Emasculating Fear: Gothic and Gender in Caroline de la Motte Fouqué’s Der Cypressenkranz

Sara Luly


In the wake of the Wars of Liberation, many conservative female writers, including Caroline de la Motte Fouqué, addressed what they perceived as a crisis of masculinity. Fouqué’s Gothic text Der Cypressenkranz (1816) can be read within the context of contemporary concerns regarding gender ambiguity. This article will explore Fouqué’s use of the Gothic mode to articulate the anxiety and fear surrounding the perceived loss of masculinity. Fouqué’s employment of Gothic motifs, which were well established by the time of the text’s publication, is innovative in her ability to establish and subsequently undermine genre expectations. Der Cypressenkranz therefore constitutes a unique contribution to German Gothic literature and to contemporary discussions of masculinity. (SL)

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