Contemporary queer cultural production in the United States utilizes gothic aesthetics to demonstrate and comment on the numerous instances of insidious trauma faced by queer communities. This is the central thesis of Laura Westengard’s intriguing volume Gothic Queer Culture: Marginalized Communities and the Ghosts of Insidious Trauma, which draws from the fields of trauma studies, gothic visuals and metaphor, and queer theory to convincingly demonstrate the “development of rich queer culture infused with a gothicism that is both informed by and resistant to that traumatic marginalization” (4). While prior studies of queer gothic, such as George A. Haggerty’s Queer Gothic, focus on the well-trodden path of Gothic literature—and particularly Gothic literature from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries—Westengard draws from often-overlooked sources of cultural production, from fashion to book covers, performance art to television, to demonstrate how the marginalization of queer identities results in moments of insidious trauma that...

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