Mutations of terror: theory and the Gothic
DOI link for Mutations of terror: theory and the Gothic
Mutations of terror: theory and the Gothic book
The attempt to examine that area of British and American literature of the last 200 years which has centrally to do with the portrayal and excitation of fear must pivot on the term 'Gothic'. The connections implied in the term are various: some of the texts discussed locate themselves self-consciously within a recognisable Gothic tradition, others are linked in more shadowy and tenuous ways - through common imagery, common themes and common approaches to narrative problems. Throughout my discussion, I have made one central, and very general, assumption: that an artform or a genre derives its overall vitality, the ground on which specific excellence may be achieved, from its attempt to come to grips with and to probe matters of concern to the society in which that artform or genre exists. According to this criterion, I have contended, Gothic is not a. mode of escapism, nor is it given to meaningless exaggeration or stridency, although much remains to be said about the allimportant relations in Gothic between the imaginary and the real. In conclusion, I intend to offer some speculations on these relations, and on the issue of the continuing presence of Gothic in literary and cultural history.