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The clone as Gothic trope in contemporary speculative fiction

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  • Additional Information
    • Contributors:
      McKechnie-Mason, Claire; Brewster, Scott; Byron, Glennis
    • Publication Information:
      University of Stirling, 2014.
    • Publication Date:
      2014
    • Collection:
      University of Stirling
    • Abstract:
      In February 1997, the concept of the clone, previously confined to the pages of fiction, became reality when Dolly the sheep was introduced to the world. The response to this was unprecedented, initiating a discourse on cloning that permeated a range of cultural forms, including literature, film and television. My thesis examines and evaluates this discourse through analysis of contemporary fiction, including Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go (2005), Stefan Brijs's The Angel Maker (2008), Duncan Jones's Moon (2009), and BBC America's current television series Orphan Black, which first aired in 2013. Such texts are placed in their cultural and historical setting, drawing comparisons between pre- and post-Dolly texts. The thesis traces the progression of the clone from an inhuman science fiction monster, to more of a tragic "human" creature. The clone has, however, retained its fictional portrayal as "other," be that double, copy or manufactured being, and the thesis argues that the clone is a Gothic trope for our times. The roots of the cloning discourse often lie in Gothic narratives, particularly Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818), which is analysed as a canonical cloning text. Each chapter focuses on a source of fascination and fear within the cloning discourse: the influence of Gothic paternity on the figure of scientist; the notion of the clone as manufactured product, victim and monster; and the ethical and social implications of cloning. There is a dearth of critical analysis on the contemporary literary clone, with the most comprehensive study to date neither acknowledging the alignment of cloning and the Gothic nor demonstrating the impact of Dolly on fictional portrayals. My thesis addresses this, interweaving fiction, science and culture to present a monster which simultaneously embodies difference and sameness: a new monster for the twenty-first century.
    • Accession Number:
      edsble.635514