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American Gothic Culture

An Edinburgh Companion

Edited by Jason Haslam, Joel Faflak

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A new critical companion to the Gothic traditions of American Culture

This Companion surveys the traditions and conventions of the dark side of American culture – its repressed memories, its anxieties and panics, its fears and horrors, its obsessions and paranoias. Featuring new critical essays by established and emerging academics from a range of national backgrounds, this collection offers new discussions and analyses of canonical and lesser-known texts in literature and film, television, photography, and video games. Its scope ranges from the earliest manifestations of American Gothic traditions in frontier narratives and colonial myths, to its recent responses to contemporary global events.

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Introduction, Joel Faflak & Jason Haslam
Part I: Gothic Histories, Gothic Identities
Gothic Monstrosity: Charles Brockden Brown’s ‘Edgar Huntly’ and the Trope of the Bestial Indian, Christine Yao
Slavery and American Gothic, Jason Haslam
Ethno-gothic: Repurposing Genre in Contemporary American Literature, Arthur Redding
Part II: Gothic Genres, Gothic Sites
Southern Gothic, Christopher Lloyd
The Devil in the Slum: American Urban Gothic, Andrew Loman
Joyce Carol Oates Revisits the Schoolhouse Gothic, Sherry R. Truffin
Part III: Gothic Media
American Gothic Television, Julia M. Wright
American Gothic Art, Christoph Grunenberg
Doppelgamers: Videogames and Gothic Choice, Michael Hancock
Part IV: American Creatures
Screening the American Gothic: Celluloid Serial Killers in American Popular Culture, Sorcha Ní Fhlainn
American Vampires, Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock
Consumed out of the Good Land: The American Zombie, Geopolitics and the Post-War World, Linnie Blake.

About the Author

Jason Haslam is Associate Professor of English at Dalhousie University, past-president of the Canadian Association for American Studies, and president-elect of the Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English. He is the author of Fitting Sentences: Identity in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Prison Narratives (2005), and editor of The Public Intellectual and the Culture of Hope (2013; with Joel Faflak), Captivating Subjects: Writing Confinement, Citizenship, and Nationhood in the Nineteenth Century (2005; with Julia M. Wright), and scholarly editions of both Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan of the Apes (2010) and Constance Lytton’s Prisons and Prisoners (2008).

Joel Faflak is Professor and Director, School for Advanced Studies in the Arts and Humanities at the University of Western Ontario. His research is anchored in British literature and thought 1750-1850, with a focus on the tumultuous and paradigm-shattering Romantic literature, philosophy, and culture (roughly 1789-1832) as they emerge from the Enlightenment and get transformed (or not) in the Victorian period.


This provocative collection sees 'culture' not just as the sum of its arts, but in its more primal sense of something that grows, matures, morphs, and rots. Placing contemporary American Culture in the petri dish of history, this book is a must for students of the Gothic and American Studies!

- Western University, Steven Bruhm

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