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Ed Cameron

Ed Cameron‘s essay offers a Lacanian interpretation of the development of the eighteenth-century Gothic novel. Tracing the movement from Horace Walpole to Ann Radcliffe and Mathew Lewis, the essay argues that the Gothic supernatural machinery figures that which is immanent yet inaccessible to the narrative structure. Reading the supernatural as a literary delimitation of the excessive enjoyment of the Lacanian symbolic order, Cameron illustrates how the different manner by which each novelist relegates his or her specific use of the supernatural corresponds to different psychoanalytically recognized psychopathological structures.

Gothic Studies
An Analytic of the Uncanny
Kathy Justice Gentile

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.

Gothic Studies
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The Role of Danger in the Critical Evaluation of The Monk and The Mysteries of Udolpho
L. Andrew Cooper

Gothic Threats argues that eighteenth-century British critics based their judgments of Gothic fictions on the fictions apparent capacity to help or hurt social order. If, like Matthew Lewiss The Monk, a novel seemed to corrupt the young, erode gender norms, encourage heretical belief in the supernatural, or foment revolution, critics condemned it. If, like Ann Radcliffes The Mysteries of Udolpho, a novel that seemed to fight against such threats, critics gave it the highest praise. This politically-determined pattern of “aesthetic” evaluation helped to establish the Gothics place in the hierarchy of high and low culture.

Gothic Studies
David Del Principe

Del Principe argues that a compelling historical and political vision of post-unification Italy lies beneath the preternatural façade of Ugo Tarchettis Fantastic Tales, and that the authors transgressive approach to social realism is a reflection of the vast, cultural transformations of the period. Del Principe proposes correlations between sexual and political realms surfacing in Tarchettis narrative as indicators of mutating class structure and emerging capitalism. An examination of spatial allegories engages a discussion of psychic and physical modes of hysteria and xenophobic reactions that stem from the nationalistic fervor of post-unification Italy.

Gothic Studies
A Manuscript Appendix to Fantasmagoriana
Fabio Camilletti

The role played by Fantasmagoriana in the genesis of Frankenstein and The Vampyre has largely prevented the full critical appreciation of this work in its original context of production, i.e. the French market of supernatural anthologies in the early nineteenth century, paving the way to the so-called frénétique vogue. By analysing a manuscript appendix to Fantasmagoriana, drafted between the mid-1820s and the mid-1830s and bound within a copy formerly belonging to the Roman family Gabrielli-Bonaparte, this article reinstates Fantasmagoriana within the environment of Napoleonic and post-Napoleonic culture and its renewed interest in the supernatural. Whereas English-speaking criticism has normally approached Fantasmagoriana through Tales of the Dead, i.e. Sarah Utterson’s Gothicizing and partial translation of 1813, an analysis of Fantasmagoriana from the point of view of its original readership will enable us to rethink the specificities of the French Gothic beyond Anglocentric perspectives.

Gothic Studies
Anne Young

Chris Baldick and Robert Mighall have argued rather convincingly that ‘Gothic Criticism’ is in need of an overhaul. I revisit their controversial article through an analysis of Oscar Wilde’s parody of the Gothic and of scholarship, ‘The Portrait of Mr W. H.’ In this tale of creative criticism, Wilde’s hero, Cyril Graham, invents the character of Willie Hughes to prove a theory about Shakespeare’s sonnets. Contrary to Baldick and Mighall, I argue that Gothic criticism might do well to take its cue from its object of study. Plunging deep into the abyss, abandoning pretentions of knowing fact from fiction, natural from supernatural, I whole-heartedly - momentarily - consider the ‘Willie Hughes theory’ and ‘I will take up the theory where Cyril Graham left it and I will prove to the world that he was right’.

Gothic Studies
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Murderous Midwives and Homicidal Obstetricians
Diana Pérez Edelman

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 pursuits.

Gothic Studies
The Ghaistly Eighteenth Century
Hamish Mathison

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.

Gothic Studies
James Herbert, The Spear and ‘Nazi Gothic’
Nick Freeman

This article examines the ways in which James Herbert‘s The Spear (1978) attempted to combine nineteenth century gothic with the contemporary thriller. The novel deals with the activities of a neo-Nazi organisation, and the essay draws parallels between Herberts deployment of National Socialism and the treatment of Roman Catholicism in earlier Gothic texts. Contextualising the novel within a wider fascination with Nazism in 1970s popular culture, it also considers the ethical difficulties in applying techniques from supernatural Gothic to secular tyranny.

Gothic Studies
Becoming-Fungus in Arthur Machen‘s The Hill of Dreams
Anthony Camara

This paper examines the role fungi play in Arthur Machen‘s Decadent classic The Hill of Dreams (1907), a supernatural novel written in the 1890s. Ostensibly an idiosyncratic topic, the novels concern with these organisms devolves on an inquiry into the nature of life itself, of whether it is the result of a spiritual life-force or a haphazard assemblage of matter. In this way, Machen‘s novel participates in the fin de siècle debates between vitalism and materialism. Rather than attempting to resolve this debate, the novel seizes on tensions inherent in fungal life in order to dissolve the concept of life altogether, to suggest its horrifying unreality.

Gothic Studies