Marryat’s involvement with the Lower Canada Rebellion situated his encounter with
civil war at its ‘most exterminating’ within the production of
Phantom, the Cycle’s least conventional historical sea novel;
it offered both a point of imaginative recursion and a concentrated image of his
broader critique of the Early Republic. Just as the seamen of Midshipman
Easy or The Naval Officer operate within multiple
hierarchies at once, Marryat’s strangest yarn, replete with ghost ships and
werewolves, operates across multiple genres and cultural formations. The common
denominator for both the writer and the written in this case is multivalence –
the ship that is both ship and ghost, the woman who is both mother and wolf,
their writer who is both ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’, witness and contriver – but
in this, Marryat the writer performs the same essential functions as imperial
agents and colonial ‘factors’ do within Phantom: adjudication,
translation, and open-ended transformation.
Older than America (2008), by Georgina Lightning (Cree), and
Imprint (2007), directed by Michael Linn, who is non-Native,
but who worked with producer Chris Eyre (Cheyenne/Arapaho), both use and revise
Gothic elements to explore Indigenous history and contemporary issues. Both
films use various Gothic elements to draw non-Native audiences into
Native-centered movies that deal with Indigenous history and culture.
Older than America simultaneously works to promote healing as
well as addresses difficult but underrepresented history, while
Imprint only uses Native history as a plot device and does not
engage with setting, history, or trauma in effective or complex ways.
This essay proposes that a number of the concerns expressed in
Dracula can be read through Bram Stoker’s employment of the
imagery of precious metals and jewels. Focusing on the materiality of place –
the treasure-laced landscape of Transylvania and the cliffs of Whitby famous for
their reserves of jet – and the association between these materials and
vampirism, I argue that analysing the symbolism of precious materials leads to a
fuller understanding of many of the novel’s key anxieties. Not only does this
analysis demonstrate Stoker’s elaborate use of jewel imagery in developing the
notion of the female vampire as a hard, penetrative woman, it identifies the
imperial implications of the trade in precious materials. In doing so, it claims
that Stoker employs a ‘language of jewels’ in Dracula, through
which he critiques the imperialistic plundering of Eastern lands, and
demonstrates how these monsters – intimately entwined with these materials –
attempt a rejection of Western appropriation.
This article considers the allusions to classical statuary in Matthew G. Lewis’s
novel The Monk (1796) and his Journal of a West India
Proprietor Kept during a Residence in the Island of Jamaica (1816).
Drawing on John Barrell’s account of civic discourse on the fine arts after
Shaftesbury, I explain and contextualise the centrality of the Venus de’ Medici
statue to Lewis’s representations of male desire and male virtue. Images of
Venus, both in The Monk and in the Journal,
function as tests of civic virtue and articulate the conditions of Lewis’s
entitlement to hold and govern slaves in Jamaica. Lewis’s colonial inheritance
underpins the narratives of desire in The Monk, and inflects
his authorship more generally.
Averageness, Populism and Seriality in Robert Benchley‘s How to Short
Over the course of the 1930s, the comic persona of Algonquin humorist Robert Benchley
changed from that of a sophisticated humorist to an average man. This article
situates Benchley‘s How to short subjects for MGM (1935–44) within a broader public
preoccupation with averageness that characterised the populist political rhetoric of
New Deal-era America. In particular, it explores the function of seriality as a
discursive trope conjoining the format of Benchley‘s MGM shorts to the broader
construction of average identities in the eras political culture.
Seriality, Shortness and Dream of the Rarebit Fiend
This article explores the transmedial seriality of Winsor McCay‘s newspaper comic
strip Dream of the Rarebit Fiend (1904–24), tracking the narratives evolution from
comic to trick film (Edwin S. Porter‘s The Dream of a Rarebit Fiend, 1906) and
animation (McCays own Bug Vaudeville, 1921). In contrast to large parts of the
critical response to McCay‘s work, this article does not fore ground the subversive
and disruptive dimension of the Rarebit narratives. Instead, it reads both the
graphic and filmic narratives as integral parts of the larger serialised culture of
modernity, and as attempts to chart this reality, in order to make it navigable.
This article explores the serial dynamics behind and within the succession of B-films
Columbia Pictures developed from the popular CBS radio programme The Whistler. It
examines how this anthology series developed within Columbias on going strategy of
low-budget production, while responding to specfiic industrial challenges facing
1940s B-films. Besides looking at broader synergies between radio and cinema during
this period, the article also qualies the tendency to categorise the Whistler movies
as films noir, suggesting it is more productive to view them as products of a broader
pulp serialscape that is shaped by alternative cultural and industrial logics.
This article proposes a nautical perspective as a new branch for Lovecraft studies. To
achieve this, I analyse the irruption of monsters from sublime ocean depths in three sea
stories of the author: Dagon, The Call of Cthulhu and The Shadow over Innsmouth.
Lovecrafts particular method draws on the legacy left by Edgar Allan Poe in relation to
horrors at the sea and by Arthur Machen and Algernon Blackwood in terms of presenting
nature as the origin of undefeatable horrors. His style results in what I propose to call
Lovecraft‘s nautical Gothic. In it, the arrival of monstrous sea entities horrifies his
protagonists who, because of their encounters, must accept the minor role of humanity in
the vastness of the natural order.
John Hughes Family Films and Seriality in 1990s Hollywood
This article explores serial production strategies and textual seriality in
Hollywood cinema during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Focusing on John Hughes‘ high
concept family comedies, it examines how Hughes exploited the commercial
opportunities offered by serial approaches to both production and film narrative.
This article first considers why Hughes‘ production set-up enabled him to standardise
his movies and respond quickly to audience demand. The analysis then explores how the
Home Alone films (1990–97), Dennis the Menace (1993) and Baby‘s Day Out (1994)
balanced demands for textual repetition and novelty.