AuthorThomas, Susan J.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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EmbargoDissertation not available in either the UA Campus Repository or the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database, at the request of the author.
AbstractHideous Progeny: Postcolonial Fiction and the Gothic Tradition explores the vexed relationship between postcolonial fiction and the Anglo-European-American Gothic mode. Gothic motifs figure abundantly in postcolonial works, but they are not always meant to be taken seriously; often they take a comic and ironic stance toward the subject matter. When horror does appear in these works, it is usually not situated in the abject Other (the pharmakos figure), but in the projecting mindset of the dominant culture. As the title Hideous Progeny implies, such postcolonial novels are the rebellious offspring of the Gothic canon; they can even be dubbed Frankenstein's monsters, created from the disjecta membra of the nineteenth-century Gothic tradition and reassembled into a newly vital, global Gothic literature. Or, to use a different metaphor, they function as inverted mirror images, as photographic negatives, of the nineteenth-century Gothic novel, neutralizing its familiar tropes with an injection of "magical realist" motifs from diverse cultural traditions. This study uses a psychoanalytic methodology to analyze the Gothic source echoes in selected novels by Toni Morrison, Gabriel García Márquez, and Salman Rushdie. Through the lens of post-Freudian theorists Nicolas Abraham, Maria Torok, and Julia Kristeva, in particular, these novels will be depicted as Gothic--suspended between a haunted past and a technologically disorienting present--and also anti-Gothic. If the Gothic novel explored the unconscious anxieties of late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Western culture, as many have suggested, the postcolonial Gothic novel explores the unconscious anxieties of an emerging global culture in the late twentieth century. Unlike its Anglo-American precursor, however, postcolonial Gothic fiction does not recoil from the unknown, but embraces the "liminal" zone, finding in it both "tiger and lady," both terror and potential renewal.
Degree ProgramGraduate College