Since 2005 Tim Burton’s imagination has frequently turned to Victorian-related
subjects. Focusing primarily on Corpse Bride (2005),
Sweeney Todd (2007) and Alice in Wonderland
(2010), this article argues that Burton’s response to (neo-) Victorian culture
is a distinctly Gothic one. Unlike other more literary and canonical types of
neo-Victorianism it engages with the popular and strongly Gothicised conceptions
of the Victorian that emerged through the horror cinema of the twentieth
century. It is also Gothic in the way that it self-consciously blends the
Victorian with other cultural trends. As a result, rather than offering a
strongly theorised, academic view of the Victorians, Burton remediates them for
his own aesthetic purposes.
Gothic Landscapes and Grotesque Bodies in Mary Shelley‘s The Last Man
In The Last Man, Mary Shelley builds on Edmund Burke‘s aesthetic theory and Ann Radcliffe‘s definition of Gothic terror as elevating and imaginative by projecting sublime terror onto her landscapes. Yet, her characters’ identification with sublime landscapes insufficiently articulates their visceral pain; Shelley also emphasises the horrible, physical dimensions of her characters’ suffering, asserting the primacy of their bodies as sites of their identities and afflictions. The freezing, grotesque horror of disease conflicts with the landscapes elevating sublimity, as the Romantic and Gothic aesthetic categories of terror and horror collide in Shelley‘s efforts to articulate the materiality of her characters’ traumatic experiences.
Felicia Hemans and Burial at Sea in the Nineteenth-Century
This article identifies sea-burial as a topos of the early nineteenth-century imaginary
that draws on both Gothic tropes and Romantic reformulations of Gothic aesthetics in order
to signal a sea changed poetics of shifting dislocation, decay, and denial in the work of
Felicia Hemans. The loss of a corpse at sea makes visible the extent to which any act of
posthumous identification relies upon a complex network actively maintained by the living.
This article will also develop our understanding of the ways in which Gothic tropes of
burial might extend into specifically maritime literary cultures of the early nineteenth
century. This strand of a nautical Gothic reflects not only nineteenth-century anxieties
about nautical death but the corporeality of both individual and cultural memory. Such
representations of sea-burial negotiate a nautical Gothic aesthetic that might propel new
understanding of the relationship between poetry and the material dimensions of affective
Representations of Lower-Class Voices in Ann Radcliffe’s Novels
This paper investigates lower-class voices within the context of anti-Gothic
criticism, using Ann Radcliffe’s novels and early Gothic critic Joseph Addison’s
essays to highlight the ways in which Radcliffe reassigns value to the Gothic
aesthetic. It further emphasizes Radcliffe’s reconfiguration of domestic roles
as she positions patriarchal figures as anti-Gothic critics, the heroine as
reader of gothic narratives, and lowerclass voices and tales as gothic texts.
The Mysteries of Udolpho and Romance of the
Forest subvert critical discourse and its motif of servants’ contagious
irrationality. In Radcliffe’s novels, ‘vulgar’ narratives as superstitious
discourse do not spread fear to susceptible heroines, embodiments of bourgeois
virtue, but demonstrate the ways in which fear is a construct of patriarchal
discourse. Servants and country people, in turn, construct a pedagogy for
reading gothic texts that permit heroines to deconstruct metaphors of ghostly
haunting embedded in their tales and resist patriarchal hegemony and
interpretative authority over gothic texts.
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
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 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.
Charles Bonnet and William Blake’s illustrations to Robert Blair’s The Grave (1808)
Blake’s visual language systematically undermined
Blair’s as it blurred the boundary between the literal and
the figural and even distorted the boundaries of gender. The
illustrations are uncanny because, rather than supporting the
scenarios described by Blair, they create an alternative reality and
tease viewers into confronting death (Freud, 1985 : 370–2). It is Blake’s Gothicaesthetic
, instead greeting each appalling plot turn with a resigned shrug. 7
Characteristics of the Gothic (in the portrayal of
pervasive parental authority, the sudden irruption of doom-laden events, and the
dis-empowered hero) are treated humorously in writer-director Ruane’s debut feature.
The black comedy and splatstick elements incorporated alongside the contemporary,
multicultural context make Death in Brunswick a key example of the modernisation and
modification of the Gothicaesthetic in later popularised forms
sorts of questions and concerns – rather than in the depiction of
particular sorts of monsters and villains.
While my focus is the gothicaesthetic rather than
television series as marketed commodities, it is worth stressing the
ways in which these gothic series demonstrate the inexactness of the
industry’s ideas of its audience’s tastes and interests.
The most long