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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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Refracting Spaces in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Anita Desai’s Fire on the Mountain


Sometimes strikingly dissimilar texts and genres which nevertheless display evident similarities, allusions to other texts, echoes of previous works in terms of plot, character construction, and atmosphere have mostly been analyzed in the context of intertextuality and parody.95 Notwithstanding the variety of interpretations they inspire, at a closer look, both intertextuality and parody appear to oversimplify the various rapports between two or more literary texts and reduce them to either “a relation of subversion (in various degrees) or a relation of retrieval (with no revisionist purport” (Onega and Gutleben: 9). In Refracting the Canon in Contemporary British Literature and Film, Onega and Gutleben argued for the emergence of refraction: “a striking and complex phenomenon of contemporary fiction”, which they define as “a double process involving the ways in which a text exploits and integrates both the reflections of a previous text and the new light shed on the original work by its rewriting” (Onega and Gutleben: 8). Arguably the most significant feature of refraction is its very theoretical premise, based on a “dialectic relation between a text and its hypotext(s), affecting the result as well as the source, the new text as well as the old one, the modern product as well as the original prototype” (8). Refraction, understood as a visual metaphor, bearing ← 151 | 152 → affinities with Gary Saul Morson’s “sideshadowing”96 also infers a “dialectic relation between the canonical and the postmodernist text” which affects both “result and source”, and which “obliterates any hierarchical or evaluative distinction...

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