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Twenty-First-Century GothicAn Edinburgh Companion$
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Maisha Wester and Xavier Aldana Reyes

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474440929

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474440929.001.0001

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Posthuman Gothic

Posthuman Gothic

Chapter:
(p.218) Chapter 15 Posthuman Gothic
Source:
Twenty-First-Century Gothic
Author(s):

Anya Heise-von der Lippe

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474440929.003.0016

This chapter traces the posthuman Gothic in a number of recent examples – in film (Ex Machina (2015), Ghost in the Shell (2017)), television (Westworld(2016–), Black Mirror (2011–)), narrative fiction (Marisha Pessl's Night Film (2013) and Gemma Files’s Experimental Film (2015)) and graphic novels (The Beauty (2016–). These texts explore the many ways in which our technological entanglements tend to blur the boundaries between ‘human’ and ‘non-human’. While attempts at defining a ‘posthuman Gothic’ are relatively recent (see Bolton 2014; Heise-von der Lippe 2017), the narrative exploration of these phenomena can be traced back to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818) and its lasting impact on later posthuman narratives. By aestheticising the uncanniness of the automaton – the almost-but-not-quite human cyborg or the abject, biotech human-animal hybrid – posthuman Gothic texts draw attention to the many ways in which these processes can and will go wrong and highlight the instability and ultimate unsustainability of our most basic ontological category – the human.

Keywords:   critical posthumanism, technology, machinery, cyborg, hybrid, meta-narrative aesthetics, posthumanbecomings

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