Oceanic studies and the gothic deep

Jimmy Packham, David Punter

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In a recent edition of Atlantic Studies, Hester Blum outlined the methodological approaches appropriate to the emergent field of ‘oceanic studies’, arguing that such work should prioritise the oceans’ material conditions, its ‘nonhuman scale and depth’ and ‘multi-dimensional flux’. Our aims in this essay are twofold: to consider the implications oceanic studies has for scholars of the Gothic while also considering the ways in which there is already a decidedly Gothic dimension of a critical framework championing ‘nonhuman scale and depth’ and ‘multi-dimensional flux’. The literary analysis for this essay is rooted in a range of Gothic sea poetry. The poems’ explorations of depth, we argue, asserts the prominence and preeminence of the uncanny nonhuman forms inhabiting the ocean, and that the deep is a site haunted by the accumulation of history, in which past blends with present, and where spatiality and temporality become unmoored from and exceed their traditional (or terrestrial) qualities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-29
Number of pages14
JournalGothic Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • gothic
  • oceanic studies
  • the deep
  • Edgar Allan Poe
  • Alfred Lord Tennyson
  • William Hope Hodgson


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