Home » American Women s Ghost Stories in the Gilded Age by Dara Downey
American Women s Ghost Stories in the Gilded Age Dara Downey

American Women s Ghost Stories in the Gilded Age

Dara Downey

Published September 2014
ISBN :
Hardcover
209 pages
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 About the Book 

Dara Downey explores how closely late nineteenth-century American womens ghost stories engaged with objects such as photographs, mourning paraphernalia, wallpaper and humble domestic furniture. Featuring uncanny tales that range from the big city toMoreDara Downey explores how closely late nineteenth-century American womens ghost stories engaged with objects such as photographs, mourning paraphernalia, wallpaper and humble domestic furniture. Featuring uncanny tales that range from the big city to the small town and the empty prairie, she offers a new perspective on an old genre. Rather than seeing the spectres that stalk the pages of womens writing in Gilded-Age America as mere hallucinations or signs of mental disturbance, Downey examines the unusual motif of haunted houses without ghosts. Rarely appearing as ghosts, the dead women in the tales studied here hide away in the patters of furniture and wallpaper, offering a radical critique of the male gaze that reduced female bodies to alluring objects. Covering murderous nightcaps, haunted boarding houses and spectral china closets, it allows the object matter of the ghost story to, almost literally, come out of the closet.