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The Cambridge History of the Gothic The Cambridge History of the Gothic
Volume 3: Gothic in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries
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3.6 - Gothic and the Postcolonial Moment

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 July 2021

Catherine Spooner
Affiliation:
Lancaster University
Dale Townshend
Affiliation:
Manchester Metropolitan University
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Summary

This chapter looks at how the postcolonial negotiates the Gothic. Both are informed by a degree of suspicion about European Enlightenment rationalism and its constructs, but the Gothic also depends on colonial European elements – the Devil as Black, the Oriental artefact, obeah – for its effects. The postcolonial Gothic needs these effects – for the scream, as I argue, is central to the Gothic – but cannot use the same instruments because, by definition, postcolonialism adopts a critical and questioning attitude to colonial European discourses as well. By looking at a number of texts, especially the Caribbean Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea, the South African André Brink’s Devil’s Valley, the Australian Peter Carey’s Jack Maggs, and the British-Indian Indra Sinha’s Animal’s People, I show how the Gothic villain or the Gothic secret is manipulated by postcolonialism to combine its critical perspectives with the Gothic’s generic requirements.

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The Cambridge History of the Gothic
Volume 3: Gothic in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries
, pp. 118 - 136
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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