embody. Like English Gothic fiction generally, he/it is a re-counterfeiting of late medieval or Renaissance counterfeits that both desires and deny the reality and accessibility of their references to older or higher grounds of being. It/he also points to how much his remodelling of counterfeits is connected to an acquisitive drive in Frankenstein himself to reconnect fragments of the past in a faked "source of life" so as to achieve a class-leap, or at least a rhetorical advance (an "expatiation"), from bourgeois student to industrial patriarch ("creator and source" of a manufactured "new species"; Frankenstein, 49). In addition, as an extension of this self-marketing with counter- {193} feits, Victor's creature is constructed as a prototype (or mold), the basis of a counterfeit becoming an industrial simulacrum. Frankenstein, the pre-industrial scientist-entrepreneur, thereby hopes that a "new race" of figures can be reproduced for his monster's artificial standard, provided that biological reproduction (based on the male monster uniting with a female counterpart) can be mechanically reproduced by way of a simulacrum of already falsified and instrumentalized womanhood.

The Renaissance counterfeiting and the neo-Gothic recounterfeiting of women, after all, provide essentially revealing examples of what it really means in Western signification -- and the Gothic -- to move from the Renaissance counterfeit to the ghost of the counterfeit to the early industrial simulacrum. In all these and in other modes of producing symbols, as Simone de Beauvoir first saw most completely, woman has been made the "other" of the male "master term" and hence the supposed locus of human multiplicity as opposed to "male unity."32 "She" is made to embody all the necessary relations of self to other and thus the primordial otherness within any construction of a self, in part because biological woman is able to bring forth a different human being out of herself from within herself. During the Renaissance and especially in Hamlet, this "othering" is already so "natural" (a culturally-established counterfeit "nature of things," to be sure) that the central male figure can displace and scapegoat all of his own differences from himself onto the other that is supposedly woman, not only when he incarnates all "fraility" in her but when he shuffles off his doubts and fears about the impending final duel with "it is such a kind of gainsgiving as would perhaps trouble a woman" (Hamlet, 5.2.211-212). This fakery is augmented in Shakespearean drama too, of course, by the fact that the "women" on the stage were played by young men. These "boys of the company" were regarded at the time as enacting a transition away from ambisexual hermaphrodism, the widely-accepted androgyny of both sexes in childhood, towards an eventual throwing-off of "feminine" elements that was not yet complete, just as Stephen Greenblatt has shown.33 Establishing woman as inconsistent "other" compared to fully grown, apparently coherent "man" by the time of Hamlet, in other words, meant casting the multiplicity of all human youth onto "the feminine" alone, especially in staged representations of women. It was as though the mix in pre-adolescent being were finally an "aberrant" state (Greenblatt's word) which must be {194} sequestered only in woman when adulthood arrives -- a supposedly biological destiny that was entirely a social, and again a counterfeit, construction.

The Renaissance counterfeit, then, while claiming to point in part to "natural" status-distinctions once fixed in the past, was also the fabricator and dramatizer of the fakes of such distinctions. It helped produce the fiction of "real, eternal" gender differences out of an admitted intermixture of sexual elements in the human being as it developed from birth through adolescence. The ghost of that counterfeit in the eighteenth-century Gothic takes this fictional "othering" of the feminine and turns the resulting difference-from-herself-in-herself into an otherness common to every female "other" and thus the exchangeability of one woman for another, now more completely in the service of man-to-man interactions seeking the acquisition of property, capital, and power through the possession of her otherness as common coin, albeit under the cover of a quasi-medieval world. This recounterfeiting, with women now pulled towards becoming a nearly bodiless, spectral object of exchange (the death of herself as a body independent of masculine property), sets the stage for the mechanical male reproduction of the feminine birth-process and of the body of woman herself, exactly as Mary Shelley reveals in Frankenstein at the very time the industrial revolution begins to accelerate. The "otherness" of woman, always counterfeited anyway, comes virtually to epitomize the hidden basis and complex development of the counterfeit symbol. As in Gertrude and Ophelia (and the denied part of Hamlet), Matilda and Isabella, or Elizabeth and Victor's dead mother (and their reincarnations in the creature and his desire for a man-made bride), woman in the Gothic and its sources is both an increasingly spectral and manufactured image of the feminine, her dis-embodiment or death, and the "other" of the counterfeit and its specters -- certainly the "other" of the creature in Frankenstein's dream -- in which the differences of ghosts of the counterfeit from themselves are incarnated and secreted at the same time. Here, in fact, is one way in which the use of women in the Gothic points ultimately to images of mere images and to levels of abjected physical and cultural life. Through the spectral counterfeiting of woman and her constantly recreated role as the symbol of multiple otherness, we begin to see how the ghost of the counterfeit so readily becomes the site of the abject in Gothic writing.

V The Ghost of the Counterfeit as the Locus of Abjection: From the Walpolean to the Godwinian-Shelleyan Gothic

In Kristeva's suggestive vision of what "the abject" is (a "thrown off" or "thrown under" form of a dimly-recalled and feared multiplicity), there are many betwixt-and-between conditions of life in which it reappears -- and behind which it disappears too -- as we find in the numerous heterogeneities "othered" into Frankenstein's monster. All of these conditions for Kristeva, though, echo or reenact the most primordial form of being half-"inside" and half-"outside": the "heterogeneous flux" of being partly held inwards and partly pushed outwards by the mother's body at the moment of birth (Kristeva, Powers of Horror, 10) and the state, at the same time, of emerging out of death (pre-natal non-existence) and starting to live towards death (the end-point of all the "want" that begins at birth; Kristeva, Powers of Horror, 23). This liminal condition of multiple contradictions, where each supposedly distinct state slides over into its "other," is the radical heterogeneity, just barely recalled in the somatic memory, from which a person is never entirely removed yet must work to feel "separated . . . in order to be" a coherent, identifiable being (Kristeva, Powers of Horror, 10). Mary Shelley's creature indicates many personal and cultural forms of this "impossible" between-ness because it/he, first of all, both distances and manifests his creator's (and other people's) return to and avoidance of the emergence from the mother by being the product of a faked birth-process that strives not to be maternal. Moreover, he/it incarnates and disguises Frankenstein's attempt to rise "sublimely" above and reembrace "lower" death all at once by recalling both the shrouded body of the worm-eaten mother and the combined body-parts of mostly lower-class people and animals acquired from "charnel houses," "the dissecting room," and "slaughter houses" (Frankenstein, 50; see also Marshall, Frankenstein, 59-64). The creature is finally a site of abjection (the placement, or really displacement, of the abject) because he is an "other" into which these personal anomalies are artificially "jettisoned . . . into an abominable real," one so absolutely other as to seem unreal. It is only such an unreal/real (such an uncanny or "unfamiliar familiar") that "keeps the self from foundering" in the abject "by making it repugnant" (Kristeva, Powers of Horror, 9). Indeed, it is only in using {196} such a "monster" as a place for the "thrown off" that Victor and others can keep from foundering in all the personal or social conditions connected to them which threaten to tear them to pieces in tugs-of-war between incompatible states of being. That is why the creature is the "alien," yet "native" corpus and corpse of the contradictory states in the early nineteenth century of being self-and-other, masculine-and-feminine, life-affirming and death-seeking, whole-and-fragmented, high-class and low-class, master-and-slave, or biologically-and-mechanically reproduced, the anomalous conditions he/it was created to deny -- or at least to conceal.

The way the ghost of the counterfeit in the Walpolean Gothic has been constructed over time, we can now see, establishes the symbolic parameters for this complex refabrication/concealment of the betwixt-and-betweenness of being that must supposedly be desired and expelled prior to any human attempts to assert an identity. Abjected half-inside/half-outside conditions can be "thrown" into ghosts of counterfeits because the counterfeit and especially its ghost, as processes of signification, are already betwixt-and-between interactions of regressions towards and distancings of the past. The counterfeit, at its earliest point, offers a belated nostalgia for a self "bound" to its others (its statuses) that is like the child's "outside" longing for oneness with the "inside" of its primordial mother. Yet there is also the countering drive in the counterfeit, and even more in its ghost, whereby selves or signs, like infants only partly "inside" mother, strive to throw these past bonds away, to break "outside" them (albeit with lingering memories of them) towards a "free market" quest for self-definition by way of the fragments of older, as well as newer, signifiers. In this progression, particularly in the Gothic ghost of the counterfeit, the always already counterfeited past turns increasingly into the locus of its own death. The body of the maternal/historical "origin" becomes the sepulchre of itself, and death (behind the vacated sign) thus becomes the origin and the object of nostalgic desire. At the same time, this fragmentation of the supposed original relation between signifier/signified and outside/inside makes the increasingly "floating" signifier or self carry its otherness-from-itself with it, desirous of but torn from a stable past meaning now irretrievably dead. The self or sign remains haunted, however faintly, by a multifarious betwixt-and-betweenness in its nature and a death at the beginning and end of that nature, even as each one moves {197} towards "freer" economic recirculation in early capitalist relationship with other such signs.

The signifier/self in this symbolic scheme wants to increase its mobility towards a status (such as that of the "father" of a new genre or race) vaguely promised by emergent "free market" conditions. It therefore seeks to throw off its othernesses-from-itself and the draw of a lingering relation to death and to do so in recastings of the very archaic and fragmented signs in which the multiplicity of the self seems to be both grounded and ungrounded. The result can seem, on the one hand, a triumphant repossession of remnants of the past in an announcement of new and reproducible recombinations of its uprooted pieces, as in Walpole's creation of his quasi-Catholic "Gothic Story" and Victor Frankenstein's production of his semi-alchemical creature. On the other hand, the same effort involves a displacement of personal and cultural contradictions, including the dread of and desire for the past and the death still dimly connected to present life, into the ghost-figures within the new construct that seem at first to be especially empty of older meanings and archaically "other" than the self. The very conception and symbolic enactment of abjection, it turns out, as a process in the post-Walpolean Gothic and in Kristevan analysis, like the Freudian production of the unconscious as a haunted anderer Schauplatz,34 can occur only because the counterfeit and its Gothic ghost first developed as the cultural modes of production we now see them to be. The abject (and its monstrous embodiments) could not have been proposed as a locus for the most basic repressed contradictions -- and certainly not for versions of being inside and outside the fading moment of birth and the looming of primordial death in a woman's body -- unless there was first the nostalgic/pre-industrial "living death" of the counterfeit shading into the ghost of itself and thereby offering the specter of a hesitation between a primal "bound" meaning, its sepulchral remainders, and the "unbound," but still partly regressive, reproduction of those signs.

Within its constructed "nature," after all, this palimpsest of figures has to deal with the paradox of its every layer being other than itself. It does so by allowing for the placement of that otherness as a "cause" (as an original inside/outside death-in-life) in the past situation where the old bound sign supposedly existed, whether or not it had the "nature" that is now retrojected into it. It is in this retrojection that the counterfeit and its specter make particular use {198} of the figure of woman. As we have noted, Shakespeare's Hamlet locates the crime behind the primal crime against his father and his status is an "original" fallen human "frailty" that is transferred from males to females (with help, of course, from a long-standing Judeo-Christian tradition about the first woman's role in the Fall). That construction is so true for the Prince of Denmark that every kind of male anomaly is primordially caused by women as mothers or lovers, "for wise men know . . . what monsters [women] make of them" (Hamlet, 3.1.140-41). This fabrication, as we also know, is bound up with the Renaissance counterfeiting of primal human androgyny as finally an "origin" of difference from itself, actually the counterfeit's difference from itself (as when the young men play women), that supposedly belongs to women exclusively and "originality" in the stagings of culture. Hence the Renaissance counterfeit, under male control of course, fashions its retrojection of its internal self-division by turning that plurality of being into the original, "natural," "bound" relation of woman to her supposed inconsistency, her greater otherness from herself which is really the counterfeit's alterity projected onto her.

By the time the counterfeit's ghost in Walpole's neo-Gothic, moreover, looks back to such a positioning of woman as signified body, the sequestering of this body into "original" otherness -- that early step towards "abjecting" the maternal as the place of inside/outside -- has become, in a more spectral form of it, the license for the turning of female forms to exchangable signifiers that also signify the threatened cultural effacement of the individual physical woman. "Natural" woman, already thrown into the primal past as an otherness by the counterfeit, now exists in the "Gothic Story" as the referent of a memorial discourse about the between-ness she once embodied that still threatens man, and even later women, with a backsliding fall away from the steadiness of purpose. Walpole's Theodore is left with his desire for the dead Matilda whom Isabella ghosts and counterfeits only after confessions about the murder of Alfonso and the descent from him to Theodore solve the greatest mystery in The Castle of Otranto: not so much the killing of the original Prince, already hinted earlier (The Castle, 24), but the existence and nature of the Sicilian woman who secretly married Alfonso and bore him a daughter, Theodore's eventual mother. The long secrecy about this hidden cause documented in a supposedly "authentic writing" stems from Alfonso's decision "to conceal [his island] {199} nuptials" because he "deem[ed] this amour incongruous with the holy vow of arms to which he was bound" on his way to the Holy Land, the site of his poisoning and the crafting of the "fictitious will" in his name (The Castle, 109-10). The original dead woman is covered by a series of counterfeiting about her (and of her) primarily as a result of her apparently placing the original dead man in an "incongruous" love-versus-duty oscillation between different codified positions, one island and domestic and the other mainland, martial, and religious. It is thus even less surprising than it has already seemed for The Castle to end with Theodore torn between a living counterfeit of his love-object (Isabella as one acquisition of his new property and inheritance status) and the mental image of his formerly "adored," but always inaccessible and falsely upper-class, Matilda. The most primal feminine condition in The Castle, "known" only through counterfeits, has turned out to be betwixt and between male-oriented codes and stances. To "be woman" in the first "Gothic Story" is to be shifted from one image of her in one context (a counterfeit) to another image of her in a different one (the counterfeit of a counterfeit) -- which leaves the "other" one (supposedly the older counterfeit) as the locus of the "original" woman's death now recalled, though always as "incongruous," in another woman's image.

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, as I have been suggesting, finally exposes this progression of the counterfeit and its placement of woman for what the whole codifying process has been and become in the Gothic and its ancestry (and elsewhere too). Victor Frankenstein's crafting of a ghost of earlier counterfeits of life "leaves out" the feminine only by casting it quite explicitly where the earlier Gothic ghost of the counterfeit has started to throw both woman and its own otherness from itself: into one figure referring back to the deep "incongruity" where multiple figures shift between differently coded positions, where love-object becomes dead mother, dead lower-class body-fragments become an artificial middle-class science project, and a male visage becomes female features which become love-for-the-mother which becomes her corpse, with each "outside" being a version of its "inside," its buried other and mother. In this way, Frankenstein both culminates by exaggerating and critiques by exposing the dynamics of the ghost of the counterfeit in the neo-Gothic, including its way of rooting "monsters" in the "mothers" (the retrojected incongruities of coun- {200} terfeits) that supposedly "make" monsters of men in Hamlet. Mary Shelley's chief method, as befits the contradictory generic base of Frankenstein, is to offer counterfeit signs referring only to other counterfeits, which is all that ghosts of counterfeits can really claim to do, and yet to make those signs point, within and behind the masks of their fakery, at the many substantial personal and cultural incongruities which ghosts of counterfeits can be used to sequester in 1816-1818 because of their long-standing ways of retrojecting and burying the betwixt-and-betweenness of femininity, cultural change, and counterfeiting itself.

For Mary Shelley, of course, to take the potential for this irony in The Castle of Otranto and turn it into the more "realized" counterfeit of the abject in Frankenstein, there had to be a series of intervening steps, at least some of which were taken by writers who were both well known to her and based in the Walpolean Gothic. These will have to be the subject of another study, but I can at least offer some instances of how the ghost of the counterfeit develops in the Gothic after 1765 and before 1816. Walpole himself, of course, helps begin the transition, not just in the ways already suggested, but in using his ghosts of counterfeits (including his main characters), somewhat as Mary Shelley will use her creature. He employs them as falsely antiquated and thus displaced and disguised "conflict zones" of unresolved class and familial tensions, those multiple states of between-ness spawned by the cultural transitions of his moment. Leslie Fiedler and David Punter have shown especially well how eighteenth-century anxieties about the legitimacy of the emergent capitalist economic order as it overtook the dominance of the once-feudal estate and the priesthood were retrojected in Walpole's Gothic into uprooted icons of the ancestral past, along with some of the newer inequities of property-acquisition; that is why Walpole's Gothic suggests a Freudian Oedipal rivalry between old aristocratic father-figures and seemingly upstart usurpers, with women as disputed and even incestuous objects of desire pulled between the male combatants of different generations and classes.35 I would add only that such displacements could not have happened in the "Gothic" forms they take -- and so the neo-Gothic would not have happened in ways that could be thus read by Marxists or Freudians -- had not the symbolic mode of the ghost of the counterfeit, by declaring its own tensions with great force in the early neo-Gothic of the eighteenth century, forced the cultural conflicts of the {201} time into some of the shapes they assumed in Walpole and his immediate successors.

William Godwin, Mary Shelley's father, in turn, offers a male hero and monster all in one by making that figure, even more fully than Walpole's shade of Ricardo, the ghost of a counterfeit set in motion across history. In Godwin's most Gothic novel, St. Leon: A Tale of the Sixteenth Century (1799), the title character-narrator, supposedly modelled by the author on a portrait of him by Titian (St. Leon, I: iv-v),36 is an acquisitive Renaissance entrepreneur always trying to recreate his waning aristocratic base with non-aristocratic currency. He perpetually "disguis[es even] to himself the real [mercantile] nature of his occupation" (I: 58) in times of transition between "the reign of chivalry" and "that of craft, dissimulation, corruption, and commerce" (I: 67). St. Leon finds he can continue that deception indefinitely only by reusing a now-discrediting alchemy and accepting the elixir that will allow him to live forever. Henceforth he exists, undecidably, between the death of his past condition and the survival of its image. He becomes the walking specter of the counterfeit he already was, especially now that he can keep recoining the money by which he keeps deceiving others about his "bonds of alliance" (IV: 112). Increasingly, though, like a coin, he is just a repeated and inwardly empty simulacrum of what he once "drew" as a "character" in his "mind" (I: 75). He comes to regard himself, perpetually shifting across cultural stages and social readings of him, as more and more of "a monster who did not deserve to exist" (IV: 27). The horror of being the ghost of a counterfeit confronts St. Leon most, in fact, when he notes the difference between his pre-elixir love for the maternal, nurturing Marguerite ("Forever thy ghost upbraids me!" I: 100) -- a version for some of the Mary Wollstonecraft who died after the birth of the younger Mary in 1797 -- and his later way of "throwing off" her and her warnings in an alliance with the vengeful "dun and black" Hungarian Bethlem Gabor, a precursor of the unmothered creature who will, like Gabor, "relieve its secret load [of lost maternity] with curses and execrations" (St. Leon, IV: 123). The perpetuation for Godwin turns out to be connected entirely to a half-conscious dismissal of, which is also a displaced longing for, the seemingly "uxorious and effeminate" in the male self (II: 37). It is as if womanliness were the difference-from-self that "the spirit of man" must escape to be itself (II: 37), even though that idea only {202results from Renaissance counterfeiting and can go on to be exchanged for a seemingly different "other" only by the counterfeit's ghost.

Such a realization seems to recur in the most Gothic writing of Percy Bysshe Shelley, not only in his early Gothic novels Zastrozzi and St. Irvyne (1810), but in his very Gothic lyric/narrative poem Alastor (1815-16), where the semi-autobiographical "Poet" recalled by a Narrator with similar proclivities searches for the basis of his selfhood in sepulchres and ruins while avoiding the feminine and cross-cultural sympathy of the flesh-and-blood "Arab maiden" who dotes on him (Alastor, 129).37 But Shelley, in a self-critique Mary shared, goes further than Godwin in connecting spectral counterfeiting with the ghosting of the feminine. The only connection acceptable to the Alastor Poet between the feminine and symbolic mode of his simultaneously regressive and acquisitive search is his onanistic dream-projection of a "veiled maid" in an Indian "dell" (Alastor, 151, 146). She/it turns out to be the ghost of previous counterfeits, of "his own soul" read through an intertextual "web / Of many coloured woof and shifting hues" reflecting past "Thoughts the most dear to him," the sepulchres of earlier perceptions of the maternal in Nature (156-60, 81-82). This combined refabrication and retrojection of a feminine and multi-cultural "otherness" faces its creator with both its merely constructed nature (telling him "an ineffable tale," 168) and its longing for the inside/outside mother-child relation as always distanced and beneath veil, all of which keeps the maternal body -- and any suggested mingling of bodies and races and classes -- forever desired and forever removed (abjected). As Mary Shelley saw, this ghosting of existing counterfeits of the feminine and of Gothic desire could, as in Manfred's approach to Isabella/Matilda, kill the very "other" it claims to seek and value and thus drain the life out of the seeker's desire, as the life is gradually drained from the never-satisfied Poet (and Victor Frankenstein). She could hardly have missed that potential when she read what she allowed Shelley to write in her journal on October 7, 1814, during their brief residence with Jane Clairmont on Hampstead Heath. Here, while suffering his own debilitating illnesses, he recounts his effectiveness at nearly scaring Jane to death with Gothic stories of the witching hour late at night and thereby refashioning her visage -- in an astonishing anticipation of Frankenstein's monster -- into "lips and cheeks . . . of one deadly hue" and protruding {203} "eyeballs" seemingly "inserted in ghostly sport in[to] the sockets of a lifeless head" (The Journals, 1: 33).

Such is the deathly "life" of the Gothic as it confronted Mary Shelley by the time she began Frankenstein in 1816. Particularly in the re-Gothicizings of her father and lover, the ghost of the counterfeit had clearly become connected with the "sport" of ab-jecting many alterities: regression to the maternal-feminine, the fear of the death in that return to birth and womanhood, the possible racial or class (as well as gender) plurality of the self if reconnected to its primordial other, the multiplicity of the acquisitive self seeking to remake itself in the future through the backward-looking ghosts of its counterfeiting "others" -- every one of which could be both affirmed and denied if a Gothic fabricator chose to "throw" it into the recounterfeiting of other counterfeits. Such a construct could always seem to refer only to other signs (such as old tales of the witching hour) and yet could "cast down," even seem to kill, the body of woman and all "otherness" in the process. That is the duplicity extended in Frankenstein's ghost of the counterfeit. Granted, Mary Shelley can place numerous versions of the abject in her creature because of her own experiences with all these abjected dimensions. There was her own involvement as an infant with her mother's death, her father's coldness towards her as a sign of the mother, her first dead child (its birth as death), her own class and racial biasses, and her sense of the suppression of the feminine (including herself) in culture and scientific discussion, among other matters, just as her most able biographer-critics have shown us.38 Still, she would have had no fictional place for her representations of the abject, nor could she keep them as veiled as she does by counterfeiting and their ghosts, were it not for the "Gothic" ghost of the Renaissance counterfeit, with all its contradictions, being placed in symbolic motion so pointedly by Horace Walpole's recasting of Shakespeare and for the later intensifications of the counterfeit's "otherness," especially in the Godwin-Shelley circle, that use it to embody and conceal more cultural alterities. Frankenstein offers the Gothic ghost of the counterfeit in its most achieved, complex, and influential form up to 1818, using what is most fundamental in the Gothic to alter and deepen (rather than simply reverse) it. There figures that are already ghosts of abjecting, dying counterfeits find their most basic potentials extended in refabrications that finally suggest and conceal even more abjected levels.


1. My three principal texts are cited from Mary W. Shelley, Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus: The 1818 Text, ed. James Rieger, Phoenix Edition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982); Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic Story (hereafter abbreviated as The Castle), ed. W. S. Lewis and Joseph W. Reed, World's Classics Revised Edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982); and William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Arden Edition, ed. Harold Jenkins (London: Methuen, 1982).

2. Rieger's words in his "Introduction" to Frankenstein, xxvi.

3. Paul Sherwin, "Frankenstein: Creation as Catastrophe," PMLA 96 (1981): 883. See also William Veeder, Mary Shelley and Frankenstein: The Fate of Androgyny (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), 143.

4. Frederick S. Frank, The First Gothics: A Critical Guide to the English Gothic Novel (New York: Garland, 1987), 346.

5. I cite Kristeva from Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection, trans. Leon S. Roundiez (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982). Here she draws her key word back to the most literal meanings of ab-ject. "Abjection" thus means (a) the "throwing off" of a primordial multiplicity (such as the state of being half-inside/half-outside the mother) that could prevent the emergence of a coherent individual or group "identity" and (b) the condition of being "thrown down under" an external authority (the cultural Law of the Father) that works to socialize the emergent self within a system that denies the multiplicity that has been "thrown off." Abjection is the process in which (a) and (b) occur -- and continue to occur half-consciously -- and the "abject" is the obscured multiplicity that is "tossed over there" (abject-ed) into a disguised form of it.

6. See Kristeva, "Powers of Horror, esp. 17-55; Marci M. Gordon, "Kristeva's Abject and Sublime in Bronte's Wuthering Heights," Literature and Psychology 34 (1988): 44-58; Jerrold E. Hogle, "The Struggle for a Dichotomy: Abjection in Jekyll and his Interpreters," in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde After One Hundred Years, ed. William Veeder and Gordon Hirsch (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988), 161-207; Diane Long Hoeveler, "The Hidden God and the Abjected Woman in 'The Fall of the House of Usher,'" Studies in Short Fiction 29 (1992): 385-95; Tilottama Rajan, "Mary Shelley's Mathilda: Melancholy and the Political Economy of Romanticism," Studies in the Novel 26 (1994): 43-68; and Anne Williams, Art of Darkness: A Poetics of Gothic (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), 34-37 and 70-79.

7. For a more detailed discussion of how this scene is used in Walpole's reworking of Shakespeare, see Hogle, "The Ghost of the Counterfeit in the Genesis of the Gothic," in Gothick Origins and Innovations (hereafter Gothick Origins), ed. Alan Lloyd Smith and Victor Sage (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1994), 23-33. Note also that eighteenth-century performances of Hamlet were often staged so as to imitate the vogue for ancestral portraits in British upper-class homes (including Walpole's Strawberry Hill). They frequently presented the "counterfeits" in the closet scene as large, high paintings on the back wall to which Hamlet pointed (as we know from some illustrations in eighteenth-century editions of Shakespeare; see T. S. R. Boase, "Illustrations of Shakespeare's Plays in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries," Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 10 [1947]: 87 and plate 22c). When the Ghost entered late in that scene during an eighteenth-century rendition, the performer could often be viewed as a walking image of the great portrait of old Hamlet overhead.

8. We can definitely say that Frankenstein was based on perusals of these exact kinds of figures in sources that either included or recalled The Castle of Otranto and Hamlet. Mary Shelley's Journals list her extensive reading in English Gothic fiction prior to Frankenstein, including the "Castle of Udolpho" in 1815, which (as her editors suggest) may be a composite listing of The Castle of Otranto and Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho -- or at least an indication that, for Shelley, the latter is very much rooted in the former. See The Journals of Mary Shelley, 1814-1844 [hereafter The Journals], ed. Paula R. Feldman and Diana Scott-Kilvert (Oxford: Clarendon, 1987), 1: 85-92. The author's new Preface to the 1831 edition of Frankenstein then adds some even stronger indicators of how "Gothic," ghost-like, portrait-like, and quasi-Shakespearean the figure of her creature is. Reconstructing the dream in which she believes she first beheld the central image in her novel, Mary Shelley writes that she "saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion" (Frankenstein, 228, my emphasis). This dream-shape, she maintains, recalls more than just the famous Geneva discussions among the Shelleys, Byron, and Dr. Polidori on how "a corpse would be reanimated" with "galvanism" (Frankenstein, 227). It also replays this group's oral reading of the Frenchified German ghost stories in Jean Baptiste Eyries' anonymously published Fantasmagoriana (1812) and especially one piece from that collection that Mary Shelley recalls with great specificity:

There was the tale of the sinful founder of his race, whose miserable doom it was to bestow the kiss of death on all the younger sons of his fated house, just when they reached the age of promise. His gigantic, shadowy form, clothed like the ghost in Hamlet, in complete armour, but with the beaver up, was seen at midnight, by the moon's fitful beams, to advance slowly along the gloomy avenue. (Frankenstein, 224, my emphases)
Though she modifies this figure in Frankenstein so that the "phantasm" of the creature uses much more than a kiss to wreak death on the family of the "sinful founder of [a] race" (now Victor Frankenstein), Mary Shelley's rendition of the original story brings out, not only some Shakespearean, but several Otranto elements in it: the "gigantic, shadowy form"; the "advancing slowly" by moonlight; the silence of the walking specter; the sins of the father being visited on the sons. Moreover, the title of this particular tale in Fantasmagoriana is "Les Portraits de Famille." The walking of the ancestral ghost here is the movement of a figure first viewed as a life-sized portrait, wherein it seems as if "the artist had copied the terrible features of one risen from the grave" -- a passage I quote from "Les Portraits" as it is anglicized by Sarah Elizabeth Utterson in Tales of the Dead, Principally Translated from the French (London: White, Cochraine, 1813), 17. There can thus be no question that the literary ancestry of Mary Shelley's creature includes the Walpolean Gothic "ghost of the counterfeit." As we can see in Utterson's translation, "The Family Portraits" is a blatant imitation of several Gothic devices from The Castle of Otranto, so much so that the translator identifies that "Gothic Story" by name as the text that "founded" the kind of writing she now renders from German and French originals (Utterson, Tales of the Dead, i).

9. Daniel Cottom, "Frankenstein and the Monster of Representation," Sub-Stance 28 (1980): 60.

10. The words of Robert Miles, Gothic Writing, 1750-1820: A Genealogy (London: Macmillan, 1993), 16.

11. See David Leverenz, "The Woman in Hamlet: An Interpersonal View," Signs 4 (1978): 291-308, and Hogle, "Teaching the Politics of Gender in Literature: Two Proposals for Reform, with a Reading of Hamlet," in Changing our Minds: Feminist Transformations of Knowledge, ed. Susan Hardy Aiken et al. (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1988), 98-133.

12. See Gayle Rubin, "The Traffic in Women: Notes on the 'Political Economy' of Sex," in Towards an Anthropology of Women, ed. Rayna Reiter (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1975), 157-210.

13. See Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985), esp. 21-27 and 83-96.

14. Walpole was hardly proto-feminist (in fact, he liked younger women of breeding platonically attending to him rather than marrying others), but he was concerned about the reduction of some women he knew to objects of commerce in the marriage market of his era. See his especially strong letter in 1758 about Colonel Yorke's marriage to "one or both of the Miss Crasteyns," each calculated as worth £260,000, in The Yale Edition of Horace Walpole's Correspondence (hereafter the Yale Walpole), ed. W. S. Lewis et al. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1937-83), IX: 230-31. At the same time, though, Walpole also accepted the linkage of marriage with other modes of "free exchange." In his objections to the Tory-sponsored Marriage Bill of 1753, he sees its aristocratic and church-based restrictions as anachronisticaly out of keeping "in a country where liberty gives choice, where trade and money confer equality." See Walpole's Memoirs of King George II, ed. John Brooke (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985), I: 226. For the consequences of such a "free market" orientation in Walpole's Gothic and its immediate progeny, see Andrea Henderson, "'An Embarassing Subject': Use Value and Exchange Value in Early Gothic Characterization," in At the Limits of Romanticism: Essays in Cultural, Feminist, and Materialist Criticism, ed. Mary A. Favret and Nicola J. Watson (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994), 225-45.

15. The quoted words here are from Robert Kiely, The Romantic Novel in England (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1972), 169. This "circumlocution of the maternal" in Frankenstein, though, is most powerfully discussed in Margaret Homans, Bearing the Word: Language and Female Experience in Nineteenth-Century Women's Writing (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), 100-19.

16. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, "Three Women's Texts and a Critique of Imperialism," Critical Inquiry 12 (1985): 255.

17. See the collation of Freudian readings of this moment in Martin Tropp, Mary Shelley's Monster: The Story of Frankenstein (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1976), 19-33. See also Marc A. Rubenstein, "'My Accursed Origin': The Search for the Mother in Frankenstein," Studies in Romanticism 15 (1976): 165-194; Sherwin, 886-891; James B. Twitchell, "Frankenstein and the Anatomy of Horror," Georgia Review 37 (1983): esp. 46-60; Veeder, 112-17; and Elisabeth Bronfren, Over Her Dead Body: Death, Femininity and the Aesthetic (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1992), 130-39.

18. The echoes of The Castle of Otranto at this juncture in Frankenstein by no means negate Mary Shelley's allusions at the same moment, the ones rightly noted by Leonard Wolf in The Essential Frankenstein, rev. edn. (New York: Penguin, 1993), 86-87, n. 6. But the Walpolean Gothic echoes link the love-object's and mother's dream-decay directly, as these other allusions do not, to the ghost-like and artificial counterfeiting of birth, life, and lineage -- and to the death of woman in and behind that process -- so basic to Frankenstein's monstrous fabrication.

19. The extent to which the Hermit of Joppa is a text of other texts, especially from the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance, can be seen in a comparison between Walpole's The Castle, 77-79 and 102, and many of the works discussed in Charles P. Weaver, The Hermit in English Literature from the Beginnings to 1600 (Nashville: Peabody College of Teachers, 1924).

20. I cite Musselwhite from Partings Welded Together: Politics and Desire in the Nineteenth-Century English Novel (London: Methuen, 1987), 43-74 (and here from 59).

21. In addition to Rubenstein, Cottom, Spivak, and Musselwhite (cited already), see Ellen Moers, "Female Gothic," in The Endurance of Frankenstein: Essays on Mary Shelley's Novel [hereafter The Endurance], ed. George Levine and U. C. Knoepflmacher (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979) 77-87; Gordon D. Hirsch, "The Monster Was a Lady: On the Psychology of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein," Hartford Studies in Literature 7 (1978): 116-53; Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979), 230-46; Barbara Johnson, "My Monster/My Self," Diacritics 12 (1982): esp. 6-8; H. L. Malchow, "Frankenstein's Monster and Images of Race in Nineteenth-Century Britain," Past and Present 139 (1993): 90-130; Franco Moretti, Signs Taken for Wonders: Essays in the Sociology of Literary Forms, trans. Susan Fischer et al. (London: Verso, 1983), 85-90 and 104-08; Paul O'Flinn, "Production and Reproduction: The Case of Frankenstein," Literature and History 9 (1983): 194-213; Anca Vlasopolos, "Frankenstein's Hidden Skeleton: The Psycho-Politics of Oppression," Science Fiction Studies 10 (1983): 125-36; Elsie B. Michie, "Production Replaces Creation: Market Forces and Frankenstein as Critique of Romanticism," Nineteenth-Century Contexts 12 (1988): 27-33; Warren Montag, "'The Workshop of Filthy Creation: A Marxist Reading of Frankenstein," in Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism: Mary Shelley/ Frankenstein, ed. Johanna M. Smith (Boston: St. Martin's Press, 1992), 300-11; Timothy Marshall, "Frankenstein and the 1832 Anatomy Act," in Gothick Origins, 57-64; and Anne K. Mellor, Mary Shelley: Her Life, Her Fictions, Her Monsters (New York: Methuen, 1988), 70-126.

22. Peter Brooks, "'Godlike Science/Unhallowed Arts': Language, Nature, and Monstrosity," in The Endurance, 212.

23. See Hogle, "Otherness in Frankenstein: The Confinement/Autonomy of Fabrication," Structuralist Review 2 (1980): 20-48.

24. I cite Baudrillard from "The Structural Law of Value and the Order of Simulcra," trans. Charles Leven, in The Structural Allegory: Reconstructive Encounters with the New French Thought, ed. John Fekete (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984), 54-73.

25. Abundant confirmation of Baudrillard's sense that self-construction by signs in the Renaissance was an act of "counterfeiting" can be found in Lawrence Stone, The Crisis of the Aristocracy, 1558-1641 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1965); Stephen Greenblatt, Renaissance Self-Fashioning: From More to Shakespeare (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980); and David Quint, Origin and Originality in Renaissance Literature: Versions of the Source, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983), esp. 1-31.

26. For accounts of how basic fakery and play were -- along with the illusion of authentication -- in mid-eighteenth-century neo-Gothic architecture, see Michael McCarthy, The Origins of the Gothic Revival (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982), 48-91, and Dianne S. Ames, "Strawberry Hill: Architecture of the 'As If'," in Studies in Eighteenth Century Culture 8, ed. Roseann Runte (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1979), 351-63. Actually, it should hardly be surprising that the "Gothic" of this time refers so fundamentally to the Renaissance counterfeit. After all, the original use of "Gothic" (gotiche) as a label for religious and other architecture of the Middle Ages was a Renaissance counterfeit. It was an invention of Italian artist-scholars in the early 1400's that perjoratively misnamed, as too low-class or "rustic" compared to Greco-Roman architecture, several older building styles as through they were connected with non-Roman tribes -- the Goths or Visigoths -- who actually had little to do with what was attributed to them. See Paul Frankl, The Gothic: Literary Sources and Interpretations through Eight Centuries (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1960), 259-60. The term "Gothic" by the time Walpole borrowed it for The Castle and other purposes, then, was very much the shifty recounterfeiting of a Renaissance counterfeit, and it therefore became a moveable simulacrum prone to many reproductions for the sake of locating "cultural capital" in a wide variety of politically useful reference-points from the vaguely medieval past. See Mark Madoff, "The Useful Myth of Gothic Ancestry," also in Studies in Eighteenth Century Culture 8, ed. Runte, this time on 337-50.

27. See Emma J. Clery in "Against Gothic" in Gothick Origins, 34-43 (from which I quote here), and in The Rise of Supernatural Fiction, 1762-1800 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995).

28. These are Robert Miles' Foucauldian words in Gothic Writing, 11, but see also Elizabeth Napier, The Failure of Gothic: Problems of Disjunction in an Eighteenth-Century Literary Form (Oxford: Clarendon, 1987); Jeffrey Cox, "Introduction," in Seven Gothic Dramas, 1789-1825, ed. Jeffrey Cox (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1992), 1-77; and Jacqueline Howard, Reading Gothic Fiction: A Bakhtinian Approach (Oxford: Clarendon, 1994).

29. My uses of "simulacrum" from here on will refer to Baudrillard's sense of that term, which points primarily at the mechanically reproduced "copy" in the industrial age, which itself refers back to another kind of copy (the mold in the machine, a ghost of that earlier form of the sign: the counterfeit).

30. I cite Castle from "The Spectralization of the Other in The Mysteries of Udolpho" in The New Eighteenth Century: Theory, Politics, English Literature, ed. Felicity Nussbaum and Laura Brown (London: Methuen, 1987), 231-53.

31. See Radu Florescu, In Search of Frankenstein (Boston: New York Graphic Society), 215-22, and William Godwin, Lives of the Necromancers (London: Mason, 1834), 261-63 and 325-27.

32. See de Beauvoir in The Second Sex, trans. H. M. Parshley (New York: Knopf, 1952), xvi-xxix.

33. See Greenblatt in Shakespearean Negotiations: The Circulation of Social Energy in Renaissance England (Berkeley: University of California, 1988), 73-86.

34. The argument that the spacialization and nature of Freud's unconscious was not just anticipated, but substantially formed, by Gothic fiction has been made in older and more recent studies of the Gothic ranging from Lowry Nelson, Jr., "Night Thoughts on the Gothic Novel," Yale Review 52 (1962): 236-57, to Hogle, "The Ghost," esp. 23-25, and Anne Williams, Art of Darkness, 239-48.

35. See Fielder in Love and Death in the American Novel, rev. edn. (New York: Dell, 1966), 126-41, and Punter in The Literature of Terror: A History of Gothic Fictions from 1765 to the Present Day (London: Longman, 1980), 413-26.

36. St. Leon is cited here from the four-volume Third Edition (London: Simpkin and Marshall, 1816).

37. I cite Alastor by line numbers from Shelley's Poetry and Prose: A Norton Critical Edition, ed. Donald Reiman and Sharon B. Powers (New York: Norton, 1977). Ways in which the Poet of Alastor forecasts the hero of Frankenstein have been noted for years, most suggestively be Veeder, 93-99, and Homans, 103-11.

38. See Moers, Veeder, Mellor, and Emily Sunstein, Mary Shelley: Romance and Reality (Boston: Little, Brown, 1989), esp. 121-32.