South African Gothic

Anxiety and Creative Dissent in the Post-apartheid Imagination and Beyond

Author(s) Rebecca Duncan

Language: English

Genre(s): Literary Criticism

Series: Gothic Literary Studies

  • June 2018 · 288 pages ·216x138mm

  • · Hardback - 9781786832467
  • · eBook - pdf - 9781786832474
  • · eBook - epub - 9781786832481

About The Book

The term ‘Gothic’ has rarely been brought to bear on contemporary South African fictions, appearing too fanciful for the often overtly political writing of apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa. As the first book-length exploration of Gothic impulses in South African literature, this volume accounts for the Gothic currents that run through South African imaginaries from the late-nineteenth century onwards. South African Gothic identifies an intensification in Gothic production that begins with the nascent decline of the apartheid state, and relates this to real anxieties that arise with the unfolding of social and political change. In the context of a South Africa unmaking and reshaping itself, Gothic emerges as a language for long-suppressed histories of violence, and for ongoing experiences at odds with utopian images of the new democracy. Its function is interrogative and ultimately creative: South African Gothic challenges narrow conceptions of the status quo to drive at alternative, less exclusionary visions.


‘This is a new book, an original book. It traces the history of literary representations of violence and fear in South Africa, and it interrogates the ways in which these might be fruitfully considered as falling within the remit of ‘Gothic’. The reader will find here a vast range of texts; a continuing political commentary handled with subtlety and discrimination; and a sure hand when thinking through the postcolonial implications on Gothic tropes’.
-Professor David Punter, University of Bristol

‘South African Gothic maps a complicated literary history, charting a course that is absorbing, engaging and insightful. Moving from Gordimer and Coetzee to Wicomb and Brink (as well as many others), Duncan reads Gothic narratives of diverse anxieties that emerge in the social, cultural and political transition from apartheid to democracy. Theoretically informed and well written, this book is an important intervention in Gothic literary studies.’
-Professor Justin D. Edwards, University of Stirling

'Rooted effectively in history and criticism, and with a clear sense of purpose and style, Duncan’s South African Gothic: Anxiety and Creative Dissent in the Post-apartheid Imagination and Beyond is a must-read for scholars of Postcolonial Gothic.'
- Fantastika Journal


Chapter 1
Introduction: South African Gothic, Heterotopia and Dissent
Chapter 2
The Pastoral Unconscious: Gothic and Interregnum in Late-Apartheid Fiction
Chapter 3
Writing Phantoms: Gothic Mourning in the Time of Transition
Chapter 4
Liberation/Neoliberalism: South African Horror after the Millennium
Chapter 5
Coda: Towards Creative Dissent
Works Cited

About the Author(s)

Author(s): Rebecca Duncan

Rebecca Duncan is Teaching Assistant in English Studies at Stirling University.

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