Frame narratives-stories within stories-are featured in nearly every canonical Gothic novel. Sometimes dismissed as a shopworn convention of the genre, frame narratives in fact function as a dynamic basis for imaginative variation and are vital to evaluating the diverse Gothic tradition. The juxtaposition between the everyday ""frame world"" of the story and the disturbing embedded narrative allows the monstrous to escape textual confines, forcing the reader to experience the reassurance of the ordinary alongside the horror of the uncanny.
Clayton Carlyle Tarr is an assistant professor at Michigan State University, where he specializes in nineteenth-century British literature. He has published on authors such as Charles Dickens, Christina Rossetti, and Thomas Carlyle, and on themes ranging from the plague and teeth to bog bodies and disability.