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Fear and loathing in the library: anxious textuality in recent gothic fiction

Mandal, Anthony 2020. Fear and loathing in the library: anxious textuality in recent gothic fiction. In: Ascari, Maurizio, Baiesi, Serena and Palatinus, David Levente eds. Gothic Metamorphoses across the Centuries: Contexts, Legacies, Media, Critical Perspectives on English and American Literature, Communication and Culture, Peter Lang, pp. 165-178.

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Throughout the history of the gothic, the textual space has been a paradoxical one: revealing yet poisonous, alluring yet destructive, the word (particularly, the printed word) is no longer a manifestation of the providential Logos. Instead, textuality is disclosed in the gothic as a contested concept, both the vessel of lost knowledge and the harbinger of destruction: a problematised site in which anxieties of being are consistently and insistently mapped out. Exploring the representation of the library space and textuality in four recent gothic novels, my paper considers contemporaneous manifestations of bibliophobia, in which the text becomes the locus of supernatural irruptions that threaten to infect the everyday world. Promising the privilege and completeness of structured knowledge, these novels’ gothic libraries reveal the textual condition as masking disorder and monstrosity, consequently raising disconcerting questions about authority, truthfulness and human identity itself.

Item Type: Book Section
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Publisher: Peter Lang
ISBN: 9783034332286
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2021 15:15

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