16. A Sisterhood of Sleuths: The Gothic Heroine, the Girl Detective, and Their Readers

  1. Charles L. Crow
  1. Lynette Carpenter

Published Online: 13 SEP 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118608395.ch16

A Companion to American Gothic

A Companion to American Gothic

How to Cite

Carpenter, L. (2013) A Sisterhood of Sleuths: The Gothic Heroine, the Girl Detective, and Their Readers, in A Companion to American Gothic (ed C. L. Crow), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118608395.ch16

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 13 SEP 2013
  2. Published Print: 25 NOV 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470671870

Online ISBN: 9781118608395

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Keywords:

  • girl detective;
  • female gothic;
  • women's mystery fiction;
  • gothic heroine;
  • traveling heroine;
  • girl readers;
  • Nancy Drew

Summary

In many ways, the earliest American girl detectives of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries bear a family resemblance to their predecessors, the young heroines of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Gothic. As girls and young women of action, courage, and curiosity, these detectives, both amateur and professional, dare to explore gothic spaces prohibited to them, often uncovering secrets crucial to their own future well-being and that of their readers. Their insistence on seeing what they are forbidden to see models the behavior of young female readers, whose reading often enacts a similar kind of illicit seeing.