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Gothic Parody in Gibbons, Atwood and Weldon
Avril Horne and Sue Zlosnik

This essay examines a particular kind of female Gothic. Seizing the moment at which features of Gothic form had become sufficiently established to become part of a cultural inheritance, some twentieth-century women writers, we argue, created comic Gothic fictions that extended the boundaries of potential feminine identity. Stella Gibbon‘s Cold Comfort Farm pits an Austen sensibility against a rural Radcliffean scenario and proceeds to parody both as literary ancestors of a contemporary narrative of femininity. Fay Weldon‘s The Life and Loves of a She-Devil (1983) also appropriates aspects of Gothic to spin a darkly comic tale of literary and literally constructed ‘woman’. The essay also looks at the Canadian novel published a year earlier, Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood, which engages playfully with the relationship between Gothic writing and the feminine. Such texts constitute a challenge to the grand récit of gender difference, a challenge that has yet to be recognized fully by feminist critics many of whom have concentrated their energies on the feminist pursuit of life-writing. Female writers of comic Gothic, however, confront the stuff of patriarchy‘s nightmares and transform it into fictions of wry scepticism or celebratory anarchy. Through parody as ‘repetition with critical difference’, the boundaries of gender difference are destabilized in the service of creating different possibilities for female subjectivity. In their resistance both to tragic closure and their recasting of the fears of patriarchal society from a feminine perspective, such texts transform a literature of terror into a literature of liberation.

Gothic Studies
Tissue transfer in literature, film, and medicine
Author: Sara Wasson

This book is a shadow cultural history of transplantation as mediated through medical writing, science fiction, life writing and visual arts in a Gothic mode, from the nineteenth century to the present. Works in these genres explore the experience of donors or suppliers, recipients and practitioners, and simultaneously express transfer-related suffering and are complicit in its erasure. Examining texts from Europe, North America and India, the book resists exoticising predatorial tissue economies and considers fantasies of harvest as both product and symbol of ‘slow violence’ (Rob Nixon), precarity and structural ruination under neoliberal capitalism. Gothic tropes, intertextualities and narrative conventions are used in life writing to express the affective and conceptual challenges of post-transplant being, and used in medical writing to manage the ambiguities of hybrid bodies, as a ‘clinical necropoetics’. In their efforts to articulate bioengineered hybridity, these works are not only anxious but speculative. Works discussed include nineteenth-century Gothic, early twentieth-century fiction and film, 1970s American hospital organ theft horror in literature and film, turn-of-the-millennium fiction and film of organ sale, postmillennial science fiction dystopias, life writing and scientific writing from the nineteenth century to the present. Throughout, Gothic representations engage contemporary debates around the management of chronic illness, the changing economics of healthcare and the biopolitics of organ procurement and transplantation – in sum, the strange times and weird spaces of tissue mobilities. The book will be of interest to academics and students researching Gothic studies, science fiction, critical medical humanities and cultural studies of transplantation.

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Bodies dis(re)membered: Gothic and the transplant imaginary
Sara Wasson

of technology, institutions, financial interests, and legislation. This book is a shadow cultural history of transplantation, as mediated through medical writing, science fiction, life writing, and visual arts in a Gothic mode from the nineteenth century to the present. Tissue transfer is a boundary practice in multiple senses, unsettling conventional distinctions between self and other and between life and death, and challenging the limits of the body’s capacity to transform and the ethical limits of scientific practice. As such, it is unsurprising that Gothic

in Transplantation Gothic
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Uncanny assemblage and embodied scripts in tissue recipient horror
Sara Wasson

’intrus (2004) inspired by Nancy’s work. 86 Each explores recipient experience through images of distress, disorientation, and permanent wounding. In addition to grappling with emotional complexity, these works grapple with ontological challenges attendant on tissue receipt. These works use images of dismemberment and haunting to theorise both the visceral experience of their new embodiment and the way in which that experience challenges dominant cultural discourses of human bodies as individual, autonomous, and intact. The two life-writing essays resist a widespread (but

in Transplantation Gothic
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Ethical virtue in Iris Murdoch’s The Black Prince (1973) and Simone de Beauvoir’s The Mandarins (1954)
Miles Leeson

Prince engages with, and ridicules, the late modernist form. 14 One central area of disagreement between Beauvoir and Murdoch is the impact of life writing. Murdoch’s novel, which is concerned with fictional relationships rather than the autobiographical impact that Beauvoir uses, is better placed to discuss the ethical in a fictional space. As Murdoch says toward the end of her most famous essay on the

in Incest in contemporary literature
Alice Munro and Lives of Girls and Women
Susanne Becker

’s ‘excessive realism’ contextualises these and other phenomena of contemporary literary culture: the practices of feminism, the related practices of ‘life-writing’ (as we shall see in the following section on texture), the strategies of the (Canadian) postmodern with its own characteristic treatment of realism, and (as suggested through the introductory image) the discourse of

in Gothic Forms of Feminine Fictions
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Susanne Becker

‘gendered’ writing over the last twenty years. Ontario writer Alice Munro’s work is well-known for its realism; however, her early Lives of Girls and Women (1971) explores the gothicising of female life-writing: it self-consciously introduces gothic features and highlights their possibilities and dangers, and is thus a text that overtly establishes gothicism as an adequate and indeed appropriate feminine

in Gothic Forms of Feminine Fictions
Susanne Becker

contrast to the feminist politics of realism, to the confessional life-writing of the 1960s or the super-realism of the 1970s. However, it seems that these typical negativities of gothic contextualising suggest the potential for another ‘habit change’ that I hope to show in the transition to neo-gothic writing. In terms of ‘experience’, Alice Munro’s texts maybe show most

in Gothic Forms of Feminine Fictions
Susanne Becker

that ‘exceeds’ even the split subject of the feminine gothic in its inclusion of life-writing – and live writing. Similarly, Liz Lochhead’s play Blood and Ice ( 1982 ) not only gothically re-presents Frankenstein on the contemporary stage, but also, in Beate Neumeier’s terms, ‘re-constructs the links between Mary Shelley’s life and her novel

in Gothic Forms of Feminine Fictions
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Susanne Becker

approaches on separation and female identity see Johnson’s suggestive reading of Frankenstein ( 1987b ), Dinnerstein’s The Mermaid and the Minotaur ( 1976 ), and Friday’s My Mother/My Self as female life-writing ( 1977 ). Kahane is illuminating on the gothic’s metaphoric mirroring of similarity and difference with the maternal body; she writes

in Gothic Forms of Feminine Fictions