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Abstract

This essay addresses the authorship and complicated history of "Sir Bertrand: A Fragment," the seminal Gothic short story often attributed to Anna Laetitia Barbauld. I acknowledge the existence of a completed "B-Text" of that fragment, which survives in an obscure anthology titled Gothic Stories (1797). The existence of a cohesive conclusion to this text, a work normally discussed only as "a fragment" and correspondingly tied to theoretical discussions of the Gothic as a genre of fragmentation, underscores the need for a critical re-evaluation of "Sir Bertrand" as both fragment and completed tale, and a new understanding of its role in the development of Gothic and supernatural fiction. I confront the problem of authorship and analyze the literary descent of both texts, and then I interrogate the "lost" conclusion not only to determine its impact on the tale's narrative style and genre, but also to retrace its newly revealed historical roots in order to uncover a potential historical source for the rediscovered B-text.

Contributor's Note

Luke R. J. Maynard is a lecturer and PhD candidate at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. His present research focuses on the emergence of the vampire in supernatural fiction during the "long eighteenth century." Other academic interests include Gothic fiction, the medieval romance, genre theory, and textual-study mysteries.

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