in A familiar compound ghost
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This chapter, which notes that ruins have traditionally been thought of as uncanny, haunted places, deals with the fragments of past civilisations and with several classical authors: Virgil, Horace and Lucan. Ruins have often been associated with the supernatural, either because it is believed that ruins are haunted or because the ruins are themselves strongly identified with corpses or ghosts. Ruins have a particular affinity with allusion, as both can be described as fragments that invite the reader or viewer to import a missing original to complete the picture. The discussion notes that, when used as an uncanny allusion marker, ruins dramatise the later author's sense of belatedness.

A familiar compound ghost

Allusion and the uncanny


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