This book offers introductory readings of some of the well-known and less well-known feature productions coming out of Australia since the revival in the national film industry at the end of the 1960s. The interpretations of the texts and the careers of their makers are considered in relation to the emergence of an indigenous film culture and the construction of national identity. The majority of the films examined in the book have had theatrical or video releases in the UK. The independent development of several indigenous film genres has been an important feature of recent production, and helped to punctuate and bracket the streams of feature production that have evolved since 1970. These Australian genres have been identified and evaluated (the Australian Gothic, the period film, the male ensemble film) and are worthy of consideration both in their own right and in their intersection with other conventionalised forms. These include science fiction, fantasy and horror in comparison with the Gothic, the heritage film and literary adaptation in connection with the period film, and the war film and rite of passage in relation to the male ensemble. More recently, an aesthetic and thematic trend has emerged in the examples of Strictly Ballroom, The Adventures of Priscilla, and Muriel's Wedding, which foregrounds elements of the camp, the kitsch and the retrospective idolisation of 1970s Glamour. Such chronological, stylistic and thematic groupings are important in the interpretation of national filmmaking.
This book develops insights into the vexed question of Carter's textual practices through the dusty lens of the Gothic. It argues that European Gothic is vital to illuminating and understanding the tension between politics and aesthetics in Carter's work. The book shows how a more concerted focus on Carter's European literary inheritance sheds light on her particular and perverse engagements with androcentric literary and cultural frameworks. It emblematises the tension between her textual extravagancies and her self-declared 'absolute and committed materialism'. Her firm belief 'that this world is all that there is, and in order to question the nature of reality one must move from a strongly grounded base in what constitutes material reality'. The book examines the fraught relationship between Carter's sexual and textual politics. Exploring the ways in which Carter's work speaks to broader discussions about the Gothic and its representations, the book is especially concerned with analysing her textual engagements with a male-authored strand of European Gothic. This is a dirty lineage that can be mapped from the Marquis de Sade's obsession with desecration and defilement to surrealism's violent dreams of abjection. The book not only situates Carter as part of a European Gothic tradition but theoretically aligns her with what Jane Gallop, in her book on Sade, describes as France's "deconstructive" feminism, daughter of antihumanism.
shift in the deep structure of the self, or in the culture that may, or
may not, have produced it. But I do contend that a project such as this
one – intent on catching the discursive inflections of Gothic writing in
its inter textual moments – provides a basis, an understanding, on which
it is possible to proceed.
I argued that the discursive provenance of the Gothic –
the Gothicaesthetic and hygienic
becoming a borderless art for a borderless century’ ( 2010 : 1).
This chapter seeks to unpack a number of suggestions and
assumptions that I have woven into my above description of butoh as a
recognisably gothicaesthetic. By juxtaposing the living dead of an
‘Eastern’ dance practice with the animated corpse of the
‘Western’ gothic, I want to join two critical traditions
that, to my knowledge, have not yet
and its shadow are not of a universal, remote character, but invoke
power. The desire aroused by the Gothic garden (sexual desire but also
desire for self-realization) is one crossed by discourse.
In assessing Gothic narratives of nurture it is important
once again to keep gender in mind. In discussing the Gothicaesthetic I
argued that the discursive values of the Gothic (patriarchy, the
In the last chapter we looked at the Gothic as discourse,
as a site of power/knowledge. Insofar as the Gothicaesthetic
incorporates an idealized national identity together with a myth of
origin it tends towards the openly ideological. But power is also
written into the Gothic in less explicit ways. I used Foucault to
problematize the late eighteenth century as a period of ‘archival
This chapter examines the development of a Gothic aesthetic of mortality in Graveyard poetry that in turn provided a significant influence for later Gothic novels. In its reflective, psychologically complex subject matter, poetry provides rich material for Gothic, and the genre drew upon the work of the graveyard poets, including Gray, Young, Blair and Parnell. Not only are the aesthetics of graveyard poetry significant in the development of Gothic, but also the structures of Christianity which emphasise life after death. The locus of death provides a focal point where the poetic and the constructed self meet, uniting the rational and the sublime in contemplating the terrible and unknowable, replacing the pre-Reformation prayers for the dead with a Protestant contemplation of Heaven.
Shakespeare contra Voltaire, the new aesthetic emerging from the
canonization of the national poet versus French neo-classicism. In one
respect Walpole’s celebrated comments in the second preface, on his
attempts to forge ‘modern’ romance, are merely an intervention in the
arguments producing the Gothicaesthetic. But in another they enlarge
the boundaries of contemporary controversy. A link
The first, in explicating genealogy, uses the theories of Michel
Foucault and Lawrence Stone to problematize the late eighteenth century,
as a means of gaining a focus on the kind, and character, of the
discourses relevant to the Gothics provenance. The next box, on the
Gothicaesthetic, closes on the construction of the Gothic as a taste,
an ideology, a series of related discourses at the back of Gothic writing. The next
states of feeling (such as grief and
melancholy) and the rhetorical construction of emotion in an emerging
Gothicaesthetic. The Romantic Gothic explores the role of the writer in this
Gothic discourse about death that, in its establishment of a Gothic
iconography, also reaches out to an implied reader who can interpret the
type of codes and symbols that characterise this discourse. The dead