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Jodey Castricano

In Shirley Jackson‘s novel The Haunting of Hill House, the tropes of haunting, telepathy, and clairvoyance serve to remind us that there is more to alterity than the shattering of the autos. In Jackson‘s novel, these tropes lead us to reconsider what we mean by subjectivity for, beyond the question of consciousness, they also destabilize what Sonu Shamdasani refers to as the “singular notion of the ‘unconscious’ that has dominated twentieth century thought,” especially via Freudian psychoanalysis. By drawing upon Carl Jung‘s theory of synchronicity in relation to quantum theory, this paper argues that Jackson‘s novel challenges certain classical models of human consciousness and subjectivity as well as psychoanalytic models of interpretation.

Gothic Studies
Open Access (free)
Intimacy, Shame, and the Closet in James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room
Monica B. Pearl

This essay’s close interrogation of James Baldwin’s 1956 novel Giovanni’s Room allows us to see one aspect of how sexual shame functions: it shows how shame exposes anxiety not only about the feminizing force of homosexuality, but about how being the object of the gaze is feminizing—and therefore shameful. It also shows that the paradigm of the closet is not the metaphor of privacy and enclosure on one hand and openness and liberation on the other that it is commonly thought to be, but instead is a site of illusory control over whether one is available to be seen and therefore humiliated by being feminized. Further, the essay reveals the paradox of denial, where one must first know the thing that is at the same time being disavowed or denied. The narrative requirements of fictions such as Giovanni’s Room demonstrate this, as it requires that the narrator both know, in order to narrate, and not know something at the same time.

James Baldwin Review
or, The Self-Possessed Child
Steven Bruhm

The late twentieth century is fascinated by the phenomenon of the gothic child, the child who manifests evil, violence, and sexual aggression. On the face of it, this evil is “caused” by either medical or social factors: medicinal drugs, radiation, or the corrupting influences,of political others. However, this essay argues that the gothic child actually arises from conflicting forces of child-philosophies, the intersection of Romantic childhood innocence with Freudian depth models. These models tacitly point to a child that “is” rather than “is,made”, a child that belies contemporary parental attempts to make it be otherwise. Moreover, the idea that the child is somehow immune to parental influence – that it is self-possessed rather than possessed by another – extends to the current notion of,the “inner child”, that “self” who is the seat of identity and coherence. Because of this, the gothic as often fantasizes the killing of the “child within” as it revels in killing the child without.

Gothic Studies
Sibling Rivalry in Elizabeth Gaskell‘s The Old Nurse‘s Story
David Galef

Elizabeth Gaskell s The Old Nurse s Story (1852) occupies a shadowy middle ground between Gothic tale and case history. Concerning sibling rivalry and parental abuse recollected from the vantage of old age, it is both a ghost story and a narrative of maternal absence, paternal domination, transference, and the return of the repressed. Using both psychoanalysis and Gothic genre criticism, this essay traces, in miniature, the Victorian movement from spirits to sexual psychology.

Gothic Studies
Sylvia Plath‘s Gothic
Gina Wisker

Wisker argues that Plath‘s domestic Gothic exposes the duplicities of womens roles and the surprising paradoxes of fear and love, Otherness and self in representations of mothering and marriage. Using Freud‘s notion of the ‘uncanny’ Wisker suggests that Plath‘s poems defamiliarise the familiar roles and expectations of womens lives. Above all Plath exposes the dangers of complacency and the losses that come with the acceptance of a limited (patriarchal) worldview.

Gothic Studies
Michael Eberle-Sinatra

In his analysis of the evolution of sexuality in society in Making Sexual History, Jeffrey Weeks comments that, following a series of major challenges throughout the twentieth century (ranging from Freud‘s work to the challenges of feminism and queer politics), ‘sexuality becomes a source of meaning, of social and political placing, and of individual sense of self ’. This special issue of Gothic Studies intends to foster further research on the topic of queer sexuality. This is research which has already been underway for some time but it has not always been interdisciplinary in nature, as is the case for these five articles, in their discussion of theatre, cinema, and literature or literary conventions borrowed from Gothic novels.

Gothic Studies
An Analytic of the Uncanny
Kathy Justice Gentile

In a footnote to his 1919 essay, ‘The Uncanny’ (‘Das Unheimliche’), Freud perfunctorily reports a strange encounter with himself. While he was traveling by train, a mirrored door in his compartment swung open, whereupon Freud was confronted with a distasteful-looking stranger intruding into his private space, a stranger whom he momentarily recognized as a reflection of himself.2 If we use Freud‘s own analysis in ‘The Uncanny’, derived from Otto Rank‘s work on the double, the power of this disconcerting episode could be attributed to the adult fear of the double, transmogrified from the animistic or childhood projection of a friendly double, another self who served as a protection against danger or death, into a fearful emblem of ones own mortality in the more repressed adult mind.3 That is, in our early state of primary narcissism we familiarize the strange world around us by projecting outward versions of ourselves; however, as adults who have discovered that we are not the source of all being, the unexpected appearance of an alternate self is initially frightening and unrecognizable. Freuds initial impression of himself as an alien intruder is uncanny because the scene is suffused with a supernatural aura and recalls him to a primary narcissistic fear. A double is a distorted version of a being already in existence, thus engendering the fear that the double is the real, original self who has come to take our place. Or, as Françoise Meltzer has noted, ‘the double entails the seeing of self as other, and thus forces the admission of mortality’ (229). Unexpected sightings of doubles in adulthood also confirm the validity of the sensation evoked by the super-ego which oversees and watches the self as it engages in worldly transactions. Seeing double may support the paranoid suspicion that an individual is actually two people, one divided against the other. As Rank demonstrates in his study, the double, as an emblem,of the soul, carries both a positive and negative valence. On the one hand our existence is confirmed by seeking reflections, versions of ourselves in mirrors, photographs, offspring, etc., yet if we are taken unawares by a double, we quail from it as a supernatural visitant. Thus the unsolicited sighting of a double, an embodiment of unsurmounted supernaturalism, marks the eruption of the uncanny into everyday life.

Gothic Studies
Professional Integrity in Peril at the Fin de Siècle
Debbie Harrison

This essay positions the drug-using doctor at the intersection between traditional Gothic horror and a new fin-de-siècle medical realism, embedding the cultural anxieties at the fin de siècle in relation to the ethical and theological boundaries of scientific knowledge. The objective is to provide a framework for reading and interpreting the medico-gothic narrative of addiction. The essay examines the writings of three pioneering physician-scientists: one historical – Sigmund Freud – and two fictional – Dr Jekyll, in Robert Louis Stevenson‘s Strange Case of DrJekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), and Dr Seward in Bram Stoker‘s Dracula (1897).

Gothic Studies
Mason Harris

The Island of Doctor Moreau is the most Gothic of all Wells‘s scientific romances. Wells generates Gothic atmosphere by playing the positions of the opposing sides in the late-Victorian vivisection controversy against each other, making both seem true at the same time. In its use of the agony of vivisection as a metaphor both for biological evolution and socialization, this story reveals a physical disgust associated with the process of evolution itself, the full implications of which the characters will not acknowledge. The scientific objectivity championed by Moreau attempts to suppress the psychological problems implicit in the concept of animal inheritance, which would later be explored in Freud‘s metapsychology. Prendick, the narrator, cannot resolve his ambivalence both toward Moreau and his grotesque products, the Beast People. Prendick‘s uncertainty becomes the final horror of the story. Usually Wells‘s fantasy supports a scientific world-view, but here his normative, scientifically-minded narrator falls apart in a story which gives the true voice of science to a Gothic dominator.

Gothic Studies
Open Access (free)
Brad Evans

destructive. While we can agree with Nietzsche that nihilism is a motor of modern history, it is a mistake to see it in purely negative terms. One of the greatest myths about contemporary violence is still connected to rather old psycho-analytical insights concerning fatalism and the egotistical downfall of the deluded man. Freud’s notion of the death drive in many ways is integral to the de-legitimation of the violence we do not like on account of its negation of human existence ( Freud, 1991 ). Of course, it is necessary to understand the psychic life of violence, and to

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs