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Expanding the Gothic Canon

Studies in Literature, Film and New Media

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Edited By Anna Kędra-Kardela and Andrzej Sławomir Kowalczyk

This volume offers a survey of analyses of Gothic texts, including literary works, feature films, a TV serial, and video games, with a view to showing the evolution and expansion of the Gothic convention across the ages and the media. The temporal scope of the book is broad: the chapters cover narratives from the early and mid-eighteenth century, predating the birth of the convention in 1764, through Romantic and Victorian novels, to the contemporary manifestations of the Gothic. Primarily designed for graduate and postgraduate students, the book sets out to acquaint them with both the convention and different theoretical approaches. The studies presented here could also prove inspirational for fellow scholars and helpful for university teachers, the book becoming an item on the reading lists in Gothic literature, film and media courses.
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CHAPTER SEVEN: Faculty Gothic in the American College Novel of the 1990s

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CHAPTER SEVEN

Faculty Gothic in the American College Novel of the 1990s

LUDMIŁA GRUSZEWSKA BLAIM

Campuses can be terribly scary places.

(Stephen L. Carter)

Apprehensive respect paid once to an all-powerful ecclesiastical caste of the learned: monks, clerics, and scribes, hidden behind the walls of medieval monasteries and treated as emissaries of the unknown; fear and suspicion raised by shady figures of alchemists seeking the philosophers’ stone, or by doctors selling souls to Satan for forbidden knowledge, may have lost their original appeal, but remain a potential, if not fully functional, point of reference in the cultural memory. A compound fearful spectre of priestly prerogatives and Faustian folly had hovered over the reputation of scholars and proto-scientists so relentlessly that in order to counteract this, culture produced their carnivalized doubles—college fools, whose ideas, research and lecturing could harm no-one but themselves.1 The early spectrum of possible cultural representations of the learned, with the powerful mysterious magus and the fool at its opposite ends, was at some point supplemented with a rational representative of the Enlightenment as well as his double: the distraught father of the Gothic monster.2 All the above mentioned types of men of ← 147 | 148 → learning make their appearance in contemporary literature, especially in fiction that specifically focuses on the life of academe.

The history of college fiction, with its two prominent subgenres: the academic (faculty-centred) novel and the campus (student-centred)...

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