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Becoming-Fungus in Arthur Machen‘s The Hill of Dreams
Anthony Camara

This paper examines the role fungi play in Arthur Machen‘s Decadent classic The Hill of Dreams (1907), a supernatural novel written in the 1890s. Ostensibly an idiosyncratic topic, the novels concern with these organisms devolves on an inquiry into the nature of life itself, of whether it is the result of a spiritual life-force or a haphazard assemblage of matter. In this way, Machen‘s novel participates in the fin de siècle debates between vitalism and materialism. Rather than attempting to resolve this debate, the novel seizes on tensions inherent in fungal life in order to dissolve the concept of life altogether, to suggest its horrifying unreality.

Gothic Studies
Frankenstein as a Gothic Narrative of Carnivorism
Jackson Petsche

In this essay I argue that Frankenstein‘s monster, as a being constructed, in part, from nonhuman animal remains obtained from slaughterhouses, is literally a bizarre by-product of meat-eating. Frankensteins monster is a ‘monster’ because he is meat that was not consumed and brought back to life. What was intended for the human table comes to life and threatens the social order. The fact that the monster is a vegetarian thus becomes essential for an understanding of Shelley‘s novel. The Gothic narrative of Frankenstein is not one of a supernatural nature; rather the Gothic narrative within the text is the one that confronts the seemingly natural system of carnivorism.

Gothic Studies
The Marvel Films‘ Loki as Gothic Antagonist
Alice Nuttall

This paper explores the role and function of the Marvel film‘s Loki as a Gothic antagonist. Loki‘s characterisation incorporates several Gothic themes. As a shapeshifter, he corresponds with the idea of the unstable and fragmented body, also found in Gothic texts dealing with supernatural transformations. By breaking down the barriers between the realms of Asgard, Earth and Jotunheim, Loki engages with tropes surrounding Gothic space, where borders and boundaries are permeable. Finally, Loki is Othered by his association with the feminine and queer Gothic, something that ultimately leads to another common Gothic theme, that of madness.

Gothic Studies
Evil, Privation and the Absent Logos in Richard Marsh‘s The Beetle
Simon Marsden

This essay explores the influence of the theological tradition of privation theory upon Richard Marsh‘s novel The Beetle (1897). Focusing on images of ontological nothingness, corruption and uncreation, it argues that the novel employs the concept of privation both in its depiction of the supernatural Other and in its parallel interrogation of its contemporary modernity. Imagery of privation in the novel is associated not only with the Beetle itself, but with the modern urban environment and weapons of mass destruction. The essay concludes by examining the corruption of language and absence of a creative logos able to respond adequately to the privations of the modern city and industrial economy.

Gothic Studies
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South East Asian Womens Postcolonial Gothic
Gina Wisker

Fantasy and the supernatural are everyday expressions of the imaginative experiences of Malaysian and Singaporean women writers who use the Gothic to explore and expose the contradictions within their societies, constraints upon peoples lives, and most specifically, womens roles. In tales of wealthy families and their bondmaids, growing up, investment, education, marriages, the supernatural and fantasy run everywhere alongside realistic factual accounts to critique contradictions, and highlight little ironies, some of which have been generated by or supported by the,colonial presence, and some of which emanate from their own cultural traditions. Many cultural and individual contradictions are generated by recognition of the need to simultaneously maintain what is valuable in tradition, benefit from what was brought by colonialism, and move on to create new ways of being. Through the gaps and fissures of colonial homes and those of grand Chinese or Malay families leak tales of repression and silencing legitimated by cultural, economic and gendered differences. The repressed return, as they do in all good Gothic tales, to bring cultural and personal discrepancies to the notice of the living.

Gothic Studies
Post-9/11 Horror and the Gothic Clash of Civilisations
Kevin J. Wetmore

Twentieth century cinema involving monster conflict featured solitary monsters in combat (Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, for example). The writing of Anne Rice and the RPG Vampire: The Masquerade by White Wolf Games introduced the idea of Gothic communities and civilisations in conflict. It was not until after the terror attacks of 11 September that the idea of a clash of civilisations between supernatural societies fully emerged into the mainstream of popular culture. This essay explores the construction of a clash of civilisations between supernatural communities as a form of using the Gothic as a metaphor for contemporary terrorism in film and television series such as Underworld, Twilight, True Blood and The Vampire Diaries. Inevitably, it is the lycanthropes that are the disempowered and disenfranchised society and are alternately exploited by and rebel against the dominant vampire civilisation grown decadent and on the verge of collapse. Post-9/11 Gothic posits a world in which vampire society is the new normal, and werewolves represent a hidden danger within. Lycanthropes must be controlled, profiled and/or fought and defeated. Through close readings of the cinematic and televisual texts, I explore the vampire/werewolf clash as metaphor and metonym for the war on terror.

Gothic Studies
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Epistemology and Revolution in Charles Brockden Brown‘s Wieland
David Smith

In Wieland, Charles Brockden Brown attempted to negotiate varying forces confronting contemporary American religious and political life. Through the transformation of the temple into a Gothic zone Brown injects questions of epistemological uncertainty, clashing forces of rational Enlightenment and supernatural faith. Brown outlines the religiously motivated founding of the nation reacting to European oppression as allegorical to the Wieland patriarchs journey from the Old to New World, and his construction of the temple demonstrates the establishment of new institutions in the American landscape. Religious liberty turns into extremism, producing Gothic violence that transforms the temple into a site of horror and destruction. His children attempt to re-transform the temple along rational Enlightenment lines much the same as Brown perceived the need for America to distance itself from its revolutionary and religious extremist origins. Yet the failure of rationalism to expunge the supernatural aura from the temple allows for the tragic events to transpire that comprise the bulk of the novel. Ultimately, Brown‘s Gothic novel evinces the critical nature of the epistemological clash he sees taking place for the direction America will take, and his concerns that Gothic violence will reverberate throughout future generations find their expression in Wieland‘s temple.

Gothic Studies
Anne Young

Chris Baldick and Robert Mighall have argued rather convincingly that ‘Gothic Criticism’ is in need of an overhaul. I revisit their controversial article through an analysis of Oscar Wilde’s parody of the Gothic and of scholarship, ‘The Portrait of Mr W. H.’ In this tale of creative criticism, Wilde’s hero, Cyril Graham, invents the character of Willie Hughes to prove a theory about Shakespeare’s sonnets. Contrary to Baldick and Mighall, I argue that Gothic criticism might do well to take its cue from its object of study. Plunging deep into the abyss, abandoning pretentions of knowing fact from fiction, natural from supernatural, I whole-heartedly - momentarily - consider the ‘Willie Hughes theory’ and ‘I will take up the theory where Cyril Graham left it and I will prove to the world that he was right’.

Gothic Studies
Exploring Nineteenth-Century Polar Gothic Space
Katherine Bowers

This article considers a unified polar Gothic as a way of examining texts set in Arctic and Antarctic space. Through analysis of Coleridge‘s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Shelleys Frankenstein, and Poe‘s The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket , the author creates a framework for understanding polar Gothic, which includes liminal space, the supernatural, the Gothic sublime, ghosts and apparitions, and imperial Gothic anxieties about the degradation of civilisation. Analysing Verne‘s scientific-adventure novel The Adventures of Captain Hatteras (1866) with this framework, the author contextualises the continued public interest in the lost Franklin expedition and reflects on nineteenth-century polar Gothic anxieties in the present day. Polar space creates an uncanny potential for seeing ones own self and examining what lies beneath the surface of ones own rational mind.

Gothic Studies
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Murderous Midwives and Homicidal Obstetricians
Diana Pérez Edelman

Ever since the publication of Frankenstein, the Gothic has been read as an expression of the fears associated with scientific, technological, and medical advances. This essay argues that obstetrical medicine, from midwifery to obstetrics, is the most Gothic of medical pursuits because of its blurring of boundaries between male and female, natural and supernatural, mechanical and organic, life and death. From subterraneous passages to monstrosity, the professionalization of obstetrics over the course of the eighteenth century and into the nineteenth reads like a Gothic novel. Tracing the parallels between the Gothic aesthetic and several fictional and quasifictional accounts of obstetrical ‘stories’ - from the Warming Pan Scandal of 1688 to the work of Scottish obstetrician William Smellie and man mid-wife William Hunter - this essay demonstrates the Gothic nature of reproductive pursuits.

Gothic Studies