By Christine Berthin
What's buried within the crypts of the Gothic? construction on psychoanalytic study on haunting, cryptonymy and depression, in addition to on French philosophies of language, this ebook explores how haunting is not only a Gothic narrative machine however the symptom of an impossibility of illustration and of an irreparable loss on the center of language.
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Extra info for Gothic Hauntings: Melancholy Crypts and Textual Ghosts
But repression is not suppression. The remainder is situated precisely at this point of inadequacy between repression and suppression. As one becomes a subject in language, one takes possession of one’s inheritance: we all inherit symbolic constructions and their ghosts, all the living dead folded in the creases of language, as so many leftovers that are not quite part of the system but are nonetheless the very foundations of all linguistic exchanges. For Žižek, the return of the dead, or the remainder, corresponds in fact to the return of the Real of Lacanian terminology.
Does the confusion reveal anything of the unconscious of the speaker or of that of the listener or that of language? Every utterance hides a potential slippage back into the overflowing gray mist of indistinctiveness one tries so hard to control. The abject materiality of language, the obscure mud from which the crystal of our most rewarding limpid communications is extracted, always come back to haunt. Language then ceases to be effective and becomes affective: “Philippe, j’ai soif,” (I am thirsty) Aunt Lili said.
The memory of the visit to Maucombe therefore seems to condense other scenes, brought back in verbal echoes and homophones. Translated after the events and retranslated in the narrative, the scene might not in fact stage a coincidence (the intersign) that takes Xavier by surprise. It conveys not so much the image of future death but rather the obscure memory trace of an earlier enigma. Maucombe, Saint Maur and Nanon are the catalysts that bring back an infantile trauma. As night fell, the call for help of a child, young Xavier, was answered beyond expectation, with an incomprehensible message, by a figure who used to wrap him warmly and send him back to sleep, just as Maucombe did, at nightfall, on the deserted road: “he threw the coat on my shoulders and buttoned it up, looking tender and worried, while drained of my strength, I closed my eyes” (707).