The aim of this book is to make available a body of texts connected with the cultural phenomenon known as Gothic writing. The book includes many of the critical writings and reviews which helped to constitute Gothic as a distinct genre, by revisions of the standards of taste, by critique and by outright attack. Together, this material represents a substantial part of the discursive hinterland of Gothic. The chapters on supernaturalism, on the aesthetics of Gothic, and on opposition to Gothic contain a number of the standard references in any history of the genre. They are juxtaposed with other more novel items of journalism, religious propaganda, folk tradition, non-fictional narrative, poetry and so on. The book also includes chapters on the politics of Gothic, before and after the French Revolution. Therefore, it includes extracts from Tacitus and Montesquieu, the authorities that eighteenth-century commentators most often referred to. The story of Britain's Gothic origins, although implicitly progressivist, was to be re-fashioned in the cultural and sociological theories critical of modern society: that vital eighteenth-century trend known as primitivism. The book also broadly covers the period from the height of the Gothic vogue (in the mid-1790s) to the mid-nineteenth century. The author hopes that the book will encourage students to follow new routes, make new connections, and enable them to read set works on the syllabus in more adventurous and historically informed ways.
Supernatural elements constitute a significant dimension of Shakespeare's plays: ghosts haunt political spaces and internal psyches; witches foresee the future and disturb the present; fairies meddle with love; natural portents and dreams foreshadow events; and a magus conjures a tempest from the elements. These aspects contribute to the dramatic power and intrigue of the plays, whether they are treated in performance with irony, comedic effect or unsettling gravity. Although Shakespeare's plays were written and performed for early modern
Sermons and the supernatural in post-Reformation Scotland
Michelle D. Brock
light of the Gospell grew clear: and its ominous-like, that Devill is yet coming in some houses speaking, disputing; and if it be thus, it appears he has taken the musell off his mouth again; And o but this is a sad matter; for ye may read when the Lord departed from Saul, The Devill entered into him. 1
This sermon, though remarkable in some respects, typifies the ways in which we find Scottish ministers incorporating the supernatural into their sermons. Throughout, the true source of power, supernatural or otherwise, is God, who is both bearer of judgement
Witchcraft is in itself much more terrible in
its theatrical effect than the most absurd dogmas of religion;
that which is unknown, or created by supernatural intelligence,
awakens fear and terror to the highest degree: in every
religious system whatever, terror is carried only to a certain
Supernatural generation and the limits of power in Shakespeare’s
The maternal body was a site for the intersection of the natural and supernatural worlds in early modern England.
In part this was because ‘maternal and midwiving bodies delivered both ordinary, earthly matter and a miracle deserving of reverence.’
It was also attributable in part to the mysteries surrounding the maternal body's biology. Ruled by nature, divine in pattern, the generative body was ‘a site of imagination and contest
Gardens, religious tradition and ecoGothic exegesis in Algernon Blackwood’s ‘The Lost Valley’ and ‘The Transfer’
Christopher M. Scott
at the heart of Blackwood's supernatural landscapes.
Blackwood's characters are attracted to the horror in the supernaturally liminal space. In his Elegant Nightmares: The English Ghost Story from Le Fanu to Blackwood , Jack Sullivan focuses on Blackwood's characterisation, arguing that his characters are visionaries who seek unknown spaces and discover horror ( 1978 : 113). Sullivan also notes that Blackwood himself served as a pattern for his own characters: ‘What binds Blackwood's work together is a distinctive vision’ that unifies the
Divine destruction in Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay
context in which completion is conceptualised as
To begin to answer these questions, this chapter will
explore image-breaking in Robert Greene’s Friar Bacon and
Friar Bungay (first performed c. 1589), which presents an
instance of onstage iconoclasm in the supernatural destruction of a
demonic brazen head, a quasi-magical figure that had been
In Hamlet , Ophelia has nothing to do with the supernatural. She is not a witch, fairy or deity; nor does she return to life as a zombie or a ghost for revenge, in spite of the mistreatment and injustice she suffered in life. But in her afterlives in Japanese popular culture Ophelia has metamorphosed into a supernatural woman in various forms, such as a powerful sea goddess, a guardian of the tree of life and a grim reaper. This chapter explores these various afterlives, and contextualises Ophelia's metamorphosis from an innocent victim
"The Pest House," "Hell House," and "The Murder House"
Julia M. Wright
medical doctor who insists on reason and empiricism is a case in point:
Ben exemplifies a kind of Enlightenment modernity that is doomed to fail
before the pre-modern truth of the supernatural and the Catholic
While Enlightenment historiography imagines, like its
later manifestation in Darwin’s theory of evolution, steady
progress and improvement across time, this optimistic view of history
Representing the supernatural in film adaptations of A Midsummer
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of the most often-performed Shakespeare plays, and one of his most popular comedies.
It is also a favourite of film directors, with a number of adaptations made since its first known appearance on the silver screen in 1909.
The play's popularity is due in no small part to the supernatural elements in the play, and more particularly the supernatural beings that populate it – the