The Gothic Literature and History of New England

The Gothic Literature and History of New England

Secrets of the Restless Dead

By Faye Ringel

Anthem Studies in Gothic Literature

Anthem Impact

The Gothic Literature and History of New England surveys the origin, nature and future of the Gothic mode in New England’s history and literature, from the Puritans to the present, showing how the legacy of religious intolerance, racism and misogyny haunts fiction, film and popular culture.

Paperback, 112 Pages


February 2022

£20.99, $24.95

  • About This Book
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About This Book

The Gothic Literature and History of New England surveys the history, nature and future of the Gothic mode in the region, from the witch trials through the Black Lives Matter Movement. Three main areas of its focus are women’s representation as writers and consumers of Gothic literature, the Puritans’ fear of the wilderness and treatment of the native peoples, and the legacy of slavery and enduring racism. Texts include Cotton Mather and other Puritan divines who collected folklore of the supernatural; the Frontier Gothic of Indian captivity narratives; the canonical authors of the American Renaissance such as Melville and Hawthorne; the women's ghost story tradition and the Domestic Gothic from Harriet Beecher Stowe to Charlotte Perkins Gilman to Shirley Jackson; Stephen King and the horror boom of the twentieth century; and writers of the current generation who respond to the racial and gender issues in the work of H. P. Lovecraft, the Providence writer whose stories once defined New England’s Gothic heritage. 

The Gothic Literature and History of New England brings to the surface the religious intolerance, racism and misogyny inherent in the New England Gothic, and how these nightmares continue to haunt literature and popular culture—tourism, films, television, games, the visual arts and more.

This is a high-interest work designed for scholars of the Gothic mode who may not be familiar with more recent developments in fiction and film as well as for advanced undergraduate and graduate students searching for a compact introduction to this area of the American Gothic. It will provide an overview of criticism, a timeline of historical events and literary texts, and suggestions for further reading. The approach relies on open-ended questions that may help instructors “teach the conflicts” around race, gender, class and the aesthetics of the Gothic. 


“Faye Ringel’s latest book, The Gothic Literature and History of New England, is a treasure trove of horrors, charting the region’s history of religious fanaticism, racial intolerance, and ritualised violence, and its legacy in fiction and film from the Puritans to the present day. Scholars and fans of the genre will return again and again to Ringel’s meticulously researched volume for recommended reading material, inspiration, and insight.” — Dr Dara Downey, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

“A dark compendium of New England’s literary art from the Puritans to Joe Citro and Stephen King, Faye Ringel is our knowledgeable guide through the woods, mansions, towns, and haunted history of where and how the Gothic established its primary and deepest roots in America.” — Tony Magistrale, University of Vermont, US

“In The Gothic Literature and History of New England: Secrets of the Restless Dead, Faye Ringel shows us, through a resolutely 21st-century lens, that what haunts the house of the New England Gothic is not just a carnival of ghosts and eccentrics, but colonialism and enslavement. Within this brutal history, she situates writers both familiar (Poe, Lovecraft, Jackson, King) and less so (John Neal, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps), enabling us to see them all in a fuller light. Of particular note is her deeply informed coverage of contemporary writers who not only continue but also interrogate the traditions of the Gothic and the legacies of New England. This is a wonderful book, and a necessary one.”—F. Brett Cox, Norwich University, US.

Author Information

Faye Ringel, Professor Emerita of Humanities, US Coast Guard Academy, New London, Connecticut, has published extensively on the American Gothic.


Anthem Studies in Gothic Literature

Anthem Impact

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments; Chronology; Introduction; 1. Gothic Origins; 2. The Puritans’ Haunted Frontier; 3. Haunting the Master’s House; 4. Beyond Lovecraft Country: Racism, Xenophobia, New Directions; Works Cited; Index.


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