Knocking at the door of your prison house of history: Carlos Fuentes’ Aura (1962) and Angela Carter’s “The Lady of the House of Love” (1979)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Neither Angela Carter nor Carlos Fuentes deploys doubling, doppelgangers, in the shape of an alternative self emerging from the conformist and righteous. However, each deals with projection of the self onto others. Freud (1919) and Julia Kristeva (1988) identified the projection of desire, disgust, hope, and rejection onto parallel figures, onto the stranger, or onto the romantic loved one. Instead of the dark split self, emerging from the respectable outer show, the stories Aura and “The Lady of the House of Love” use projection of a version of the self as other, springing from desire and disgust. In both of them, the offer of unity with another and another way of being necessarily turn into the deadly prison of romantic love. Each tale focuses first on powerful entrapping histories, crossing the boundaries of time and death, and, finally, on enacting ways in which the narratives of our histories, our contexts, our myths, and our projections can keep us enthralled and damned in our repetitive behaviors: the trap of history and narrative.This text explores ways in which both Fuentes and Carter deal with doubling, delight, deceit, and death, and the haunting of history. Each exposes the other as the self in the house of history, unraveling the tropes and dangerous traps of past narratives and fictions. Each is a politicized, ideological writer, using the Gothic to lure the reader into the toils of the tale, before, like the protagonist, we step back, aware or not, and can or cannot be released.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHybrids and Doubles
EditorsIlse Bussing, Antony Alcala
PublisherRoutledge Falmer
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2019


  • Gothic

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