This article examines Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves (2000), a gothic novel that augments its postmodernist credentials by preemptively imagining and representing the theoretical gaze that would otherwise have been directed on itself. The article suggests that despite the novel’s intense performance of self-reflexivity, it demonstrates a traumatic suppression of its own immediate historical conditions, particularly its temporal proximity to the events of the First Gulf War. This article thus reads the text’s telling silences and its thematization of uncanny spatial violations as indexing a minimally acknowledged guilt over the war in Iraq. The novel’s slippages in self-awareness not only point to an avoidance of its own scotomized history but also foreground the shifting boundaries and dispersed locations of textual self-consciousness.

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