Anthony Mandal on Gothic bibliophobia

Posted by Glennis Byron on February 11, 2011 in News tagged with , , ,

For those of you in the Cardiff area, don’t miss Anthony Mandal’s talk on ‘Bibliophobia: Textuality and Alterity in Recent Gothic Fiction’, Tuesday, 15 February at 5.15 in the Cardiff Humanities Building, Room 2.48.  The talk sounds fascinating; here’s the abstract taken from the Cardiff Book History website:

The labyrinthine library and textual untrustworthiness are nothing new in fiction: throughout its history, gothic literature, in particular, has been populated with libraries as problematized loci that belie their seemingly progressive principles, while the elucidatory potential of language is subverted by the gothic’s preoccupation with linguistic slippage, discovered manuscripts, inset tales, narrative fragmentation and structural contradictions. Textuality is disclosed in the gothic as a contested concept, both the vessel of lost knowledge and the harbinger of destruction. Taking some theoretical models supplied by Borges, Foucault and Eco as his starting points, Mandal’s talk will consider the ‘bibliophobia’ of recent gothic novels by John Harwood, Elizabeth Kostova, Arturo Pérez-Reverte and Carlos Ruiz Zafón, in which the text becomes the locus of supernatural irruptions that threaten to infect the everyday world. Promising the privilege and completeness of structured knowledge, these novels paradoxically reveal the textual condition as masking disorder and monstrosity, consequently raising disconcerting questions about authority, truthfulness and human identity itself.

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