OpenCampus Tea-Time Talks – Gothic Nature presents ‘Landfills and Garbage in American Gothic imagination’
Layla Hendow, PhD candidate in English literature; Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education
If garbage is a contemporary gothic symbol, it aptly represents a waste crisis that is both caused by humans and feared by them. Landfills are the modern equivalent of gothic landscapes or architecture: huge mounds of trash that cause emotions of fear and remind people of death, decay and destruction. Potential new developments are met with cries of “Not in my back yard!” from a public who don’t want to have to encounter their waste.
This talk grows out Layla’s research on waste in contemporary American literature. Using a variety of examples, the talk will look at how waste and garbage became a contemporary gothic trope – at once a source of fear on the one hand and sublimity on the other.