Literary Analyses

Catherine and Heathcliff: A Study of Extreme Love in Wuthering Heights

Catherine and Heathcliff in the story of Wuthering Heights (1847) by Emily Brontë are unhesitatingly certain of their soul connection.

I’d venture to guess that some people who say they have identified their twin flame are experiencing some kind of unhealthy, obsessive, and delusional form of love.

However, some of them may be experiencing something closer to amigeist — an intense, perhaps spiritual, bond which tends towards the exaltation of all. There is an undecidability here which gives love both its healing touch and jagged edge. Read More→


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Classic Uncanny Stories by British Women Writers

Asked to name uncanny authors, most readers would come up with names like Edgar Allan Poe, M.R. James, H.P. Lovecraft, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu – all male. But a surprising number of women authors, some of whom may be better known for writing more homelike novels, also wrote very “unhomelike” short stories.  

Sigmund Freud’s famous essay about weird literature is usually translated as The Uncanny. But the German word “unheimlich” literally means “unhomelike.”

No Direction Home: The Uncanny in Literature by Francis Booth (©2023, from which this essay is excerpted by permission) traces how uncanny literature takes us from the familiar, the reassuring, the homelike, into a world of the unfamiliar, the unsettling, and the unhomelike. Read More→


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The Shadow in the Corner by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (1879)

A fairly common trope in uncanny stories is that of a shadow. An example of this is the short story “The Shadow in the Corner” by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (1879), a serious, if rather sensationalist, female novelist who wrote ghost stories. Braddon is most famous for the 1862 novel, Lady Audley’s Secret.

As in other such stories, one of the characters is an educated, responsible man, in this case a scientist, who seeks to disprove what he sees as local superstition. This time we start with a spooky and unhomelike old house, which is believed to be haunted by the restless spirit of a previous owner who had hanged himself in one of the top floor servants’ rooms.

This discussion is excerpted from No Direction Home: The Uncanny in Literature by Francis Booth (©2023, by permission). Read “The Shadow in the Corner” in full. Read More→


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All Souls’ & The Eyes: Two Uncanny Stories by Edith Wharton

A surprising number of women authors, some of whom may be better known for writing more homelike novels, also wrote very “unhomelike” short stories. One was Edith Wharton, who understood that before leading us into the world of the tense and unsettling, the author first has to make us feel calm and settled. 

Wharton said that this can be done by starting with a modern clean, electric-lit environment at least as well as with a gloomy old castle.

Sigmund Freud’s famous essay about weird literature is usually translated as The Uncanny. But the German word “unheimlich” literally means “unhomelike.” Read More→


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Music in the Street by Vera Caspary (1929)

Music in the Street was one of three novels by Vera Caspary, the prolific American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter, that were all released in 1929, along withThe White Girl  and Ladies and Gents.

This analysis of Music in the Street by Vera Caspary is excerpted from A Girl Named Vera Can Never Tell a Lie: The Fiction of Vera Caspary by Francis Booth ©2022. Reprinted by permission.

Mae Thorpe moves away from her small-town family into a working girls’ home in Chicago, where at first, she is one of the unpopular girls with no boyfriend who stays home on a Saturday night. Read More→


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