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Speaking the Language of the Night

Aspects of the Gothic in Selected Contemporary Novels

Adriana Raducanu

This study contributes to the emerging field of Global Gothic. It focuses on the survival and evolution of Gothic subgenres and tropes in selected contemporary novels, produced in geographies and histories far away from its Western cradle. Some Gothic features identified as universal such as the relationship between space and character, the sublime, the process of Othering, uncanny doubles and the dissolution of identity are explored. This study maintains that the novels under scrutiny, written by a wide variety of authors such as Adiga, Desai, Ishiguro, Müller, Pamuk, Roberts and Rushdie, facilitate a fruitful dialogue between West and East under the sign of Gothic. A diverse critical apparatus is employed, including texts from Bhabha, Kristeva, Deleuze and Guattari, Derrida, Mishra and others.
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From Behind the Iron Curtain: Herta Müller’s Female Gothic


[…] But Herta Müller is simply a writer, and her literature has an international relevance, because it speaks about human beings, about traumas which touch the most intimate or deepest cords in human beings and transcend any form of thematic or problematic localism. By the stylistic formula and the deep on-going problems she tackles, by the profound attitude of her writing, she is a universal writer. Actually, she won a prize which is granted to writers from all over the world, by virtue of universality, that Herta Müller undoubtedly has plenty of, in my opinion.” (Cernat in Herta Müller and the Memory of Europe)

The opinion of the Romanian critic Paul Cernat, regarding Herta Müller, the 2009 Nobel laureate for literature, concurs with those expressed in early articles, such as those in Norbert Otto Eke’s 1991 edited volume Die erfundene Wahrnehmung.40 The pre-Nobel evaluations generally preferred an apolitical perspective on Herta Müller’s works, reading them through philosophical lenses or strictly literary tropes (Marven 2005a: 15). Nevertheless, after Müller was granted the Nobel Prize for Literature, the tone of criticism shifted towards appraising the political aspects of her works. This is a dangerous exercise, I would suggest, and one which would somehow deny her value as a writer and champion her only as a voice from the former Iron Curtain whose artistic purpose has been limited to the social task of lifting the veil from the face of Eastern Europe, disfigured by a half...

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