Fearsome Ink: The English Gothic Novel to 1830

From 1765 to 1830 English readers eagerly embraced the novels and chapbook “shilling shockers” comprising the new genre of Gothic fiction. Today these editions are rare survivals, yet this profusion of “fearsome ink” has profoundly influenced the world’s literary and popular culture.

Drawing from the Sadleir-Black Collection and the recently acquired Maurice Lévy Collection—jointly the world’s finest holding of English Gothic fiction—this exhibition situates the English Gothic novel in international context; explores its potential for research in such areas as literary history, the history of publishing and reading, and book illustration; and profiles the collectors responsible for building UVA’s definitive holdings.