Published online by Cambridge University Press: 29 July 2021
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.