This article argues that the allegorical interpretations of the Gothic sublime made by materialist critics like Franco Moretti and Judith Halberstam unavoidably reduce Gothic excess and uncanniness to a realist understanding and, thereby, ironically de-materialize Gothic monstrosity by substituting for it a realistic meaning. This essay, instead, advocates a psychoanalytic critical reception that demonstrates how the essential uncanniness of the Gothic novel makes all realistic interpretation falter. Rather than interpreting Frankensteins creature as a condensed figure for proletarian formation or Dracula as an allegory for xenophobia, for instance, this article insists that the Gothic uncanny should be understood as figuring that which can only be viewed figuratively, as figuring that which has no space within a realistic understanding.
the uncanny (dasUnheimlich) or the undead, both of which seem to
take something of their spooky quality precisely from the grammatical
violation. On the uncanny, see also Thomson, Chapter 4 above.
77 Deleuze, ‘The exhausted’, Essays, p. 173.
78 Deleuze, ‘He stuttered’, Essays, p. 113.