Chernobyl Trauma and Gothic

Chernobyl Trauma and Gothic

Testimony, Cultural Memory and Global Literary Perspectives

By Stuart Lindsay

Anthem Studies in Gothic Literature

This scholarly monograph explores the published eyewitness testimonies, poetry and literature surrounding the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. It argues for the contextualisation of the disaster’s collective traumatic wound and its Soviet political repression through public articulation of survivor experience and its interpretation by the trauma narratives of Science Fiction and the Gothic.

EPUB, 200 Pages


June 2025

£25.00, $35.00

PDF, 200 Pages


June 2025

£25.00, $35.00

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About This Book

This scholarly monograph synthesises critical understandings of collective social trauma and the Gothic’s discursive manifestation within the trauma paradigm in testimonial and literary expressions of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Gothic writing, more than just a historically specific manifestation of English eighteenth-century concerns about national identity and the French Revolution, functions as a textuality haunting that which it is not and an articulation of a society’s collective fears. Chernobyl Gothic, then, is a testimony, literature and aesthetics that haunts the empty space of the Soviet authority’s non-disclosure of the disaster, namely in the displaced survivor, the Exclusion Zone, and the exploded nuclear reactor housing. Chapters in this book examine the ways in which trauma and the Gothic coalesce around the writing of the Chernobyl disaster in various literary genres. Images of terror, fear and panic deployed satirically in Soviet Science Fiction published before the disaster portray a body politic in chaos and excess of Marxist homogeneity. Psychological hermeticism of individuals and social groups in Chernobyl testimony and fiction indicates the haunting of intergenerational trauma. Literature of international mourning, identifying in the Chernobyl eyewitness a lost subject who nevertheless survives and seemingly resists memorialisation, negotiates an ethics of exchange between self and other, visitor and native, living and dead. Cryptomimesis and mourning generate Gothic, uncanny effects within these texts through their ‘inside-outness’. This constitutes a pertinent Gothic structural aesthetics in analysing the traumas of a displaced network of survivors from a collapsed regime that nonetheless remains relevant in current geopolitics.

In the continued aftermath of disaster, technological representations of Chernobyl and the Exclusion Zone in the contemporary Gothic, namely in Virtual Reality and computer games, explore a discursivity of ghosts and monstrosity respectively.


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Author Information

Stuart L. Lindsay is a PhD graduate and English literature lecturer at the University of Stirling. His research and publications focus on Memory and Trauma studies and Gothic studies in graphic novels, gaming, Internet sub-culture and critical nostalgia.


Anthem Studies in Gothic Literature

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