Why does the Gothic lend itself to psychoanalytical readings in terms of the “uncanny” and the “abject”? What exactly is the Freudian "uncanny" and how does Kristeva characterize...

Why does the Gothic lend itself to psychoanalytical readings in terms of the “uncanny” and the “abject”? What exactly is the Freudian "uncanny" and how does Kristeva characterize "abjection" and the "abject"?

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gbeatty eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In some ways this question is circular, as discussions of the uncanny often work from the gothic tradition, or from ghost stories, using it as examples and starting points for forays into discussions of the mind. That said, the gothic lends itself to psychoanalytical readings due to several thematic and stylistic elements running through it. First, thematically, there are often elements of succession, and/or parent child relationships. Second, the traditional settings of the gothic story, the castle (and to a lesser degree sites like convents) are intensely hierarchical, and often symbolize families and minds; these are both integral to psychoanalysis. Third, the style of the gothic, with the layered narrative and emphasis on altered states, cries out for an analyst's reading.