This article proposes that the popularly held model of ‘Gothic’ writings emergence in the Eighteenth Century is too partial: it tends to privilege prose fiction written in England in the latter part of the century. As a corrective, the article looks at poetry written in Scotland across the century, seeking not origins for ‘the Gothic’ as a transhistorical literary mode of expression, but emergent treatments of the supernatural that fed back into the literature of the period. It argues that poetry in eighteenth-century Scotland develops well-established indigenous supernatural tropes, especially that of the ‘ghaist’ or ghost.
James Robertson‘s well-deserved reputation as a historical novelist has obscured the role that the Gothic plays in his work. Manifesting itself in distinctively Scottish fashion, Robertson‘s Gothicism is tied to the ‘broader national culture’ in general and to post-devolutionary Scotland in particular. Not only does his transformation of the Gothic into the historical novels uncanny other resist the modern novels tendency towards increasing privatisation. It also results in work that diverges from much post-devolutionary Scottish fiction in that his stories and novels are, by virtue of the density of their Scottishness, deeply connected to the local and to folk culture.
This short essay draws on research undertaken by the curator of the Scottish Screen
Archive on the few surviving films credited to Greens Film Service of Glasgow in the
teens and twenties. The research revealed a dynamic family business, born out of the
travelling cinematograph shows of the late nineteenth century, growing to assume a
dominant role in the Scottish cinema trade in the silent era, across exhibition,
distribution and production. One small part of a lost film history waiting for
rediscovery – early cinema in Scotland.
Published in 1795, John Palmer, Jun.’s The Haunted Cavern: A Caledonian
Tale is a historical Gothic romance that expresses certain unease with
the growth of British imperialism at the end of the eighteenth century. In this
text, Palmer explores the impact of empire on the colonialized other as well as
demonstrating the hypocrisy and abuse of certain imperial practices. With the
plot set during the end of the War of the Roses, The Haunted
Cavern juxtaposes medieval England as the imperial power with France
and Scotland illustrated as the colonialized victims. This article examines the
tension towards empire found in The Haunted Cavern which helps
clarify the commercialized Gothic romance’s function as a subversive medium
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
Glasgow Corporation had been sponsoring films for almost twenty years when in 1938
its Public Health Department commissioned seven silent films. This marked new
relations between the Corporation and the emerging Scottish documentary film movement
and a change of approach towards the films’ audiences and the city itself. The essay
traces the Corporation‘s film sponsorship from the late 1930s to 1978 when the final
images of Glasgow‘s Progress, the Corporation‘s last sponsored film - on its urban
renewal projects were taken. By then the Corporation had been amalgamated into
Strathclyde Regional Council, the century-long social project of reform had come to
an end and television had made its own documentary impact. It argues that over time
Corporation films served a variety of political and institutional purposes and often
prefigured the fortunes of the city and its people.
Middle-Aged Syrian Women’s Contributions to Family Livelihoods
during Protracted Displacement in Jordan
Dina Sidhva, Ann-Christin Zuntz, Ruba al Akash, Ayat Nashwan, and Areej Al-Majali
at the income-generating activities that our
interlocutors engage in during the (literal or perceived) absence of their husbands.
The fourth section asks how middle-aged women juggle their economic roles with more
traditional duties as matchmakers, grandmothers and mothers-in-law.
Methodology and Study Participants
This project was funded by the Scottish Funding Council’s (SFC) Global
Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Internal Pump Priming Fund at the
This article examines Denise Mina‘s treatment of Scottish identity and the gothic tradition in her run on Hellblazer, an American horror comic about an English occultist, John Constantine. Mina takes Constantine to Glasgow to confront the deadly “empathy plague” which forces victims to emphasise with others. Mina argues that the Scots revel in the misery of others, making them easy victims for this malady. However, this failing becomes a means for victory, as everyone is united in an outpouring of shameful joy at the story‘s conclusion. Mina‘s Scotland is a home away from home for Constantine – haunted, embittered and lost – and her image of Scotland mirrors representations seen in other Scottish Gothic texts.
Cruelty, Darkness and the Body in Janice Galloway, Alison Kennedy and Louise Welsh
This essay seeks to define a Gothic tendency in the ‘viscerality’ of some recent and prominent Scottish women writers: Janice Galloway, Alison Kennedy and Louise Welsh. The argument addresses an alienating tension in this ‘viscerality’ between a fabular form and the impression of a new realism of social surfaces. This is a Gothic of cruelty and violent representation of the body, which opens a Scottish urban culture, portrayed as a synecdoche for divided consciousness, to fables of sexual and political alienation.
The journey North is a recurrent motif throughout the Gothic literary tradition, often representing a journey back in time to a more primitive location where conventional rules do not apply. Within the context of contemporary Scottish Gothic this journey continues to involve a temporal regression. The North of Scotland, and specifically the Highlands, is still a Gothic location, allowing for an interrogation of the homogenising notion of ‘national identity’. In this article the journey North is explored in the work of contemporary writers and film directors including Iain Banks, Alan Warner, David Mackenzie, and Neil Marshall.