Gothic Metaphysics

From Alchemy to the Anthropocene

Author(s) Jodey Castricano

Language: English

Genre(s): Literary Criticism

Series: Gothic Literary Studies

  • November 2021 · 288 pages ·216x138mm

  • · Hardback - 9781786837943
  • · eBook - pdf - 9781786837950
  • · eBook - epub - 9781786837967

About The Book

Gothic Metaphysics is a radical departure from Freudian-centred criticism of Gothic literature. It aims to explore our modern dilemma in the time of the Anthropocene, by bringing to light the role of Gothic since its inception in 1764 in holding space for a worldview familiar to certain mystical traditions – such as alchemy, which held to the view of a living cosmos yet later deemed ‘uncanny’ and anachronistic by Freud. In developing this idea, Gothic Metaphysics explores the influence of the Middle Ages on the emergence of Gothic, seeing it as an encrypted genre that serves as the site of a ‘live burial’ of ‘animism’, which has emerged in the notion of ‘quantum entanglement’ best described by Carl G. Jung and physicist Wolfgang Pauli in the theory of synchronicity linking alchemy with quantum mechanics. This relationship finds itself in dialogue with the Gothic’s long-held concern for the ‘sentience of space and place’, as described by renowned Gothic scholar Fredrick Frank. The volume Gothic Metaphysics is multi-valent and explores how Gothic has sustained the view of a sentient world despite the disqualification of nature – not only in respect to the extirpation of animism as a worldview, but also with regard to an affirmation of consciousness beyond that of human exceptionalism.


‘Gothic Metaphysics offers a bracing revaluation of Gothic values for the twenty-first century. Here, the Gothic – long the repository of arcane knowledges dismissed by scientific materialism – offers a mode of thought essential to our survival in the Anthropocene … realigning the Gothic with Jung, alchemy and quantum physics. This is indispensable reading not only on the Gothic but also on the state of things as they currently are and hope to be.’
Professor Joel Faflak, Western University, London, ON


Chapter 1: Gothic Metaphysics: From Alchemy to the Anthropocene
Chapter 2: Occult Subjects: Parapsychology and the Foreign Body in Psychoanalysis
Chapter 3: There Is No Occult-Free Zone: Transgenerational Emergence
Chapter 4: An Other-Valued Reality: Animism and Literature
Chapter 5: Ghost Dance
Chapter 6: Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and the Strange Question of Trans-Subjectivity
Chapter 7: Learning to Talk with Ghosts: Canadian Gothic and the Poetics of Haunting in Eden Robinson’s Monkey Beach
Chapter 8: EcoGothic and the Anthropocene: The Ecological Subject
Chapter 9: Afterwor(l)ds: All My Relations

About the Author(s)

Author(s): Jodey Castricano

Jodey Castricano is Professor in the Department of English and Cultural Studies, Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies, at the University of British Columbia.

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