The Gothic Sublime

By Vijay Mishra

Subjects: Comparative Literature
Series: SUNY series on the Sublime
Paperback : 9780791417485, 342 pages, May 1994
Hardcover : 9780791417478, 342 pages, May 1994

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Table of contents


Introduction Reading Others Reading the Gothic

1 Theorizing the (Gothic) Sublime

2 The Precursor Text

3 Gothic Fragments and Fragmented Gothics

4 Unstable Text/Unstable Readings: William Godwin's Caleb Williams

5 Apocalyptic Narratives: Tales of Ends

6 Frankenstein : Sublime as Desecration/Decreation

7 The Gothic Sublime and Literary History


Select Bibliography



This book reads the Gothic corpus with a thoroughly postmodern critical apparatus, pointing out that the Gothic Sublime anticipates our own doomed desire to pass beyond the hyperreal. A highly sophisticated theoretical reading of key texts of the Gothic, this book allows the reader to re-live the Gothic, not simply as a nostalgic relic or a pre-romantic aberration, but as a living presence that has strong resonances with the postmodern condition.

Vijay Mishra is Associate Professor and Chairperson of the English and Comparative Literature Program at Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia. He holds doctorates from the Australian National University and Oxford University. His publications include Dark Side of the Dream: Australian Literature and the Postcolonial Mind (with Bob Hodge) and Devotional Poetics: A Theory of the Indian Sublime (in press). He has also completed a book on Indian Cinema and published over 40 articles on various aspects of English and Comparative literature and film theory.


"Vijay Mishra's The Gothic Sublime is a learned, richly speculative and historically grounded study of the gothic as a discourse/genre centered in the psychological tactics and 'uncanny' thematics initiated in The Castle of Otranto, moving through William Godwin, Mary Shelley, and Melville, into the tactics and thematics of the postmodern condition as influentially figured in theorists such as Lyotard, Jameson, Sedgwick, and Lacan."—Rob Wilson, University of Hawaii

"Vijay Mishra belongs to that rare breed of literary scholars who are equally at home in English and Indian literatures. His profound understanding of both traditions enables him to interrogate the strengths of each, by situating each in a vibrant discursive horizon. He brings this broad cultural understanding to retheorizing the Gothic Sublime."—Wimal Dissanayake, Editor, East-West Film Journal