American Gothic: New Interventions In A National Narrative

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In America as in Britain, the rise of the Gothic represented the other - the fearful shadows cast upon Enlightenment philosophies of common sense, democratic positivism, and optimistic futurity. Many critics have recognized the centrality of these shadows to American culture and self-identification. American Gothic, however, remaps the field by offering a series of revisionist essays associated with a common theme: the range and variety of Gothic manifestations in high and popular art from the roots of American ...
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American Gothic: New Interventions in a National Narrative

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Overview

In America as in Britain, the rise of the Gothic represented the other - the fearful shadows cast upon Enlightenment philosophies of common sense, democratic positivism, and optimistic futurity. Many critics have recognized the centrality of these shadows to American culture and self-identification. American Gothic, however, remaps the field by offering a series of revisionist essays associated with a common theme: the range and variety of Gothic manifestations in high and popular art from the roots of American culture to the present. Drawing widely on contemporary theory - particularly revisionist views of Freud such as those offered by Lacan and Kristeva - this volume ranges from the well-known Gothic horrors of Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne to the popular fantasies of Stephen King and the postmodern visions of Kathy Acker. Special attention is paid to the issues of slavery and race in both black and white texts, including those by Ralph Ellison and William Faulkner. In the view of the editors and contributors, the Gothic is not so much a historical category as a mode of thought haunted by history, a part of suburban life and the lifeblood of films such as The Exorcist and Fatal Attraction.
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What People Are Saying

Anne Williams
These essays demonstrate that the Gothic is not the outmoded paradigm that critics such as Jameson declare but rather a vital, dynamic, protean lens through which to read American culture in the broadest sense; they also reflect contemporary critical interest in such issues as race, class, and gender. this volume will take its place beside Fleenor's The Female Gothic and Thompson's Gothic Imagination as an indispensable collection for students and critics alike.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780877456223
  • Publisher: University of Iowa Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/1998
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 265
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction
The Face of the Tenant: A Theory of American Gothic 3
The Nurture of the Gothic, or How Can a Text Be Both Popular and Subversive? 20
Dr. Frankenstein Meets Dr. Freud 40
The Gothic Import of Faulkner's "Black Son" in Light in August 57
On Stephen King's Phallus, or The Postmodern Gothic 75
Slavery and the Gothic Horror of Poe's "The Black Cat" 99
Haunted by Jim Crow: Gothic Fictions by Hawthorne and Faulkner 129
Looking into Black Skulls: American Gothic, the Revolutionary Theatre, and Amiri Baraka's Dutchman 143
An Ecstasy of Apprehension: The Gothic Pleasures of Sentimental Fiction 163
The Masochistic Pleasures of the Gothic: Paternal Incest in Alcott's "A Marble Woman" 183
If a Building Is a Sentence, So Is a Body: Kathy Acker and the Postcolonial Gothic 202
Making Monsters, or Serializing Killers 217
Some Stations of Suburban Gothic 237
Notes on Contributors 259
Index 263
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