3. American Ruins and the Ghost Town Syndrome 1

  1. Charles L. Crow
  1. Martin Procházka

Published Online: 13 SEP 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118608395.ch3

A Companion to American Gothic

A Companion to American Gothic

How to Cite

Procházka, M. (2013) American Ruins and the Ghost Town Syndrome 1, in A Companion to American Gothic (ed C. L. Crow), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118608395.ch3

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 13 SEP 2013
  2. Published Print: 25 NOV 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470671870

Online ISBN: 9781118608395

SEARCH

Keywords:

  • ghost town;
  • syndrome;
  • American West;
  • heterotopia;
  • spectrality;
  • violence;
  • justice;
  • Robert Coover;
  • Cormac McCarthy

Summary

Using the notions of “heterotopia,” “quasi eternity” (Michel Foucault) and “spectrality” (Jacques Derrida), the “ghost town syndrome” is discussed as a specific feature of American representations and discourses of ruins. Its major features are identified in the transformations of apocalyptic discourse affected by modern urban decay and the growth of symbolic function of the ghost town figure in mainstream and popular culture. The readings of Robert Coover's Ghost Town (1998) and Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian (1985) analyze the impact of the “ghost town syndrome” on the representations of the American West and the providential history of America emphasizing the questions of justice, violence the purpose of American history and the relation to other cultures.