We move now to the end of the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries. Specifically, I will be exploring the contours of a particular genre’s identity, its tropic force and the ways in which it both informs cultural identity and, in turn, is shaped by transgressive forces necessary to the historical shaping of subjectivity in given historical situations. To problematize this process of explication from the outset, however, Gothic is well known by critics of the genre and its historical contexts to be irreducible to a simple definition. Part of its very definition is that it endlessly transgresses itself, erasing, crossing and rewriting the very boundaries by which its shape, its meaning and its form are apprehended. To complicate matters, as I shall argue here, Gothic transmutes itselves in a startlingly spectral — perhaps even ‘gothic’ — manner, after its first generation comes to a close in the second decade or so of the nineteenth century. Dying off, it then returns throughout the nineteenth century, but never simply as itself, or itselves. Instead, traces, remnants, ruins of the Gothic are found everywhere, in fiction and non-fiction alike, in realist and fantasy literatures. In short, Gothic transgresses the borders between the living and dead, between the past and present of literary formations, in resurgent spectral ways, the very function of which revenance is to unseat the logic and economy of realist mimetic representation and its modes of production.
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