The Other in Gothic Literature: A Postcolonial Dissection College
Gothic literature is defined as “a recognition of the insufficiency of reason or religious faith to explain and make comprehensible the complexities of life” (Hume 290); as a genre, it is similar and related to Romantic literature, but an element of the Gothic that distinguishes it from the Romantic (and, for that matter, all other genres) is its fascination with the preternatural and the inexplicable. In its exploration of humanity, the Gothic inherently delves into the darker sides of human nature; Gothic writers, e.g. Horace Walpole and Bram Stoker, incorporate elements of the supernatural throughout such works as The Castle of Otranto (1764) and Dracula (1897) in order to transition from a focus on the real and accepted to a focus on the largely inconceivable and bizarre. The Gothic “creates a very distinct world of its own” and, although occurring often “in contemporary time,” is “isolated in space” (Hume 287), allowing for the presence of phantasms, ghosts, etc. within the text to remain unchallenged by the reader. By blending the familiar with the strange, the Gothic constructs what has come to be known as the Other and naturally fosters and glorifies the former (familiar) while ostracizing the latter (strange). It is...
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