This Introduction by John Whatley to ‘Gothic Cults and Gothic Cultures 2: Historical Gothic’, his second issue as guest editor of Gothic Studies, begins with a brief summary of some of the conclusions found in Gothic Studies 4/2, and goes on to explain how the seven new articles in 5/1 explore the relations between Gothic cults and cultures in their historical dimensions. The articles illustrate how threats posed by conspiratorial groups of the Gothic past were responsible for the infiltration of the spectral and uncanny into everyday life, so the fear of dangerous ideas and conspiracies figures in the apparitions and phantoms of Gothic culture. To help contextualise the articles, this Introduction outlines the shapes and origins of cults in the Gothic texts of the past, for example in religious sects and robber bands. A summary of each article then follows.
In Detective Writers in England, Christie claims a detective story is an escape from the realism of everyday life; however, her Poirot series represents anxieties about the conditions of modernity through the conventions, images, and tones of the classic Gothic, a genre well established as providing a balance between escapism and historical commentary (xiii). While the earlier Poirot texts juxtapose the trappings of the Gothic– séances, curses, ghosts– against a rational modern world and produce a comical effect when these conventions are revealed as staged, as the conditions of modernity weigh upon Christie, particularly during World War II, her Poirot texts take on an increasingly sinister quality in which history itself is coded in Gothic terms.
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.
Ordinary objects in Woolf and Beckett 135 6 Trauma and ordinary objects in Virginia Woolf and Samuel Beckett Yoshiki Tajiri Introduction: trauma and everyday life While trauma studies and everyday life studies may be deemed two of the most salient trends in literary studies since the 2000s, they do not often seem to intersect with each other.1 Current trauma studies began to flourish in the mid-1990s mainly through deconstructionists’ attempts to re-engage with history, though the notion of trauma itself was elaborated in psychiatry and psychoanalysis from
. The sacred The notion of the sacred is the core around which Peignot's writing, and indeed the practice of her life, takes shape. Her conception of the sacred is singular, drawn both from anthropological research and from surrealist ideas of the marvellous, but above all from the experience of her own life. Her main notes on the theme comprise a short text she wrote in response to ‘The Sacred in Everyday Life’, the article Michel Leiris wrote as his contribution to the founding of the College of Sociology in 1936, although consideration of the
such critical examination and for such thinking, within the ‘aesthetic’ realm of theatre that insists on its autonomy from the demands and imperatives of everyday life and its underlying hegemonic ideologies and discourses. From this autonomous examination through play, Regie propels theatre, the art of cultural traditions and memories of the past, back into a present and forward into the future. Around Hegel’s time, it was a present dominated by the empirical regime of natural sciences and the formal reasoning of logic; our present is governed by the pervasive
especially relating to everyday life, as the traditional separation of the spheres of production and reproduction along gender lines is radically shaken: images of career women and new fathers, alternative modes of family organisation and single parenting, mark the way towards a new – post-feminist? post-patriarchal? – culture. Neo-gothicism reflects the feminine dimensions of the ongoing cultural and
4 Material witness History, belief, and the theatre of enactment Russia’s twenty-first-century documentary theatre artists draw upon the legacy of their country’s twentieth century in their search for new methods with which to stage collisions between theatre and everyday life. Chapter 2 illustrated how the artists of the Joseph Beuys Theatre and Moscow’s Sakharov Center use documentary theatre to make meaningful interventions in Russia’s culture of commemoration. Chapter 3 showed how the artists at Teatr.doc draw out important connections between the
rural to urban society and the decline in the importance of the Catholic Church in everyday life. McGahern reveals what it was like to make love and have sex in Ireland during the shift from a Catholic culture of selfdenial to a modern, urban, cosmopolitan culture of self-fulfilment and self-indulgence. love and sex 111 It is possible to think of McGahern as one of the major chroniclers of cultural change in twentieth-century Ireland. However, while he accepted this description of himself, he emphasised that he was not trying to give an objective, detached
13 Character, community and critical nostalgia: Love and Summer Heidi Hansson William Trevor’s novel Love and Summer (2009) is a lyrical, evocative story of the emotional turbulence that lies underneath the surface of everyday life in a small Irish town in the 1950s. Initially, the reader is told that ‘Nothing happened in Rathmoye, its people said’, only to be informed immediately afterwards that the fact that ‘nothing happened was an exaggeration too’ (3).1 The tension between the inner turmoil of the characters and a paralysed environment where nothing seems