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Gothic Metamorphoses across the Centuries

Contexts, Legacies, Media


Edited By Maurizio Ascari, Serena Baiesi and David Levente Palatinus

This collection of essays brings together an international team of scholars with the aim to shed new light on various interconnected aspects of the Gothic through the lens of converging critical and methodological approaches. With its wide-ranging interdisciplinary perspective, the book explores the domains of literary, pictorial, filmic, televisual and popular cultural texts in English from the eighteenth century to the present day. Within these pages, the Gothic is discussed as a dynamic form that exceeds the concept of literary genre, proving able to renovate and adapt through constant processes of hybridisation. Investigating the hypothesis that the Gothic returns in times of cultural crisis, this study maps out transgressive and experimental modes conducive to alternative experiences of the intricacies of the human (and post-human) condition.

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Haunted Scottish Texts: The Legacy of James Hogg in James Robertson’s Intertextual Novels


Abstract: This chapter aims to investigate the literary impact that Hogg’s magnus opus The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner had on the contemporary Scottish writer James Robertson, in particular on his two novels The Fanatic (2000) and The Testament of Gideon Mack (2006), whose genre hybridity and hermeneutic complexity provide crucial intertextual links with their Romantic predecessor. The essay will start by considering the reasons entitling Robertson’s works to be regarded as examples, like Hogg’s masterpiece, of what critics have defined as Scottish Gothic developing from Ossian, through the Romantic period, up to now. It will then move on to prove not only why and how Robertson’s novels are pervasively haunted by The Justified Sinner – in terms of (meta)textual complexity, narrative multiperspectivism, intermixture of the real and supernatural, and open-endedness – but also why all of them are relevant from a hauntological perspective. Their protagonists are similarly persecuted by ghosts of the past (both Scotland’s national history and their own past experiences), an obsessive spooky presence which renders their identities as fragmented and multilayered as the texts themselves.

Key-words: James Robertson, James Hogg, Scottish Gothic, intertextual novel, hauntology, unreliable narrators, genre hybridity, metafictionality, open works, writerly texts.

Introduction: James Robertson and Scottish Gothic

“It is long since I can remember being so taken hold of, so voluptuously tormented by any book” (Gide x).

“One of the greatest pieces of imaginative prose produced in Scotland in modern times...

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