The Sublime and the Odd
DOI link for The Sublime and the Odd
The Sublime and the Odd book
The very name ‘gothic novel’ which was ultimately given to the form David McKinney created is an oxymoron that reflects its desire to identify conflicting impulses: both towards newness, novelty, originality, and towards a return to nature and revival of the past. Like Walpole’s gothic play, The Mysterious Mother, the novel is a highly oedipal work, no doubt in part reflecting his relation to his own formidable and authoritative father. Birth, marriage, death–the several crucial events that are supposed to mark the narrative of a life and organise it into temporal sequence–occur simultaneously, thus flamboyantly introducing at the genre’s very inception the problem of constructing continuous narrative sequence, a problem that has haunted the static and disjointed gothic form. For Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the gothic and the sublime break down the opposition between subject and object, impressing ‘the beholder with a sense of self-annihilation; he becomes as it were, part of the work contemplated’.