The Gothic

The Gothic

The Gothic

The Gothic

Synopsis

Tailored specifically for students new to the daunting field of literary theory, Fred Botting's Gothic is a clear and welcome introduction to the study of this compelling genre. This lucid, easy-to-follow guide:
• Explains the transformations of the genre through history
• Outlines all the major figures which define the genre, such as ghosts, monsters and vampires
• Charts key texts over two centuries
• Traces origins of the form
• Looks at the cultural and historical location of gothic images and texts
• Provides a succinct introduction to the field which is also an excellent foundation for further study.

Excerpt

These days it seems increasingly difficult to speak of 'the Gothic' with any assurance. The definitive article offers the illusion that there is a well-defined genre to discuss, but between article and the noun (once commonly restricted to adjectival usage) adjectives often need to be inserted to supplement the indefinition of the category: 'the eighteenth-century Gothic', 'Victorian Gothic', 'modern Gothic', and, even, 'postmodern Gothic', contain the reference within a cultural— historical period. Genres appear to confine what was already a subgenre of the developing realist novel to new subgenres in the shape of 'female Gothic', 'postcolonial Gothic', 'queer Gothic', 'Gothic science fiction', 'urban Gothic', thereby both classifying it in terms of another category and creating a new hybrid. But the term continues to spread, like the infection or disease it has represented and been represented as, to 'gothicise' (in the way that Star Trek's Borg 'assimilate' other species) a host of different sites, from a gothic imagination to a gothic nature, from body, desire, and unconscious to science and technology. Perhaps a 'Gothic future' can be identified in the fictions that speculate on the imminent arrival of a 'new dark age' among the jagged ruins of industrial civilisation, sandwiching enlightened modernity between two different slices of gloomy, barbaric feudalism. Elusive, phantom- like, if not phantasmatic, floating across generic and historical boundaries, Gothic (re)appearances demand and disappoint, and demand again, further critical scrutiny to account for their continued mutation. The rate of mutation, appropriately enough for an era of rapid technological acceleration and genetic experimentation, seems only to quicken and diffuse more widely among genres and media.

Perhaps, then, the search for the Gothic, like the various searches for the actual historical figures of Frankenstein or Dracula, is a vain critical endeavour to reach an authoritative standpoint in respect of a genre that has over the centuries consistently depicted the transgression of natural and moral laws, aesthetic rules and social taboos. No one, at least not yet, discusses 'gothic Gothic' in a metacritical attempt to extract its essential features and delimit its exact boundaries. Such a gesture would, paradoxically, be oxymoronic and tautological: the . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.