Globes, englobing powers, and Blake's archaeologies of the present
Peter Otto considers of a series of creation scenes in Blake’s oeuvre that all feature a familiar image: a red disk. This image—variously, but also potentially simultaneously, a womb, head, pool, globe, and mirror—provides a pivot around which to organise the perspectival multiplicity that comprises Blake’s Bible of Hell. Using the trope of archeology as a way to think about how the past remains uncannily present in Blake’s moment and our own, Otto invites us to approach Blake spatially and graphically, in terms of constellations and arrangements, rather than sequentially and linearly. Blake’s images themselves ask us to consider phenomena along spatial axes, to traverse a field divided into quadrants, regions, and organs, and to take account of layers, superimpositions, and multiple ‘grounds’: foregrounds, middle-grounds, and backgrounds, as well as over- and undergrounds. Otto argues that for Blake the Gothic provided ‘a lexicon and iconography of elemental conflict and of powerful affect’.
Mark Lussier explores the field of subject formation from both Deluzian and Lacanian perspectives. ‘Shaped more than most by the erotic, esoteric, and exotic elements of Gothic symbolic’, Blake’s Marriage of Heaven and Hell and Visions of the Daughters of Albion explore how the unconscious ‘confront[s] the phallic order that animates patriarchy’, casting subject formation as a Gothic drama. For Lussier, both texts explore how subject formation involves a sort of wounding that the action of symbolisation—especially when that symbolisation is comprised of Gothic forms—can never entirely suture: what the eye sees and what the heart knows will remain always slightly askew, just as the Lacanian ‘I’ will never perfectly coincide with itself. Stressing the specific psychoanalytic terrain of female subjectivity, Lussier focuses most of his attention on Visions, a work in which Oothoon ‘endure[s] dual forms of objectification: her embodiment as an object of use (for the rapist Bromion) and as an object of exchange (for her ‘beloved’ Theotormon)’.
This chapter considers the presentations of adolescent female lycanthropes in fantasy fiction written after Neil Jordan's 1984 film, focusing specifically on texts in which a teenage female is both the central character and the intended reader. Gene Fowler Jr.'s I Was a Teenage Werewolf was released in 1957, and presented lycanthropy as related to the hormonally driven male adolescent body in a way that would be revisited by Rod Daniels in his 1985 comedy horror film, Teen Wolf. In the female werewolf young adult (YA) fiction of the early twenty-first century, it is rare to find lycanthropy explicitly associated with menarche, as it is in 'Boobs' and Ginger Snaps. The coincidence of the heroines' names in the Dark Divine and Wolves of Mercy Falls series has interesting implications for a consideration of female werewolves in YA fiction. The concept of 'grace' is an important aspect of characterisation in these novels.
In the robust and expanding field of Gothic studies, William Blake remains a spectral, marginal figure. Bundock and Effinger’s Introduction opens by exploring Blake’s prominence in contemporary Gothic art and culture, a fact made ironic given the relative dearth of scholarly work on Blake’s Gothic sensibility. Bundock and Effinger suggest how the Gothic as an historiographical, affective, and aesthetic concept might inform Blake in several substantial ways. The Introduction then expands in four directions. The first considers terror, horror, and the ‘Gothic body’ in Blake. The second considers the intersection of Blake and the Gothic in terms of visual art and iconography. The third surveys extant criticism on Blake and the Gothic to illustrate the hitherto missed opportunity this collection attempts to take. The fourth and final section is a ‘descriptive catalogue’ of the chapters that follow, offering summaries of each contribution and explaining the order of presentation.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book explores particular moments of the female werewolf narrative to reveal a variety of cultural assumptions, narrative tropes and putative archetypes of femaleness and femininity. It explains folkloric records of the island of Saaremaa, Estonia, a territory in which, unusually, there are more folktales of female werewolves than male. The book examines twenty-first-century young adult paranormal romance texts, considering the ways in which such texts associate lycanthropy with contemporary idealisations and constructions of the post-adolescent female. It also explores presentations of body-centred violence in film, drawing parallels between female werewolves and other violent females in horror cinema. The book examines cinematic representations of the femme animale with an exploration of how this conceptualisation of the feminine might inform a reading of Ginger Snaps.
Reading Blake’s art as less the product of a Gothic than of a ‘gothicising’ imagination, David Baulch argues that Blake’s conception of the Gothic as ‘Living Form’ interrupts logics of precedence, consequence, and causation more broadly, turning the sometimes conservative, regulative work of the Gothic inside out. In Baulch’s words, ‘[r]ecognising the political import in Living Form makes visible Blake’s dynamic conception of the Gothic, his most radical conception of being and its attendant potential for unprecedented difference’. Making this case means reconsidering Benjamin Heath Malkin’s influential though misleading representation of Blake as a Gothic artist, a representation that understands the Gothic as merely rustic, simple, anti-classical, and reactionary.
This chapter explores the content of a role-playing game (RPG) by White Wolf Publishing, one of the games in their World of Darkness series, and examines the role and presentation of the female werewolf within this game. It suggests that the corebook for Werewolf: The Apocalypse integrates tropes of femininity and femaleness into a construction of lycanthropy in a uniquely sustained and complex way. Apocalypse offers a counterpoint to the assumption of male identity in the form of the Black Furies, a tribe 'composed almost entirely of female Garou'. Regardless of individual story and character creation, the narratives of this particular RPG posit an undeniable relationship between werewolves and femininity that both draws on and subverts the tropes of each category. The trope of lycanthropic transformation being determined by lunar influence is, largely, a creation of twentieth-century cinema, with few earlier literary narratives making this specific connection.
Trials of she-werewolves in early modern French Burgundy
This chapter provides an analysis of the early modern Burgundian werewolf trials. It focuses on contemporaneous ecclesiastical and political circumstance to explain the relative frequency with which female werewolves were accused and tried in this particular area of France. The brutal killing of Perrenette Gandillon as a supposed she-werewolf is indicative of the atmosphere in the mountains of Franche-Comté, a territory in Burgundy, France. The werewolf panics and the comparatively large numbers of werewolf trials in Franche-Comté represent a relatively unique phenomenon in Europe, with the exception of Latvia and Estonia. The werewolf trials began in 1521, with the death sentences for heresy pronounced by the Inquisition courts, and ended in 1663 with acquittals before secular courts. The concept of the werewolf nevertheless remained particularly alive in the inaccessible regions of the Jura, where several cases of alleged lycanthropy came before the courts.
This book explores the cultural history of the female werewolf, from her first appearance in medieval literature to recent incarnations in film, television and popular literature. It focuses on folkloric records of the island of Saaremaa, Estonia, a territory in which, unusually, there are more folktales of female werewolves than male. The book also explores tropes and strategies of feminisation evident in Werewolf: The Apocalypse to reveal an almost unique disavowal of the masculine werewolf in favour of traditions of presenting the female werewolf. The examination of Honoré Beaugrand's 'The Werewolves' offers fruitful discussion of the female werewolf's integration into colonial discourse and narrative. In the nineteenth century, at the fin de siècle, female authors began to produce fiction about the female werewolf. Two of the most interesting examples of this, which have been curiously neglected by critics, are Clemence Housman's novella The Werewolf and Rosamund Marriott Watson's poem 'A Ballad of the Were-wolf', written under the pseudonym Graham R. Tomson and published in 1891. Then, the book examines twenty-first-century young adult paranormal romance texts, considering the ways in which such texts associate lycanthropy with contemporary idealisations and constructions of the post-adolescent female. It explores presentations of body-centred violence in film, drawing parallels between female werewolves and other violent females in horror cinema. Finally, the book also examines cinematic representations of the femme animale with an exploration of how this conceptualisation of the feminine might inform a reading of Ginger Snaps.
This chapter identifies some of the cinematic strategies for the visual presentation of the female werewolf. It considers the issue of female violence as it relates to this particular horror monster in terms both of agency and of representation. The chapter focuses on some basic, even mundane, questions that often get overlooked in more straightforwardly ideological analysis, namely 'what does a female werewolf look like?' and 'what does it do?' It is the chapter's contention that a film's posing of, and attempts to answer, such questions informs and shapes both narration and style, and an appreciation of such elements can feed back into and ultimately bring nuance to more ideology-based readings. Horror cinema's female werewolf emerges from this as both more complex and more variegated in her various manifestations than has sometimes been allowed by horror criticism.