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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 THIRTEEN: Gothic Videogames

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CHAPTER THIRTEEN

Gothic Videogames

PAWEŁ FRELIK

Although rooted in eighteenth-century fiction and for a long time perceived as a genre instantiated primarily in novels, “Gothic has never been solely a literary phenomenon” (Spooner 2007: 195). From the early magic lantern shows and theatre productions to twentieth-century film, television, and comics as well as music, advertising, and fashion, Gothic sensibilities have permeated both narrative and non-narrative media. Inevitably, they have also manifested themselves in videogames, which, I would like to argue, reveal themselves to be a form ideally suited for the transmission of at least some of the topoi and agendas that have underwritten Gothicism since its very inception. Relying on immersion and affect, Gothic videogames are a medial form particularly amenable to channelling the discourse that, for well over two centuries, has circumvented rationality, tapped social anxieties, and narrated passions.

This belief in the affinity between Gothic and videogames is by no means taken for granted. It is very telling that the 2010 collection, Twenty-first-century Gothic, edited by Cherry, Howell, and Ruddell, not only has no chapter devoted to the medium but does not even mention it in passing. Given this absence of systematic scholarship, the following article has three distinct goals. First, I would like to identify several aspects of the gaming medium that closely coincide with the qualities informing the Gothic mode. Next, I will suggest two approaches to Gothic videogames which can provide blueprints for their...

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