Dark articulations: Nation and narration in the colonial and postcolonial gothic
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"Dark Articulations: Nation and Narration in the Colonial and Postcolonial Gothic" argues that the Gothic novel is the primary literary mode through which colonial imperialism has been articulated and negotiated. This project contests the dehistoricization of the Gothic as well as efforts to limit its range within specific national narratives. While the idea of the nation is central to the Gothic imagination, the Gothic's obsession with history, difference, and troubled borders makes it an inherently transnational, and arguably American, genre. I trace the trajectory of the gothic from its early manifestation as the sinister doppelganger of the eighteenth century British sentimental novel to its articulation in Caribbean, U.S., and transatlantic texts in which the rhetoric of fear and its conventional sources--the dark double, the buried secret, the terrible place, the angry ghost--are mobilized for both progressive and reactionary ends. Analyzing how various texts mobilize fear as a rhetorical construct, I show how the Gothic expresses and manages threats posed by Others--racial, cultural, and sexual--from both inside and outside the nation. In doing so, my project gives a new centrality to the role of imperialism in understanding the Gothic, thus reclaiming the full complexity and significance of this rich and still evolving genre.