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Death And The Double: Gothic Aesthetics In Genesis 4.1–16

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Chapter Summary

The Gothic has become a mode of artistic expression, what Anne Williams terms "an art of darkness"; this chapter calls it an aesthetic. As an aesthetics, the Gothic benefits from the perspicacity of various theoretical trends including Marxism, and especially feminism and psychoanalysis, to unearth its deep structures, and to intensify an appreciation for its dark poetics. The Tanakh contains many tales which could be read as Gothic, and the chapter proposes a reading of a specific narrative, the story of Cain and Abel (Genesis 4.1-16). Further drawing from the theory of sacrifice conceptualised by René Girard it is argued that Cain's act of murder irrevocably results in his becoming his brother. The chapter demonstrates that Cain and Abel are Gothic doubles that function as a theological metaphor for the self/other dialectic. It encourages more literary-critical interrogations of the Tanakh from a Gothic perspective.

Keywords: Cain and Abel; dark poetics; Genesis 4.1-16; Gothic aesthetic; Gothic double; René Girard; Tanakh; theological mystery



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