Arguing that limit transgression is a key feature for understanding the cinematic
performance of, and the controversy around, sexuality in the public sphere, this
contribution focuses on various aspects of limit transgression in relation to
sex cinemas. Following a new cinema history approach and concentrating on the
case of an emerging sex cinema in postwar Belgium (Cinema
Leopold in Ghent, 1945–54), this article looks at various
dimensions of limit transgression in terms of concrete physical and spatial
relations; programming strategies; audience experiences; and a range of
disciplining societal practices and institutional discourses.
Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany‘s and Hollywood
This essay examines some of the literary and biographical models Truman Capote drew
on in the creation of Holly Golightly, the heroine of his 1958 novella Breakfast at
Tiffany‘s. Making use of Paramount studio records, the essay also explores the
complex process of adapting the story to the big screen. Numerous changes were made
so as to transform Capotes story into a romantic comedy, and thus to contain Holly‘s
liberated sexuality while also erasing any doubts about the male protagonists
heterosexuality. Casting Hepburn as the female lead helped to neutralize Holly‘s
sexual transgressiveness, and it sexualized the stars ethereal persona.
This article theorizes the transgressive faculties of cyberspace‘s Gothic labyrinth, arguing that it is haunted by the ghost of material/information dualism. This ghost is embodied in cybergoth subculture: while cybergothic music creates a gateway to the borderland between biological and virtual realities, dancing enables cybergoths to transgress the boundaries between the two.
The lesbian community of colour in America has been largely overlooked amidst the current popular culture mania for all things vampiric. Yet the complex ambiguity of the lesbian vampire very readily lends itself to women of colour, who frequently explore in their gothic fiction the intersections of gender, sexuality, race, class, assimilation, and the transgressive significance of the vampire myth. This essay discusses two works by African-American Jewelle Gomez and Chicana- American Terri de la Pena as lesbian Gothic romantic fiction, as feminist affirmation, and as prescriptive, community-building activist discourse.
Palmer discusses Caeia March‘s Between The Worlds (1996) and Sarah Walter‘s Affinity (1999). Palmer argues that writers of lesbian fiction are drawn to the Gothic because it is a form which has traditionally given space to the representation of transgressive sexualities. The Gothic is also a vehicle through which the interrogation and problematising of mainstream versions of reality and so-called ‘normal’ values is made possible. Palmer argues that these novels parodically rework the grotesque portrayal of character, which is familiar from mainstream Gothic fiction and film, and in doing so they challenge and resignify the category of the abject to which lesbians and gay men are conventionally relegated.
This essay proposes that the polyphonic and transgressive aspects of Gothic forms are influenced by music. It examines formal connections between the sonnets of Sturm und Drang poet, Friedrich Hölderlin, their musical setting by Benjamin Britten, and Susan Hill‘s novel The Bird of Night, arguing that Hill and Britten have, in common, processes of writing or musical composition which mix together disparate discursive or musical components. These inter-genre borrowings suggest that the sound and compositional practices of certain types of music allow for the expression of tensions, dualities, transformations and extreme states of mind which the Gothic novel has developed its own tropes to express.
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.
Claire Denis' first film, Chocolat, was a deceptively gentle family
chronicle set in colonial Africa. She focuses on ordinary people, men and women,
black and white, homosexuals and heterosexuals, whom displacement and difference
have set apart, relegated to the outskirts of society and to the margins of
representation. In her films, the perception of the Other is always complex and
ambiguous. This book outlines the multi-faceted, poetic vision of the
contemporary world that emerges through Denis' filmmaking to date and to
bring to light its main thematic, temporal, spatial and stylistic implications.
The analysis presented focuses on her fictional feature films, which form the
main body of her work and have generally become easily accessible in video or
DVD format. In her first feature, Chocolat, the director's early
experiences made her sensitive to oppression and misappropriation, exile and
racism, alienation and transgression. Location and space emphasise a sense of
displacement and function as metaphors for the process of potential exclusion of
the individual (body) from society. But the metaphor also evokes an inner sense
of exile and longing, a feeling of foreignness that is played out at the level
of the individual and of the individual's body through relations of desire,
fear and rejection. Denis' work stands apart from a tradition of screenplay
and dialogue-based cinema that defines much of France's auteur as well as
of its popular production. Denis' work has an echo of a wide range of
contemporary thought and the traces of influential aesthetic and genre
Although many Gothic novels conclude with contained restorations of patrilineal inheritance, others subvert primogeniture by perpetuating birthright through a non-traditional line. Such transgressions of Gothic primogeniture become even more pronounced during the Romantic era - particularly in the works of Byron, such as Cain and Don Juan. In the latter, Juan‘s nuptial dilemmas reflect several primogenitary issues of deep concern during the eighteenth century - including the preservation intact of patrilineal property, the containment of an increasing marriage age, and the extension of political alliances through marital exogamy. At the same time, these primogenitary issues also reveal a striking parallel between the handing down of inheritance and the handing down of texts. Finally, such a parallel also extends to the economic foundation of both inherited and textual property. As a result, Byron‘s poetry links both realms to Malthusian demographics, female commodification, and the paper currency crisis of the era.
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.