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The Discordant Aesthetics of the New Imperial Gothic in Justin Cronin’s The Passage
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Language and Literature. (LNUC Concurrences in Postcolonial Studies)
2012 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In the wake of what David Harvey has termed New Imperialism, the imagination of the early twenty-first century has become increasingly catastrophic. In Hollywood blockbusters, best-selling novels, computer games, popular music, art and even political speeches, the world is consumed by vampires, zombies, meteors, aliens, viruses and terrorists. These overtly gothic descriptions articulate and even help produce new forms of imperialism. Building on, and often retelling, the British “imperial gothic” (Brantlinger 227) of the late nineteenth century, the new imperial gothic is obsessed with race, gender, degeneration, invasion, the destruction of society and the collapse of modernity. In this way, contemporary gothic comes across as fundamentally conservative and, to quote Teresa Goddu, in Gothic America, remains "continuous with official narratives, even when it apparently contradicts them." (2).

 

From this perspective, it is tempting to dismiss the new imperial gothic as a hopelessly conservative and commercialized cultural formation that is best ignored. However, a focus on the contradictions that Goddu mentions with the aid of transcultural theory produces a more nuanced view. With a focus on Justin Cronin’s apocalyptic and critically acclaimed novel The Passage (2010), this paper seeks to investigate how contemporary gothic is sometimes able to query the very power structure that has arguably spawned it. This ability can be related to the novel’s creation of contact zones where transcultural meetings take place. These meetings are described as simultaneously catastrophic and necessary and the hybrids that are produced are similarly double natured; at the same time the monstrous Other and images of our own imperial desires. In this way, the novel allegorically maps both the current imperial landscape and suggests ways in which the borders that separate real and imagined categories can be crossed or dissolved

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012.
Keyword [en]
Transculturation, postcolonialism, imperial gothic, vampire, gothic, hybridity, contact zone
National Category
Specific Literatures
Research subject
Humanities, English literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-28076OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-28076DiVA: diva2:640230
Conference
Transculturation and Aesthetics, Third meeting of The Nordic Network of Literary Transculturation Studies, 30 August - 2 September 2012, Bergen
Projects
Concurrences
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2013-08-13 Created: 2013-08-13 Last updated: 2013-10-11Bibliographically approved

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Höglund, Johan

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf