Gothic Utterance: Voice, Speech and Death in the American Gothic

Research output: Book/ReportBook


The Gothic has always been interested in strange utterances and unsettling voices: from half-heard ghostly murmurings and the admonitions of the dead, to the terrible cries of the monstrous nonhuman. Gothic Utterance offers the first book-length study of the role such voices play in the Gothic tradition, exploring their prominence and importance in the American literature produced between the Revolutionary War and the close of the nineteenth century. This book argues that the American Gothic foregrounds the overpowering affect and distressing significations of the voices of the dead, dying, abjected, marginalised or nonhuman, in order to undertake a sustained interrogation of what it means to be and speak as an American in this period. The American Gothic imagines new forms of relation between speaking subjects, positing more inclusive and expansive forms of community. Gothic Utterance also emphasises the ethical demands attending our encounters with Gothic voices: the Gothic suggests that how we choose to hear and respond to these voices says much about our relationship with the world around us, its inhabitants – dead or otherwise – and the limits of our own subjectivity and empathy.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Wales Press
Number of pages256
ISBN (Electronic)9781786837561, 9781786837578, 9781786837554
ISBN (Print)9781786837547
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

Publication series

NameGothic Literary Studies


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