New Perspectives on the Female Fantastic


Patricia García’s article, “A Geocritical Perspective on the Female Fantastic: Rethinking the Domestic” approaches the question of the “female fantastic” from a spatial angle. Proponents of the female fantastic (for example E. Moers, S. Gilbert and S. Gubar and A. Richter) often coincide in a leitmotif that characterises this tradition: the haunted house. This leads to a great deal of studies centred on how female authors employ domestic spaces as a means to give voice to the lives of women invisibilised by patriarchy and, through the irruption of the supernatural, as a way to subvert domestic ideology. Whereas these studies have done much to give visibility to the work of female authors, they have also generated, as this article will argue, a limited understanding of the female fantastic. The first section of this article is of a theoretical nature and reflects on the methodological and conceptual limitations of such approaches to the female fantastic centred on domestic space. Instead of asking what the spaces of the female fantastic are, this section shifts the focus to: “which spaces are overlooked by placing such emphasis on the domestic?” The second part offers an alternative reading of the trope of the haunted house in female-authored fantastic fictions. Haunted urban apartments by Rhoda Broughton and Charlotte Riddell, and well-known haunted houses by Shirley Jackson, Ann Rivers and Patricia Esteban Erlés are employed as case studies to develop a feminist geocritical method that goes beyond domestic interiors and engages with a critical reflection on other spatial elements, such as external frames, scale, location and movement.