'The Extraordinary Self': Gothic Culture and the Construction of the Self
The Gothic culture of consumption centres on the dark in its various aesthetic and fashion manifestations. These cultural forms include a particular horror and romance genre (Shelly, Stoker, Poe and Rice) as well as a distinctive Victorian vampire chic costuming ritual. Syncretic introspection concerning my own cultural engagement leads me to identify Gothic consumption as an exemplar of "extraordinary self-construction" whereby the reality of mundane experience is transcended by self-authorship of an aspirational, fantastic narrative bricolage. The construction of a Gothic history and relegation of everyday insecurity and fear to a past era is the first stage in this self-authorship and parallels the Victorians' attraction to fairies and the "X-Philes" preoccupation with the supernatural and bizarre.