Ecogothic in Nineteenth-Century American Literature
In its broadest sense, the ecogothic is a literary mode at the intersection of environmental writing and the gothic, and it typically presupposes some kind of ecocritical lens. Indeed, in the only book devoted to the topic, Andrew Smith and William Hughes define ecogothic as “exploring gothic through ecocriticism,” demonstrating the virtual inextricability of the two concepts. Emergent in the 1990s, ecocriticism has devoted itself to studying the literary and cultural relationships of humans to the nonhuman world—to animals, plants, minerals, climate, and ecosystems. Adopting a specifically gothic ecocritical lens illuminates the fear, anxiety, and dread that often pervade those relationships: it orients us, in short, to the more disturbing and unsettling aspects of our interactions with nonhuman ecologies.