The two poles of gothic horror are insanity and Hell, the ruling image is of death, the central symbolism cosmic annihilation and the invasion of supernatural otherness beyond rational consciousness; the underlying theme: the withdrawal of God and the long night of the soul beyond salvation. Gothic horror is about that which should not be, whose comprehension is the end of sanity and the opening of the abyss, in which cursed state of knowledge the forbidden becomes manifest, the veil is withdrawn and the fabric of the material universe falls to dust. For that which ‘should not be’ to manifest itself to consciousness, making visible the otherness of cosmic indifference, is a profoundly disturbing, terrifying and sublime moment, but it is also play, masquerade, toying, a delicious fiction by which we fake our own terror for the sake of mere pleasure.
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- Epilogue: Further Thoughts on the Gothic
- Macmillan Education UK
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