Paper-thin walls: Law and the domestic in Marie Belloc Lowndes’ popular gothic

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Paper-thin walls: Law and the domestic in Marie Belloc Lowndes’ popular gothic. / Turner, Ellen.

In: NJES: Nordic Journal of English Studies, Vol. 11, No. 3, 2012, p. 55-77.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Paper-thin walls: Law and the domestic in Marie Belloc Lowndes’ popular gothic

AU - Turner, Ellen

PY - 2012

Y1 - 2012

N2 - Marie Belloc Lowndes was a prolific author, publishing over forty novels in addition to plays, memoirs and a large number of short stories spanning the first five decades of the twentieth century. Most of these are now largely forgotten. Despite her obvious popularity, evidenced by a significant number of film adaptations of her novels, Lowndes has not yet reached the radar of literary studies. Though the work of Lowndes features relatively regularly in anthologies and compilations of criticism of mystery and detective fiction, this rarely exceeds a few sentences and there is little scholarly work on her significance outside this limited sphere. With rare exceptions,1 these brief mentions of Lowndes deal almost exclusively with her most famous novel, The Lodger (1913), which was initially filmed by Hitchcock in 1927 as The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog.2 The Lodger was subsequently filmed by Maurce Elvey in 1932, John Brahm in 1944 and again by Hugo Fregonese in 1953 as The Man in the Attic. 2009 saw the most recent remake of The Lodger in David Ondaatje’s adaptation. In this paper I read Lowndes’ ‘real crime’ fiction as representing the domestic sphere as a place of almost supernatural uncanniness. The walls of the house here do not operate as armour against the outside world but instead are permeable and seem to encourage border crossings; the psychic partitioning off of the perilous outside world, which the architecture of the home strives to achieve, starts to crack and subside.

AB - Marie Belloc Lowndes was a prolific author, publishing over forty novels in addition to plays, memoirs and a large number of short stories spanning the first five decades of the twentieth century. Most of these are now largely forgotten. Despite her obvious popularity, evidenced by a significant number of film adaptations of her novels, Lowndes has not yet reached the radar of literary studies. Though the work of Lowndes features relatively regularly in anthologies and compilations of criticism of mystery and detective fiction, this rarely exceeds a few sentences and there is little scholarly work on her significance outside this limited sphere. With rare exceptions,1 these brief mentions of Lowndes deal almost exclusively with her most famous novel, The Lodger (1913), which was initially filmed by Hitchcock in 1927 as The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog.2 The Lodger was subsequently filmed by Maurce Elvey in 1932, John Brahm in 1944 and again by Hugo Fregonese in 1953 as The Man in the Attic. 2009 saw the most recent remake of The Lodger in David Ondaatje’s adaptation. In this paper I read Lowndes’ ‘real crime’ fiction as representing the domestic sphere as a place of almost supernatural uncanniness. The walls of the house here do not operate as armour against the outside world but instead are permeable and seem to encourage border crossings; the psychic partitioning off of the perilous outside world, which the architecture of the home strives to achieve, starts to crack and subside.

M3 - Article

VL - 11

SP - 55

EP - 77

JO - NJES: Nordic Journal of English Studies

JF - NJES: Nordic Journal of English Studies

SN - 1654-6970

IS - 3

ER -