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American Gothic CultureAn Edinburgh Companion$
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Jason Haslam and Joel Faflak

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474401616

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474401616.001.0001

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Slavery and American Gothic: The Ghost of the Future

Slavery and American Gothic: The Ghost of the Future

Chapter:
(p.44) Chapter 2 Slavery and American Gothic: The Ghost of the Future
Source:
American Gothic Culture
Author(s):

Jason Haslam

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474401616.003.0003

This chapter begins with a structural analysis of the relation between slavery and American gothic, examined through current approaches in American gothic criticism. It then explores an understudied figure: the uncanny spectre of freedom that haunts representations of slavery, but that also reframes these gothic portrayals as forward-looking agents of change and healing which respond generatively to the otherwise endless repetition of slavery as America’s primal scene. Among the works discussed are Harriet Jacobs’ slave narrative, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861) and Octavia Butler’s Kindred (1979).

Keywords:   Slavery, Gothic, Octavia Butler, Harriet Jacobs

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