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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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Blurring Boundaries in Never Let Me Go

Extract

Kazuo Ishiguro’s unsettling novel Never Let Me Go has so far inspired multiple readings and interpretations which, on the one hand facilitate the flight of the critical imagination, on the other confuse and impede the reaching of final meanings. One of the most evident and undoubtedly fruitful readings of Ishiguro’s novel sees it as a brilliant, recent continuation of the dystopian tradition, notwithstanding the time-frame of the narrative that places Ishiguro’s world in a recent past while dealing with matters of vital interest for the future of mankind. Nevertheless, in spite of this perspective, inspired by the similarities with canonical dystopian works, such as novels (Brave New World, Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Handmaid’s Tale, Ridley Walker, Fahrenheit 451) and films (2001: A Space Odyssey, The Island, Blade Runner, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Solaris), Never Let Me Go by far surpasses the limits and the standards of the dystopian genre. Generally speaking, the dystopian is centred on the controversial (from the perspective of authority) figure of the rebel, a hero/heroine who opposes an oppressive system and usually manages to reach his/her radical goals. As will be argued further on, in Never Let Me Go neither at the textual level, nor at the speculative one, are the readers presented with a symbol of resistance, since not even Kathy H., the ‘central intelligence’ of the novel, ever conceives the possibility of rebellion.

Yet another theoretical lens for interpreting Never Let Me Go is its placement within a narrative framework which is typical of...

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