By Maisha L. Wester (auth.)
This new critique of up to date African-American fiction explores its intersections with and opinions of the Gothic style. Wester unearths the myriad methods writers manage the style to critique the gothic's conventional racial ideologies and the mechanisms that have been appropriated and re-articulated as an invaluable car for the enunciation of the strange terrors and complexities of black lifestyles in the USA. Re-reading significant African American literary texts resembling Narrative of the lifetime of Frederick Douglass, of 1 Blood, Cane, Invisible guy, and Corregidora African American Gothic investigates texts from every one significant period in African American tradition to teach how the gothic has continually circulated in the course of the African American literary canon.
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Extra resources for African American Gothic: Screams from Shadowed Places
11 Even more significant is the similarity between Foucault’s “Panopticism” theory of institutionalized surveillance and the gothic’s domicile that is typically wrought with “cloistered peepholes and secret recesses” through which villains spy on victim. One finds such recesses and spaces throughout American Gothic: a reader merely has to look to the dark recesses in Charles Brockden Brown’s fictions such as Weiland or Hawthorne’s various spying villains to recognize similar patterns. Moreover, by the early nineteenth century, misperception played a particularly large role in American Gothic literature.
For the slave writer, this corporeal schema crumbles early in his life, as the very definition of it depends upon “a slow composition of . . self as a body in the middle of a spatial and temporal world [ . . that] does not impose itself on” a body (111). The white world necessarily and physically imposes itself upon the slave writer’s body, marking the erasure of his “metaphysics”1 on his body. From the beginning of life, the slave’s “being” is “over-determined from without” (Fanon 116). White American Gothic literature further complicates the writing of slave’s “being” while capitalizing upon it as conducive to constructions of white being.
To be worked under the flesh devouring lash during life” (emphasis added 66). Bibb here constructs slavery, not hell, as the alternative to Heaven, further emphasizing slavery’s torments by concluding his description of it as limitless and devouring. His initial invocation of Heaven connects the scene to the spiritual; his comment that slavery is “limitless” implies its connection to the eternal. Bibb’s passage invokes the spiritual, the eternal, and suffering to imply that his meditation upon his fate in slavery becomes a metaphysical contemplation.
African American Gothic: Screams from Shadowed Places by Maisha L. Wester (auth.)