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Article Title

Succubus Matters

Author Biography

Jeremy Chow is Assistant Professor of English at Bucknell University, which sits on the unceded territories of the Susquehannock peoples. His research unites eighteenth-century literature, queer and sexuality studies, and the environmental humanities. He regularly teaches courses on the Gothic. /The Monk/ remains his students’ favorite.

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Matthew Gregory Lewis, The Monk, Bleeding Nun, Consent, Succubus, Gothic

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