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All that Gothic

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Agnieszka Lowczanin and Dorota Wisniewska

This book provides a comprehensive introduction to the history, aesthetics and key themes of Gothic, the main issues and debates surrounding the genre along with the approaches and theories that have been applied to Gothic texts and films. The volume discusses a wide range of 18 th and 19 th century texts and moves into 20 th century literature and film. It explores the cultural resonances created by the genre and raises a variety of issues, including the ways in which Gothic monstrosity mimics same-sex desire and social transgression. The texts included in the volume argue that Gothic film and fiction animated the darker shadows of the dominant culture.
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Loveless Legacies: Gothic Mothers and Haunted Daughters in Postcolonial Literature

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Dorota Filipczak

Gothicism, with its impending doom, has been associated with colonialism ever since the haunting (or contaminating) threat of the abjected other was first acknowledged. Encounter with the cultural other threatened the unity of imperial subject and generated fear which, while denied on the level of colonial propaganda, descended underground into fiction where the irrational could speak uninhibited. Colonialism was based on idealization of whiteness and self-restraint as a weapon against racial and moral contamination often projected on the colonized, or simply, on members of a different culture. Even early Gothic novels, which did not really venture outside Europe were classified as saturated with “spiritual orientalism” of “the British Protestant imagination” (Duncan 24). The way the early Gothicists such as Walpole, Lewis and Radcliffe exaggerate the strangeness of Catholic rites or the importance of a setting other than British points to the fascination and abhorrence of different emotional and cultural expressiveness.

In Wuthering Heights (1847) and Jane Eyre (1847), the novels that had enormous impact on postcolonial literature written by women, the other who ruins the integrity of the English house is racialized and gothicized at the same time. Heathcliff, a dark foil to the white civility of Edgar Linton, is unrestrained in jealousy, passion and anger. This makes him similar to colonial constructions of the indigenous other as “homo emotionalis” (Okoth 139), whose extreme version he becomes. The way he refuses to be tamed, but turns into a vengeful oppressor of the...

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