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Introduction - Neo-Gothicism: Persistent Haunting of the Past and Horrors Anew

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 February 2022

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Summary

You notice the turreted pink elephant as you pass the Tube entrance at The Elephant and Castle. You consider yourself a scholar of the Gothic, so the irony of the statue is not lost on you. “I wonder […] what an elephant's soul is like,” you quote to yourself from Dracula and chuckle. Then you remember the elephant and castle that appeared in margins of several Gothic manuscripts on display at the British Library. No wonder your physician is sending you to a therapist. “You are a postmodern who is not coping well in this century,” he said. “You escape into the past and live inside Gothic books and movies.” Forcing yourself to be polite but, after all, you do have academic pride, you refrain from informing him that we are now in the post-postmodern age. Besides, you don't know what that means, but he would probably shake his head and deduce that you are more deranged than he originally thought.

Your taxi deposits you somewhere in Walworth. Before you can close the car door, the taxi driver, with his pronounced Eastern European accent, speeds off as if he saw a ghost. Then you turn around and find yourself standing before a rickety old bridge that dares you to cross a moat that leads to two turrets, and you instantly think of Wemmick's Castle in Dickens’ Great Expectations. You double check the address to make sure that it is the clinic that you are supposed to visit for help with your nerves. “It's probably run by someone crazier than I am,” you mumble to yourself. Maybe it is a meeting place for support groups with unhealthy Gothic obsessions, beginning with the shrink in charge.

You are tempted to turn around, but the cab has left you, so you brave the crossing only to halt before a sign that reads, “Beware of Piranhas.” You peer over the side and spot a frenzy of teeth and blood and hair of some hapless stray who must have ventured into the murky water.

This cannot be good for your nerves.

“Oh, it is an unusual clinic,” Dr. Frankenstein had mentioned with a twinkle in his eye, which you now realise that you mistook as his confidence in your road to recovery.

Type
Chapter
Information
Neo-Gothic Narratives
Illusory Allusions from the Past
, pp. 1 - 12
Publisher: Anthem Press
Print publication year: 2020

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