'The Extraordinary Self': Gothic Culture and the Construction of the Self

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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.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1362/026725799785045824

Publication date: July 1, 1999

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