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Refashioning the Victorian death space
Emma Liggins

In These Silent Mansions: A Life in Graveyards (2020), the poet Jean Sprackland writes of the graveyard as an ‘otherworldly’, liminal place, ‘dismantled gradually by the passing years, always in a state of becoming’ (2020: 1). Historians addressing mourning and ‘the Victorian celebration of death’ (Jalland, 1996; Curl 2000) have dwelt on the Gothic excesses of the architecture of the nineteenth-century cemetery, and its archival and aesthetic functions. Drawing on recent work on the cemetery as death space (Young and Light, 2016), this chapter begins by reconsidering its otherworldly qualities in relation to its development as a site for mourning and display. Contemporary novelists Susan Hill and Tracy Chevalier refashion the Victorian burial ground in novels set in the early twentieth century. In their descriptions of lichen-covered headstones, ‘vapid’ angels, urns and open graves, The Woman in Black (1983) and Falling Angels (2001) represent the graveyard as a place shadowed by decay and excess. The original illustrations for the first edition of Hill’s novel dwell on the ghostly woman in black in the remote burial ground of Eel Marsh House and behind the headstones at Alice Drablow’s funeral, signifying the excessive and malevolent suffering of the mourning mother. Inspired by Highgate Cemetery, Chevalier plays on the idea of the burial ground as a contested space of disposal, decay and ‘moral sentiment’ (Loudon 1843: 1) in the transitional years after Queen Victoria’s death. I explore the extent to which neo-Edwardian fiction embraces the excesses of the Victorian death space or sets out to desacralise this place of mourning, loss and darkness.

in Graveyard Gothic
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Anachronism, Anglo-Japanese semiotics and the cruel nightmare of resurrection in early horror video games
James T. McCrea

In the form of an environment within video games, the graveyard behaves as a treacherous landscape populated by malevolent supernatural creatures. These associations originate in horror-themed arcade games in the 1980s with medieval settings featuring graveyards that more closely resemble those of eighteenth-century Europe. Such graveyards invert their typical role as a resting place by inflicting constant resurrections upon their monstrous inhabitants as well as players themselves. Notoriously difficult games such as Castlevania (1988) and Ghosts ’n Goblins (1985) place players in or near graveyards from the start, fostering a nightmarish recursion where player death results in rebirth within the arena of the dead. As Japanese game designers conflated disparate aesthetics from Western European history, they unintentionally created an enduring association between medieval imagery, modern graveyards and monstrosity, which persisted as video games grew progressively complex. This motif would resurface as intentional narratives in the Dark Souls series (2011–16) and internationally developed games such as L'Abbaye des Morts (2010), Grave Chase (2017), Graveyard Keeper (2018) and Odallus: The Dark Call (2015), all of which focus on anachronistic graveyards wherein distinctions between life and death blur. As a culmination of Japanese and English-language collaboration, Elden Ring (2022) centralises its entire narrative around the inability to die, using tombstones as a consistent visual reminder of the story's thanatological gravity. Consequently, a close assessment of graveyard imagery explicates video games’ unique capacity to develop a global postmodern expression of the Gothic, whose existence depends on anachronism and international semiosis.

in Graveyard Gothic
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Visiting (and revisiting) the burial site in late eighteenth-century Gothic fiction
Yael Shapira

In this chapter I trace the transformation of the literary graveyard visit as it migrates from graveyard poetry to the Gothic novel of the late eighteenth century. Whereas graveyard poems framed the sojourn among the graves as a prompt to solemn spiritual reflection, Gothic fiction far more openly recognised the appeal of such scenes as a source of pleasure. My chapter considers the connection between pleasure and the Gothic burial vault from two complementary angles. I begin by looking at the role that one key characteristic of the burial vault, its privacy, plays in the two major Gothic masterpieces of the period, Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) and Matthew Lewis’s The Monk (1796). In both novels, the isolation of the enclosed burial space enables the pursuit of suspect thrills, whether these involve the excesses of sensibility or the more blatantly transgressive pleasures of sexuality. The chapter’s second part shifts attention from the pleasure of the characters to that of the readers, focusing on the role that burial vaults play in ‘trade Gothic’ novels – that is, lesser-known works produced in large numbers by commercial publishers such as the Minerva Press. I conclude the chapter by suggesting that the pleasure which late eighteenth-century readers found in Gothic graveyard scenes can complicate and enhance our understanding of this pivotal moment in the cultural history of death.

in Graveyard Gothic
Xavier Aldana Reyes

This chapter argues that graveyards in Western Gothic cinema have become an intrinsic part of the aesthetic vocabulary of horror, bridging the gaps between effect-driven atmospherics and serious subject matter, and suturing specific cultural anxieties into canonical narrative conventions that speak to the mode’s interest in the unearthing of the past – its unspeakable secrets, injustices and repressions. Their metonymic figuration of death, the greatest human fear, sometimes takes anthropomorphic shape in the Gothic’s infinite revenants and crepuscular dwellers, who claw their way out of tombs and mausolea to force the living into earth-shattering moments of reckoning and acceptance of the inexorable progress of ageing and the finitude of life. Other times, graveyards act as literal passageways, as corridors to the great unknown, the numinous and imponderables that exist beyond the metric grasp of empiricism and the exacting test-tubes of science. In the process, they make us question who gets pushed underneath, below the fabric of acceptable society, who is forced to inhabit subterranean spaces that defy majoritarian understandings of the traditional and the expected. Films discussed in this chapter include Frankenstein (1931), Night of the Living Dead (1968), La noche del terror ciego (Tombs of the Blind Dead, 1972), La Rose de fer (The Iron Rose, 1973), Phantasm (1979), Bride of Re-Animator (1990), Nightbreed (1990) and Dellamorte Dellamore (Cemetery Man, 1994).

in Graveyard Gothic
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Sasha Handley
and
Charles Zika

Pre-modern European cities were tightly knit communities in which homes were located in very close proximity. Neighbouring households, often including artisan workshops, formed the basis of the city's social, economic, political and religious networks. This was the case for Albrecht Dürer's city of Nuremberg. This chapter considers Dürer’s hometown, the different homes in which he lived and the objects that were used to decorate them. This develops into a consideration of how his physical and domestic environment influenced his creative output, in particular the Small Passion prints, Dürer’s most extensive and possibly best-known cycle of woodcuts.

in Albrecht Dürer’s material world
Graveyards in Western Gothic television
Stacey Abbott

Graveyards are a common backdrop to television adaptations of Dracula, in which the Count hides among the dead and seduces the living. It is also within a graveyard that the hero of Nigel Kneale’s The Woman in Black (ITV, 1989) first catches sight of the eponymous spectre who will seal his doom and where gravedigger Mike Ryerson comes face to face with the newly risen and vampirised child vampire, Danny Glick in Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot (CBS, 1979). The graveyard is an ideal setting for uncanny encounters between the living and the dead, lending these meetings a recognisably Gothic and melancholic mise en scène. Yet the aim of this chapter will be to demonstrate how the utilisation of the graveyard in Gothic TV is more than simply a shorthand to evoke a Gothic atmosphere but rather a location that renegotiates the Gothic for television. I will demonstrate how the iconography of the graveyard fosters an audience familiarisation with the conventions of horror while subtly inverting these tropes in family-friendly shows such as The Addams Family (ABC, 1964–6) and The Munsters (CBS, 1964–6). This location, however, also facilitates a confrontation with, and negotiation of, themes of death and grief in series such as Rod Serling’s Night Gallery (NBC, 1969–73), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (WB/UPN, 1997–2003), The Originals (CW, 2013–18), The X-Files (Fox, 1993–2018, and In the Flesh (BBC, 2013–14). Significantly, I will consider how the association of television with themes of the domestic allows for a reimagining of the Gothic graveyard as a site that evokes security and comfort while also disrupting that security through the eruption of the dead through the carefully manicured cemetery lawn, confronting the audience with the horrors of familial trauma and personal loss.

in Graveyard Gothic
Monika Ankele

The starting point of my chapter is a sociological study conducted by Rudolf Forster and Jürgen M. Pelikan at the psychiatric hospital Baumgartner Höhe in Vienna from 1974–78. Their study on the quality of patient care in the hospital scientifically confirmed what had already come to the attention of the public and media at the time of its publication: the shortcomings and abuses in the inpatient care of the hospital. In their study, which was financed by the Ministry of Health and Environmental Protection, the sociologists also made recommendations for a reform of psychiatric care in Vienna. These were widely accepted by policymakers. Thus, the study became a cornerstone of psychiatric reform and tells of the collaboration between the social sciences and politics. The chapter develops a multilayered contextualisation of the study and asks what doing social sciences at the site of psychiatry meant at that time. It refers to the context of the history of the social sciences, which discovered the psychiatric hospital as an object of study from the 1950s onwards, to the sociopolitical context in Austria, which led to the study’s impact, and finally to the funding of the first improvements in the care of the patients, even if the research findings and reform proposals were not new at the time of their publication. The chapter builds on contemporary publications, newspaper reports, printed sources and conversations with Eberhard Gabriel, who was the hospital’s medical director from 1978 to 2004, and with the sociologist Rudolf Forster.

in Doing psychiatry in postwar Europe
Kevin Corstorphine

Indian burial grounds are a staple of American popular culture, and through their representation in fiction and film reach a global audience. In such narratives, ‘old Indian burial grounds’ are built over with houses, hotels and other such dwellings. The after-effects of this disrespect shown to sacred ground usually include hauntings and otherworldly incursions of various types, and the possession of people, objects, or even the structure itself. In this way, the Indian burial ground serves as a fairly obvious (and indeed much-parodied) trope for the dispossession of native peoples and the subsequent cultural guilt of a colonial society. The extent to which these representations have any connection to actual Native American burial and funereal practices is less frequently explored, and the tendency is for such popular culture narratives to draw on this vaguely defined sense of cursed or spoiled land, unfit for human habitation but ripe for supernatural happenings. The association of Native Americans with the supernatural has a long and revealing history in settler culture in the United States, particularly in the loaded terms of land ownership. This chapter will explore this history from a postcolonial perspective, alongside readings of notable examples of the motif in fiction and film such as The Amityville Horror, Pet Sematary, and Poltergeist, as well as going back to early American fiction such as Washington Irving’s ‘The Devil and Tom Walker’

in Graveyard Gothic
Jennifer Spinks
,
Edward H. Wouk
, and
Danielle Gravon

Albrecht Dürer’s material world, the first major exhibition of the Whitworth’s outstanding Dürer collection in over half a century, juxtaposes examples of Dürer’s woodcuts, etchings and engravings from the Whitworth’s collection with a range of objects from Dürer’s time. The exhibition also brings new perspectives to the history of collecting Dürer’s art in the northwest of England. This catalogue explores the history of exhibiting Dürer’s art in Manchester and presents essays by leading scholars examining individual Dürer prints in relation to their material contexts, focusing on cultures of making and consumption, meaning and interpretation, context and legacy.

in Albrecht Dürer’s material world
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Graveyard Gothic
Eric Parisot
,
David McAllister
, and
Xavier Aldana Reyes

This introductory chapter theorises the graveyard’s persistent appeal to Gothic writers, identifying it as a heterotopic space of intergenerational confrontation replete with supernatural potential. Readings of key texts from Gothic’s first wave establish the centrality of burial spaces to the emerging Gothic mode, from the funerary sculptures and tombside denouement of Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto (1764) to the double-coded graveyards found in Gothic spoofs and satires. The accumulated layers of meaning that the graveyard accrues marks it as an example of what Michel Foucault, in ‘Of Other Spaces’ (1967), calls a ‘heterotopia’: a space that is discursively ‘other’ due to its disturbing and transformative qualities. Here, the authors argue that the graveyard is a heterotopia characterised by temporal accumulation and discontinuity in which ideologies compete, become distorted, are repressed and re-emerge, transformed in and by different cultures and new media. It is this seemingly endless flexibility and relevance that have given the graveyard its enduring position as a key Gothic locale, and which necessitates the cross-media and international approach that characterises this volume.

in Graveyard Gothic