Palmer discusses Caeia March‘s Between The Worlds (1996) and Sarah Walter‘s Affinity (1999). Palmer argues that writers of lesbian fiction are drawn to the Gothic because it is a form which has traditionally given space to the representation of transgressive sexualities. The Gothic is also a vehicle through which the interrogation and problematising of mainstream versions of reality and so-called ‘normal’ values is made possible. Palmer argues that these novels parodically rework the grotesque portrayal of character, which is familiar from mainstream Gothic fiction and film, and in doing so they challenge and resignify the category of the abject to which lesbians and gay men are conventionally relegated.
Horner and Zlosnik explore the work of the English novelist Barbara Comyns whose best-known works were published between 1950 and 1985. They focus on The Vet‘s Daughter (1959) and The Skin Chairs (1962) and explore how Comyns‘s use of parody, wit, and humour exposes the horrors of domestic life. For Horner and Zlosnik this constitutes a Female Comic Gothic which is grotesque and blackly comic in its critical assault on patriarchal plots, and so constitutes a particular form of the Female Gothic which became popular in the twentieth century.
The papers in this volume consider Gothic Ex/Changes, a concept at the heart of the essentially hybrid mode of Gothic, which constantly challenges prevailing orthodoxies. Papers foreground the confusion of boundaries and definitions of the human. A number take this examination of the hybrid into the realm of form and genre, including music and historiography. The analysis of Gothic in the collection demonstrates the way in which Gothic criticism has extended the subversive role of Gothic texts into the academy. It might be that as part of the ongoing process of change and exchange with a range of theoretical approaches, we are entering the period of ‘postGothic studies.’
This essay proposes that the polyphonic and transgressive aspects of Gothic forms are influenced by music. It examines formal connections between the sonnets of Sturm und Drang poet, Friedrich Hölderlin, their musical setting by Benjamin Britten, and Susan Hill‘s novel The Bird of Night, arguing that Hill and Britten have, in common, processes of writing or musical composition which mix together disparate discursive or musical components. These inter-genre borrowings suggest that the sound and compositional practices of certain types of music allow for the expression of tensions, dualities, transformations and extreme states of mind which the Gothic novel has developed its own tropes to express.
In The Arcades Project, Benjamin explores the different aspects of nineteenth-century culture, in search of a historical reality to which people can awake in a revelatory act of political consciousness. However, the uncanny effects of his archival approach impinge on this revelatory and sublime process. Rather than revealing the political, economic, and technological latent content of the past, representations of the material object confront consciousness with the unfamiliar and abject forms of the repressed collective unconscious. The Gothic tropes of Benjamin‘s text are the traces of the melancholy haunting his concept of a demystifying revelation of historical and material truth.
Poppy Z. Brite, Courtney Love and Gothic Biography
Gothic horror author Poppy Z. Brite wrote a biography of former Hole singer Courtney Love in 1997. What seemed an odd departure for the former actually took advantage of the Gothic valences in the latter‘s life and depictions in popular culture. The narrative gothicises Love‘s story while simultaneously repudiating and relying on Goth subculture for some of its legitimacy. This articulation of gothic literary form with Goth popular culture constitutes one traversal of Brite‘s text. Using concepts from Deleuze and Guattaris work, the essays reading of Courtney Love‘s biography is one plateau among others in an ongoing study of what I call ‘minoritarian gothic’ in popular and literary culture.
This paper examines Gothic traditions across the survival horror videogame series Silent Hill. Considering Gothic dimensions of the videogame medium, then Gothic themes in survival horror videogames, the paper proceeds to explore Silent Hills narrative aesthetics and gameplay in relation to the Gothic. Considerations include: the intrusion of sinister alternative worlds, fragmented narrative forms, a sense of the past impinging upon the present, and the psychoanalytic dimensions of the series. Throughout this paper attention will be paid to ways in which Gothic themes resonate with or are transformed according to the dictates of the videogame medium.
Critical approaches to Gothic origins usually bear on theme and ideology rather than on textuality. This article argues both that by the side of thematic issues we must carefully examine the forms of Gothic and that, beyond the literary and philosophical, the folk sources of Gothic remain to be acknowledged. Making use of tools familiar to mythographer and folklorist, textual analysis of a passage from the 1831 edition of Mary Shelley‘s Frankenstein reveals this novel is built on the traditional narrative structure of the heroic quest; while Victor‘s tragic destiny is shown to result from a deliberate manipulation of traditional patterns.
Catholicism as System in Charles Maturin‘s Melmoth the Wanderer
Dermot A. Ryan
This essay casts a new light on the anti-Catholicism of Charles Robert Maturin‘s gothic novel Melmoth the Wanderer by reading it as part of a larger assault on systems in the wake of the French Revolution. Maturin‘s attack on the stupendous system of Catholicism contributes to a broader conservative polemic against all forms of international governance. Melmoth the Wanderer‘s portrait of the Church offers us an early instance of modern conservatisms archnemesis: an international system that conspires to rule the world.
Manliness and Mesmerism in Richard Marsh‘s The
Through an analysis of Richard Marsh‘s The Beetle (1897), this article explores a link
between the practice of mesmerism and Victorian insecurities about the state of
masculinity. It argues that The Beetle attempts– through the characterisation of mesmeric
power as a dangerous virile energy and suggestibility to trance as effeminate and
degenerate– to make a clear but highly unstable distinction between ideal and deviant
forms of masculinity. In the process, Marsh‘s novel illuminates a complex relationship
between the permeability of mind, body, and nation that paradoxically serves to both
uphold and undermine the virility of the British male subject.