Nichole Neff1
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  • 1 University of New Mexico
The Belly of the Beast
The Uncanny Shark
in Gothic Studies
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Sharks haunt the human imagination more than vampires, werewolves or ghosts. Sensational representations make the shark the villain of each piece as the top predator of even humanity. Yet since its Gothic beginnings in Anglophone representation, the shark has been the victim. The word sharke comes from slavers tongues when the first of its kind was brought ashore to be flayed, eaten, and its inner bowels excavated and examined. In reading and writing the shark, humanity opens up the belly of the beast to express the repressed and to give utterance to that which cannot be uttered– the uncanny. The argument that follows isnt that we should read the shark as a Gothic figure, but that we already do.

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