This essay examines the Gothic trope of monstrosity in a range of literary and historical works, from writings on the French Revolution to Mary Shelleys Frankenstein to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I argue that, in the various versions of the Frankenstein myth, what has ultimately come to seem most monstrous is the uncanny coupling of literary and political discourse. Beginning with Jacobin and anti-Jacobin discourse, this essay traces the tendency of literary tropes to turn into political tropes. In Frankenstein and in the Victorian rewritings of Shelley‘s novel, the trope of monstrosity functions, with remarkable consistency, as a mechanism which enables the unstable and often revolutionary turns between aesthetic and ideological discourse. Because the trope of monstrosity at the heart of Frankenstein exists on the border between literary and political discourse that trope has emerged as one of the most crucial forces in current critical theoretical debates about the relationship between aesthetics and ideology.
This essay addresses the socio-cultural potential of phreno-mesmerism in the mid-nineteenth century and how its good intentions were frustrated by its uncanny discourse. Supporters of phreno-mesmerisms social agency dreamed that the physiological make-up of future generations could be determined by engineering sexual partnerships. But the more earnestly the new hybrid science was advanced as a tool of social change, the more the discourse of phreno-magnetism proved unwieldy. In effect, the discourse represents a double-bind, intertwining sex and gender, essentialism and constructionism, science and the occult, materialism and Gothic. The article focuses of Elliotson‘s enthusiasm for uniting phrenology and mesmerism in his notorious Letter On Mesmeric Phrenology and Materialism (1843).
Mary Shelley‘s Frankenstein reflects both Romantic critiques of autonomy, as they have been recently defined by Nancy Yousef, and discourses of isolation and addiction as they appear in key texts by Samuel Coleridge and Charles Lamb. For Coleridge and Lamb, addiction leads to what current specialists often call ‘terminal uniqueness’, a feeling of isolation both incommunicable to others and incapable of being heard by a non-addicted audience. In its own portrayals of isolation, Frankenstein may be seen to intersect with these larger discourses of isolation, chemical dependence, and what Anya Taylor calls ‘the empty self ’ of Romantic addiction.
This essay draws on Julia Kristeva‘s concept of ‘borderline’ experience, a feature of psychotic discourse, to examine the representation of madness, split personality and sociopathic behaviour in James Hogg‘s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner and the contemporary, muted Gothic of John Burnside‘s The Locust Room (2001). The main characteristics of borderline experience - a concern with authenticity and the proper name, with uncertain boundaries between inside and outside, truth and delusion - are central concerns in Hogg and Burnside, and the essay assesses the value of borderline discourse for a critical reading of madness in Gothic.
The Gothic is the discourse which embodies the dialectic of the Enlightenment, with its potential to push the frontier of reason into the mythologized darkness. Embarking on the use of genre fiction as political discourse and finding a voice to tell a story of her generation, Carter made a major breakthrough in her career. Making use of the Gothic palimpsest, Carters Marianne leaves behind the sphere of (feminine) ‘interiority’-the psychic spaces of desire and anxiety for the (supposedly masculine) catharsis in the Other world, as a sixties heroine of sensibility. Heroes and Villains calls for the reconstruction of enlightenment at the ‘post-modern’ ruins of civilization.
Repetition, Innovation, and Hollywood‘s Hit Film Formula
This article explores the rise of the Hollywood sequel in the 1970s and 1980s,
analysing contemporary industrial and popular discourses surrounding the sequel,
sequelisation, and film seriality. Drawing on recent sequel scholarship as well as a
wide range of film examples and paratexts it examines how industry insiders, trade
papers, and film critics tried to make sense of the burgeoning sequel trend. The
ensuing discourses and cultural practices, this article argues, not only shaped the
contexts of sequel production and reception at the time but also played into the
movies‘ serialisation strategies and their increasingly self-referential
Applying Butler‘s gender performance theory and critiquing authoritative philosophical discourse on the sublime, the essay examines the Gothic sublime as phantasmatic masculine drag. Focusing on Walpole‘s flamboyant flouting of Longinus‘s rhetorical prescriptions, the essay also explores how The Castle ofOtrantos fictional progeny continue to drag sublimity into Gothic drag king performances.
This article engages with the discourse of food and eating especially as related to the representation of the abject eating-disordered body. I will be particularly interested in the gothic representation of the anorexic and bulimic body in samples of medical advice literature and NHS websites and how they reinforce popular myths about anorexia by imagining the eating disordered body as a fixed object of abjection. Focusing on the use of gothic devices, tropes and narrative structure, these imaginations will be read against alternative representations of anorexic/bulimic bodies in autobiographical illness narratives, fictional accounts and a psychoanalytical case history in order to explore how gothic discourses can help opening up new understandings and conceptions of illness, healing and corporeality in the dialogue between medical staff and patients.
Gothic, Romantic and Poetic Identity in Shelley‘s ‘Alastor’
This essay considers the relationship between Gothicism and romanticism and explores the impact of postmodernist constructions of a ‘new Gothic’ on contemporary views of romanticism. It argues that the former has affected the latter not only by foregrounding the presence of darker elements in the discourse of romantic idealism, but also by demonstrating the ambiguous continuities and conjunctions within that discourse between transcendence and transgression, idealization and dissolution, eternity and temporality. Taking ‘Alastor’ as an example, the essay seeks to show how the poem draws upon the legacy and the vocabulary of Gothicism to problematize the quests for transcendence and poetic identity that form its core. The essay argues, further, that Shelley, as a second-generation romantic, draws upon the Gothic to express his skepticism about and to explore the antithetical elements in first-generation Wordsworthian romanticism.
Established during the Guatemalan Peace Process, the Oslo Accord contemplates the
question of compensating the victims of internal armed conflict. Not only was this accord
founded on the principles of victims rights, but it also intends to contribute to the
democratic reconstruction of Guatemalan society through a process of recognition of
victims status and memory – intended to have a reconciling function. The article focuses
on the work of two organisations implementing the Oslo Accord and aims to analyse the
discourses and practices of the local actors and their perception of the application of
victims rights. Civil society actors and members of the National Compensation Programme
demonstrate different approaches both in practical work and in representations of what is
right. However, revendication of local cultural values is present in all actors discourse,
revealing their ambiguous position in regard to state government.