This article examines the effects of distracted sight, peripheral objects and hazily-perceived images in the ghost stories of M. R. James. It argues that the uncanny illumination produced by the accidental glance in his tales bears affinity with many Gothic narratives, including those of E. T. A. Hoffmann and Margaret Oliphant. James‘s work has often solicited only a casual look from critics, yet his exploration of the haunted edge of vision not only grants his work a hitherto neglected complexity, but also places him firmly within the Gothic tradition.
Unlike Romantic authorship, the Gothic author has long been identified with unoriginality. A foundational moment in this association can be found in the reception of the original Gothic plagiarist, Matthew Lewis. Critics not only condemned Lewis for apparently usurping other authors property in The Castle Spectre but also did so by casting him as his own usurping villain. This parallel between Gothic conventions and critical language suggests that the Gothic might have played a crucial role in the history of our concepts of intellectual property, and particularly in the development of the now-familiar figure of the criminalized, and vilified, plagiarist.
This essay examines The Lair of the White Worms cultural logic, its mobilization of that dense network of specific historical references - to mesmerism, physiognomy, alienism, degeneration, and theories of race - which underlies so much of Bram Stoker‘s output. It is argued that Stokers last novel can serve as a kind of summa for Stoker‘s entire oeuvre, casting a retrospective eye over precisely those ethnological concerns that had animated his writings from beginning to end. For, in Stoker‘s imaginary the monstrous is always inscribed within a topography of race that his novels at once challenge and confirm by bringing pressure to bear on the whole scientific project of a general anthropology at its most vulnerable point: the distinction between the human and the near-human, between the species form and its exceptions.
Through the prisms of psychoanalysis and narrative theory the article addresses the concepts of temporality and transgenerational phantom in Elizabeth Gaskells Gothic piece ‘The Poor Clare’ (1856). Gaskells text, which revolves around an ancestral curse, is but a loose repetitious narrative characterized by the circularity of its structure and tone – its end casting one back into its middle – with its narrator narrating the past locked into the present, which is completely determined by the future, by the curse to be fulfilled. Narration becomes unsettling and obsessional, revealing the texts shared phantoms/foreign bodies as these implicate the characters and the narrating persona in a complex web of unconscious identifications and psychic splits, eventually coming to congeal around the biblical prophecy: ‘the sins of the fathers shall be visited upon the children’. In being reiterated throughout, the cryptic and (encrypted) words reaffirm both the efficacy of the curse –which always already doubles back on the one that has hurled it – and the texts playing out of desire and trauma, thus rendering the celebrated subject of the Enlightment both an ailing subject and an alien to itself.
In 1805 Susannah Middleton travelled with her husband, Captain Robert Middleton,
to Gibraltar where he was to run the naval dockyard. Abroad for the first time,
Susannah maintained a regular correspondence with her sister in England. Casting
light on a collection of letters yet to be fully published, the paper gives an
account of Susannah‘s experiences as described to her sister. Consideration is
given to Susannah‘s position as the wife of a naval officer and her own view of
the role she had to play in her husband‘s success. Written at a time when an
officers wife could greatly improve his hopes for advancement through the
judicious use of social skills, the Middleton letters provide evidence of an
often overlooked aspect of the workings of the Royal Navy.
of the play, what I'm calling ‘wrong-footing’, to instance more of how this play operates as a theatre machine. Antony and Cleopatra gives every director, designer and company of actors who tackle it the same set of challenges to negotiate (and opportunities to explore). In the chapters that follow, we will see them working these challenges out, making decisions that make their production's meanings. Here, I want to anticipate their struggles under four headings: dramatic structure; scenic writing; characters and casting; and six deaths
Peter Hall, Olivier Theatre, National Theatre, 1987
Carol Chillington Rutter
Clearly, if the return to Veronese epitomised how Hall imagined Shakespeare's characters, casting Judi Dench and Anthony Hopkins as his principals signalled another attempt to get back to basics. Hall hadn't directed Dench in a Shakespeare role since Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1962 when she was still in her twenties. When he left the RSC, she stayed behind, maturing her craft under Hall's ‘heirs’, principally Trevor Nunn, and giving celebrated performances in The Winter's Tale (1969), The Merchant of Venice and The Duchess of Malfi (1971), Much Ado
Every work of genius slants the rational plane, or so claim twentiethcentury writers as disparate in style and distant in setting as Mário de
Andrade and Vladimir Nabokov, re-casting creative consciousness in
their respectively ‘hallucinated’ cities of São Paulo and St. Petersburg.1
While these writers eccentrically reconfigure and relocate creative
consciousness in citytexts marked by peculiarly modern tempos
and marginocentric topographies, they also recuperate an ancient
association between art, alienation and
fails if it wasn't practicable in production. Could the King's Men manage it with the sixteen actors who (normally) made up the company, casting Antony and Cleopatra 's forty-odd roles not just to cover doubling but to allow in that doubling for the added complication of actors blacking up? It would have taken careful plotting (along the lines of what was required of the Admiral's Men to stage George Peele's The Battle of Alcazar circa 1600).
But it could be done.
Isabella, and The Spanish
Tragedy , perform sometimes incognito, sometimes in her and its own
right, in subsequent theatre.
When he’s casting Soliman and Perseda , Hieronimo
asks rhetorically: ‘what’s a play without a woman in
it?’ (IV.i.97). We might alter the question: ‘What’s a
play with a woman in it? What’s the woman doing in this