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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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The Sublime of the Intimate Others: Salman Rushdie’s Shame


According to Vijay Mishra the sublime has recently been subjected to a conceptual inflation, in that “every possible association of the word has been “used (and abused)”, such as:

[…] the Romantic sublime, the American sublime, the Indian sublime, the nuclear sublime, the Arctic sublime, the female sublime, the imperial sublime, the post-Kantian sublime, the postmodern sublime, the Oedipal sublime, the oppositional sublime, the Euro-American sublime, the Enlightenment sublime, the moral sublime, the technological sublime […] (Mishra: 21)

The above list, endless as Mishra seems to imply, is hardly surprising, especially if read in conjunction with in the remarkable career of sublime aesthetics in the history of Western thought, expanding over centuries and raising a conundrum of multiple perspectives. Longinus, Burke, Kant, Schiller, Coleridge and Hegel, as well as contemporary critics such as Bloom, White, Lyotard, and Jameson86 have constantly attempted to define the sublime, assigning it universal characteristics, recognizable in any epoch. Regarding canonical literature, the opinions of the above-mentioned male critics generally coincide, pointing to the sublime as embodied in the overwhelming effects of masterpieces (usually male, too). Such opinions also converge when depicting the strenuous albeit remarkable connection between sublime and gender. Regarding the latter, Edmund Burke’s Philosophical Inquiry into the Origins of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful is arguably ← 129 | 130 → one of the most significant treatises. As the title of his work suggests, there is a clear demarcation between the sublime and the beautiful, which corresponds to the demarcation between...

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