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The 2017 ‘Gothic Nature I’ conference in Dublin, Ireland, and the launch of the new journal Gothic Nature: New Directions in Ecohorror and the EcoGothic present an occasion to reflect on how the entangled fields of ecocriticism and Gothic literary studies have developed and evolved over the past decade. While ecocritics have historically been slow and at times reluctant to embrace Gothic texts and approaches, in recent years that has begun to change. This essay argues that the development of ecocriticism itself can been read as a type of Gothic story. If imagined figuratively as if it were a horror film, the field of ecocriticism is at a point where it is confronting the monster that has been hidden in the basement. This can be seen in the current scholarly interest in topics such as slow violence, ecosickness, environmental injustice, environmental grief, the Anthropocene, and the vibrancy of all matter. The neologism ‘ecoGothic’, despite its sometimes uncertain and unstable usage, and despite the sometimes contested methods and meanings of ‘ecocriticism’ and ‘Gothic’ themselves, shows potential to help scholars productively explore the multiplicity of topics at the nexus of ecocriticism and the Gothic. In this regard, this essay argues that Kristeva’s ‘abjection’ a concept long employed in Gothic studies, can aid ecocritics in examining that which is ambiguous, disorderly, unsettling both in the texts they study, and in their understanding of the trajectory of ecocriticism itself.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.