Canadian Gothic: literature, history, and the spectre of self-invention

Posted on 7 January 2014
Canadian Gothic

Published this month by the University of Wales Press as part of the Gothic Literary Studies series, a new book explores the Gothic tradition in Canadian literature by tracing a distinctive reworking of the British Gothic in Canada.

Canadian Gothic: literature, history, and the spectre of self-invention by Cynthia Sugars traces the ways the Gothic genre was reinvented for a specifically Canadian context.

Sugars demonstrates how, from very early on, the Gothic has held a precarious position in Canadian literature. On the one hand, Canadian writers expressed anxiety about the applicability of the British Gothic tradition to the colonies; on the other, they turned to the Gothic for its vitalising rather than unsettling potential.

After charting this history of Gothic infusion, Canadian Gothic turns its attention to the body of Aboriginal and diasporic writings that respond to this discourse of national self-invention from a post-colonial perspective. These counter-narratives unsettle the naturalising force of this invented history, rendering the sense of Gothic comfort newly strange.

The Canadian Gothic tradition has thus been a conflicted one, which reimagines the Gothic as a form of cultural sustenance, and this volume offers an important reconsideration of the Gothic legacy in Canada.

Cynthia Sugars is Professor of English at the University of Ottawa, where she specialises in Canadian literature, Gothic theory and post colonialism.

/Ends

Canadian Gothic: literature, history, and the spectre of self-invention (January 2014, University of Wales Press)
By Cynthia Sugars
£95.00 • HB • 9780708327005 • 216x138mm • 325pp

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