• Gothic fairy-tales and Deleuzian desire

    Holly Samantha Hirst
    Deleuze, Gilles, 1925-1995, Guattari, Félix, 1930-1992, Desire, Fairy tales, Arts, Gothic, Gothic literature
    Item Type:
    Rana Dasgupta
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    This article seeks to address the ‘identity’ of the ‘gothic fairy-tale’ through an investigation of Rana Dasgupta’s Tokyo Cancelled (2005), a collection of globally oriented short stories that straddle the line between the gothic and the fairy-tale. The argument provides a close analysis of a number of the tales within Dasgupta’s collection to highlight the parity between the gothic and the fairy-tale at the level of both plot and character. Moving beyond the well-documented case of how a writer and critic such as Angela Carter exposes the latent horror of the fairy-tale, the argument seeks to explore the juncture of the gothic and the fairy-tale represented in Tokyo Cancelled and, in doing so, illustrate the ways in which fairy-tales and the gothic both depend upon certain configurations of desire while questioning the primacy of ‘horror’ and ‘terror’ to definitions of the gothic mode. While highlighting the similarities between fairy-tale and gothic forms, this article also posits the existence of ‘fairy-tale’ and ‘gothic’ sensibilities that are fundamentally different from one another, a difference that is founded ultimately upon the question of desire. Employing Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s concept of productive desire, a model that opposes that of ‘desire-as-fantasy’ and ‘desire-as-lack’, which are associated with the fairy-tale and explicitly rejected in Tokyo Cancelled, the article posits a particularly gothic conception of desire. This ‘gothic desire’ is central both to the gothic mode generally and to the ‘gothic fairy-tale’ more particularly. Rana Dasgupta’s work acts as an illustration of this conception of the ‘gothic fairy-tale,’ one which moves away from an emphasis on terror, horror, transgression and fear to focus instead on a widely differing creative project and a conception of desire as definitional to form.
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    2 months ago
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