Contesting Consensus Culture: The Case of Dutch Gothic

E. Wesseling, R.L. Buikema

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Until recently the Gothic novel was considered to be a predominantly Anglo-Saxon phenomenon, but there are now several studies that have convincingly uncovered relevant European contributions to the development of this genre. We are adding to this project of Anglo-European comparisons by investigating the case of Dutch literature. Has there been a Gothic tradition to speak of in Dutch literature, and if so, how may it serve to mitigate the Anglo-centrism of Gothic studies? We observe that the Gothic only became a significant phenomenon in post-war Dutch literature, developing into a veritable trend from the 1980s onwards. The article offers an explanation for the initial absence of the Gothic novel and for its upsurge in late twentieth-century fiction. We argue that the trajectory of the Gothic in Dutch literature can be understood in the light of the peculiarities of the modernization of Dutch society, a process whose pace and phasing differs considerably from the modernization of Britain. These observations are substantiated with readings of primary works.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-142
JournalJournal of European Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

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