Colonial Gothic: Morbid Anatomy, Commodification and Critique in Marcus Clarke’s The Mystery of Major Molineux
The dynamics of what might be called colonial Gothic, by which I mean the Gothicizing of the settler-colony as a site of repression, also anticipate the dynamics of an analytical process in which the critic unearths the 'repressed' of colonization: collective guilt, the memory of violence and dispossession, and the struggle for mastery in which the insecurity of the settler-colony is revealed. The Gothic text, and this is its whole point, alludes to and reveals the object of repression, which becomes a locus of horror in it. At least superficially, the text shares with psychoanalytically informed cultural criticism a certain critical impulse, such that colonial Gothic can often tum out to approximate, in the form of an allegory, the process of its own interpretation: it mirrors the alienation of colonialism in exactly that way that renders it amenable to the categories of psychoanalysis (themselves deeply rooted in the tropes of Gothicism). To a degree this is true of Marcus Clarke's novella, The Mystery of Major Molineux, posthumously published in 1881.
Please sign in to access this article and the rest of our archive.
Cite as: McCann, Andrew. ‘Colonial Gothic: Morbid Anatomy, Commodification and Critique in Marcus Clarke’s The Mystery of Major Molineux.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 19, no. 4, 2000, doi: 10.20314/als.5154425f58.