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Splattered InkPostfeminist Gothic Fiction and Gendered Violence$
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Sarah E. Whitney

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040467

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040467.001.0001

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Up from the Basement

Up from the Basement

Postfeminist Gothic’s Captive Imagination

(p.165) 7 Up from the Basement
Splattered Ink

Sarah E. Whitney

University of Illinois Press

This chapter investigates how postfeminist gothic confronts the wounds of female captivity. The accounts of three survivors—Elizabeth Smart, Jaycee Dugard, and Michelle Knight—are explored alongside multiple mass-market novels that have adapted similar premises. Memoir and fiction are blended in this chapter because postfeminist gothic works, while not strictly mimetic, are informed by real-life conditions. Susanna Moore's adaptation of Sylvia Likens's torture in The Big Girls, Jodi Picoult's reimagining of Ellie Nesler's vengeance in Perfect Match, Sapphire's amalgamation of incest-victim testimonies in Push, and Alice Sebold's adaptation of her own rape and beating illustrate how actual events of gendered violence provide context for this particular genre.

Keywords:   female captivity, Elizabeth Smart, Jaycee Dugard, Michelle Knight, memoir, postfeminist gothic works, gendered violence

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