Introduction: Architecture, Politics, and the Ancient Constitution

Tom Duggett*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book or Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This introductory chapter provides a way in to the subject of Wordsworth and the Gothic, bringing out the meaning, then and now, of Wordsworth’s analogy between his masterwork The Recluse and “the body of a gothic Church.” In order to get an initial handle on the meaning of this analogy, I begin with another: between cultural responses to the French Revolution in the 1790s and to the terrorist attacks and long aftermath of September 11, 2001. The purpose of the parallel or “precedent” is to sound the depth of “Gothic” as a historical word, far beyond only a genre label. Exploring some of the available models of “Gothic” structure, the chapter makes an initial claim for “Gothic” as a way of thinking and of understanding history which is not straightforwardly loyal and patriotic, but which on the contrary emphasizes effort and recuperation amid widespread fragmentation and despair.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGothic Romanticism
Subtitle of host publicationWordsworth, Architecture, Politics, Form
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NamePalgrave Gothic
ISSN (Print)2634-6214
ISSN (Electronic)2634-6222


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