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Killer Plants & Gothic Gardeners: Gendered EcoGothic Monsters

From tentacled blood-suckers, to carnivorous exotics with a desire for human flesh to human-plant hybrids, plant monster fiction has received little attention within a Gothic context or from an ecofeminist perspective. My research aims to establish plant monsters as ecoGothic tropes by exploring how the gendered attributes of plant and gardener reflect cultural anxieties of their time and asserting their ecoGothic monstrosity through their consumption of humans. Emerging ecoGothic criticism has largely focused on bleak landscapes, dark forests and spectral settings, exploring nature in the Gothic genre with an ecocritical eye. Analysing plant monsters as distinctive tropes, I would argue, provides a concrete hybridisation of ecocriticism and gothic theories as ecoGothic. Drawing on ecofeminist concepts of interconnectedness, such as Stacy Alaimo’s material trans-corporeality and Nancy Tuana’s viscous porosity alongside Female Gothic theories of monstrosity and the grotesque, my research aims to demonstrate how the plant monster not only challenges androcentric socio-cultural interpretations (particularly the gender associations) but also presents a case for the (hu)man-eating plant as an ecoGothic monster.

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