The Gothic problematic of “othering” may be usefully approached by understanding its narrative as the product of anxiety stemming from a rapidly booming industrialist Victorian society. The Gothic text, then, is to the society what Hyde is to Jekyll. Despite an inherent narrative “monstrosity” (I borrow Chris Baldick’s term here), the Gothic text cannot be “othered” from the society (and ‘conventional’ narrative) it mirrors, because it is born from the troubled suspicion of this same society’s advancement. In this same respect, Frankenstein as “Romantic Gothic” cannot be properly regarded as “other” from the Romance paradigm, because it really is the “bastard” of its own narrative father, in the same way Hyde is a baser version of Jekyll’s self. Dracula, too, cannot be “other” to human; he cannot be the antithesis of life (i.e. death) when he is “Un-Dead.” Catherine’s famous three words in Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights perhaps most excellently pronounce the Gothic paradox of “othering”: “I am Heathcliff.” Self-identity can only be affirmed not through the mirroring of self in other, but through the self being the other. Jekyll becomes his own other, when he recognises that Hyde is “(other) than (himself)” and yet is “(himself).” In the same way that Frankenstein’s monster is “other” to himself, it also validates him, because it is an extension of his own powers of science. Similarly, there must be a Dracula in every human subject, if this vampirish symbol of the id is only waiting to break through the constraints of the ego and super-ego.

Courtesy of Yeo Huan, 2006, National University of Singapore class: EN 4223 - Topics in the Nineteenth Century: The Gothic and After, Gothic Keywords project .




The Knight of the Broom Flower; Or, The Horrors of the Priory [Transcript], Unknown