This essay argues that the Gothic succubus pioneers new frameworks for examining female sexuality, sexual violation, and consent in the eighteenth century. M. G. Lewis’s The Monk (1796) reveals the Bleeding Nun as a demonic female ghost that is both sadistic and hypersexualized, especially in her tryst with Don Raymond. The spectrality of the succubus reimagines the displacement of the female body as something both material and ethereal, and in so doing, renders consequent displacements of consent, agency, and sexuality, which may characterize queer Gothic tropes. I interweave discussions of consent alongside representations and theories of ghosts throughout the eighteenth century to evaluate how the succubus muddies conceptions of sexual violation and gender. To see or narrate the succubus is to grapple with maligned forms of female empowerment and eroticism, which this essay seeks to recuperate.
Matthew Gregory Lewis, The Monk, Bleeding Nun, Consent, Succubus, Gothic
ABO: Interactive Journal for Women in the Arts, 1640-1830: Vol.12: Iss.1, Article 1.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usf.edu/abo/vol12/iss1/1