Book Chapter

Mapping Tropical Gothic in the Americas


Edwards JD (2016) Mapping Tropical Gothic in the Americas. In: Edwards J & Vasconcelos S (eds.) Tropical Gothic in Literature and Culture: The Americas. Routledge Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Literature, 60. London: Routledge, pp. 13-25.

First paragraph: Space, place and region have always been central to Gothic literary and cultural production. We see this in the labyrinthine underground spaces found in 18th century English novels by, among others, Horace Walpole and Ann Radcliffe or in the tombs and claustrophobic spaces of 19th century short stories by Edgar Allan Poe and Charlotte Perkins Gilman. We see it in how the Catholic nations of Southern Europe become significant places for the development of 18th century Gothic plots about cross-dressing monks and bleeding nuns just as the dark forest and untamed frontier of the United States become meaningful places for the rise of national Gothic narratives in the wake of European-Aboriginal conflict and genocide. And we see this in how the European regions associated with the sublime become unsettling terrains that reflect 18th century revolutionary political upheavals just as the images of decay and grotesquery in the regional U.S. Southern Gothic become important geographical markers for signifying difference, degeneration and chattel slavery. In all of these locations, Gothic texts explore dislocations and a sense of the unhomely in the homeland that is caused by the transformation of geographic space into alienating or incorporating sites. Gothic thus casts a dark shadow over the nationalist projects that arise out of European Enlightenment thought, Romanticism and imperialist projects, signalling remote geographies that lie beyond the stable landscapes of rationality and logic.

Gothic revival (Literature): History and criticism; Gothic revival (Literature); American literature; Tropics literature

Title of seriesRoutledge Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Literature
Number in series60
Publication date31/12/2016
Publisher URL…ok/9781138915862
Place of publicationLondon