realism, and sometimes also depicting a welfare state in decline. In Lindqvist's zombie novel Hanteringen av odöda (2005; Handling the Undead , 2009), the undead people are locked away by the Swedish government in a residential area called The Heath in a desperate attempt to handle a horrific situation in a rational and bureaucratic manner. A communal space at The Heath is described as follows: ‘The courtyard was dominated by the large structure in the centre… it had been planned as a combined laundry, social space and refuse centre. However
Although composed before 9/11, Nathaniel Hawthorne‘s My Kinsman, Major Molineux and Thomas Ligotti‘s The Shadow at the Bottom of the World are both prescient in their critique of the impulse of American communities following 9/11 to monumentalise and concretise the nation-state and in particular the remains at Ground Zero. In this essay I discuss Ground Zero as a suggestive trope for the illusiveness of the nation as an imagined community. These complementary Gothic short stories operate as allegory and offer a way of reading how patriotic communities cohered around what remained at Ground Zero and (re)produced it as a site of patriotic performance. A new Gothic trait in our age of terror(ism) is the anxiety over the absence of a stable centre that anchors national continuity. This article places these short stories in conversation with Benedict Anderson,,Étienne Balibar and other theorists who engage critiques of nation-building in order to draw out what is Gothic about the nation-state and to further substantiate how 9/11 revealed the nation-state as a principally Gothic phenomenon.
Delamotte examines the representation of race in Pauline Hopkins‘s Hagar‘s Daughter (1901/2). She argues that the novel provides a revision of the Female Gothic and also exploits narrative devices familiar from detective fiction. The solving of the ‘mystery’ that lies at the heart of the novel is one which explodes the ideological ‘mystery’, and the national crime of slavery, which separates Black and White, masculine and feminine, home and state, and African American and Euro-American families.
Jewell links the were-animals in Tommaso Landolfis novel La pietra lunare to population ecology in the 1930s. Landolfi imagines and narrates a were-population explosion in the specific historical context of the changes fascism brought to rural life when it favored a grain-based economy. When state policy attempts to manage grazing populations and the culture of transhumance, the uncontrolled growth of fast-breeding, broad-ranging, mountain-going were-goats in the novel puts the validity of fascist agricultural policy into question. When in secret at the full moon they couple monstrously and multiply, were-animals thoroughly challenge the effectiveness of discourses of controlled population management.
The article examines the phenomenon of terrorism presented in Sam Mendes‘s film Skyfall (2012), with relation to Julia Kristeva‘s concept of the abject, developed further by Robert Miles in the context of nationalism and identity. While exploring the extraterritorial nature of terrorism, which in Skyfall breaches the borders of the symbolic order, threatening the integrity of the British nation-state represented by M, Bond, and MI6, the article also focuses on the relationship between the major characters, whose psychological tensions represent the country‘s haunting by the ghosts of colonialism, as Britain is forced to revisit its imperial past(s) and geographies at the fragile moment of post-devolutionary changes.
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.
At roughly the same time that dentistry became a respected profession, teeth became a sign of biological origin. In the nineteenth century, long, white, uniform teeth signalled the threat of degeneracy, a counter narrative to evolution predicated on humanity‘s decline into a primitive, animalistic state. We can trace this anxiety through depictions of native people‘s teeth in travel narratives, slave narratives, and accounts of the auction block. The distinctly menacing mouths of white characters, such as Poe‘s Berenice and Dickens‘s Carker, draw on the fear of degeneracy— a threat to Western civilisation that coalesces in depictions of the vampiric mouth.
Frank Capras Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), based on Joseph Kesselrings popular Broadway play, has been largely ignored by critics and Capra-philes. The film is generally perceived of as existing outside of the corpus of Capras other films, such as Its a Wonderful Life, Mr Deeds Goes to Town, and Mr Smith Goes to Washington. As Thomas Schatz states, the feeling about Arsenic is that it is little more than a serving of canned theater, an entertaining and straightforward recreation,of the stage play with virtually none of the style or substance of earlier Capra-directed pictures. Victor Scherle and William Turner Levy note that ‘Capra left the play essentially unchanged and did not embellish it with any special social significance’. In his extensive biography of the director, Joseph McBride goes so far as to state that the filming of Arsenic signals the beginning of a ‘flight from ideas’ which would continue for most of Capras career.
Critics of the Gothic have typically stated that ancient, foreign, Catholic, Italy was generally an obvious choice as the site of early Gothic ‘otherness’. I argue that Walpole‘s choice of Italy was in fact overdetermined by his experiences there from 1739–41. In Italy, Walpole learned various strategies for disguising a self implicitly unacceptable in England. Italy was notorious for its homoerotic subcultures. Its Carnevale institutionalised the masquerade, and Italian opera performed the notion that gender is a performance. Upon his return to England, Walpole constructed Strawberry Hill, his most extravagant and elaborate masquerade. Years later, when the dream of his grand staircase impelled, The Castle of Otranto, another disguise was expressed. According to Otranto, Strawberry Hill was the unconscious embodiment of the English cultural prohibitions imposed upon him; the first Gothic novel is also the first closet.
One of the most prominent tropes in Shirley Jackson‘s work is that of the ‘demon lover’ who seduces a woman from her home with promises of riches and ultimately destroys her. Jackson uses the demon lover to figure a jouissance excluded by the Symbolic order, which, because of its repression, returns with a destructive force. Jackson‘s demon lover tales, including ‘The Daemon Lover’, ‘The Beautiful Stranger’, and ‘The Tooth’, narrate a womans gradual realization of her subjection to a demonic male figure whose claim on her dispossesses her of both home and self. Women in these stories are offered an impossible choice: either conform to a passive position within rigidly defined gender roles or be abjected into a permanent state of anxiety, insecurity, and even madness outside of the Symbolic order. Jackson‘s second novel Hangsaman (1951), more than any other of Jacksons works, attempts to chart a path for feminine jouissance by imagining writing as a kind of witchcraft.