The essays in this book demonstrate the importance of translation and European writing in the development of the Gothic novel. Cross-cultural exchanges occurred with the translation of novels by English writers into French. The book first situates works by British writers and American writers within a European context and legacy. Next, it offers readings of less-known works by Gothic authors. The book introduces the reader to a range of neglected, albeit influential, European Gothic texts which originated in Russian, Spanish, French and German. It argues that the level of ideological manipulation, which occurred as texts were translated, mistranslated, appropriated, misappropriated, altered and adapted from one language to another, was so considerable and so systematic that generic mutations were occasioned. The book suggests that Matthew Lewis's The Monk offers a few models of femininity, all deriving from and intended to disrupt, previous literary representations. It focuses on the automatic and the systematic in Charles Maturin's work in relation to Denis Diderot's contemporary philosophical conceptualizations of consciousness and identity. Gothic treacheries are dealt with through Samuel Coleridge's analysis of misappropriation of Friedrich Schiller's Die Rauber. The book also discusses the representations of ritual violence, as sanctioned by the Catholic Church, in English and Spanish pictorial and literary texts between 1796 and 1834. It talks about the Arabesque narrative technique of embedding tales within tales to create a maze in which even the storyteller becomes lost, reflecting the Eastern notion that the created is more important than the creator.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book offers a range of essays that demonstrate the importance of translation and European writing in the development of the Gothic novel, a vampire-like phenomenon that thrives on the blood of others. It investigates the relationship between the political, biographical and autobiographical content of Mary Shelley's second novel, Valperga, set in medieval Italy and concerned with the struggle for power between the Guelph and Ghibelene factions. The book examines the representation of ritual violence, as sanctioned by the Catholic Church, in English and Spanish pictorial and literary texts between 1796 and 1834. It argues that the projection of certain characteristics upon the Catholic 'other' in early Gothic fiction had much to do with the 'proto-nationalism' of the eighteenth century and a post-Reformation Europhobia.
This chapter argues that Djuna Barnes's famous work, Nightwood, engages with French literature in a number of ways in order to develop its own transatlantic Gothic agenda. It retrieves Nightwood as a Gothic text and, in so doing, traces its derivation from a French tradition of Gothic or quasi-Gothic writing. This tradition begins with the roman noir and the roman frenetique, which flourished respectively between 1790 and 1820 and between the 1820s and 1830s. The French 'detour' into 'filthiness' found its way across the Channel and the Atlantic via the 'Colonie americaine' in Paris. The Mysteries of Paris and Nightwood both portray Paris as an urban Gothic space in the sense defined by Alexandra Warwick: 'The city is seen as uncanny, constructed by people yet unknowable by the individual'.
Globalgothic focuses on certain negative aspects of globalisation, including corporatism, neo-imperialism and the dangers of living in a high-risk culture that frequently sails perilously close to catastrophe. An interesting twenty-first-century version of gothic, The Dark Knight reworks classic gothic devices to structure its plot dynamic. It not only adapts the concept of the city space as threatening but also exploits the figure of the double or doppelganger. The Dark Knight is a work that openly focuses on men, power and the law despite its flirtation with romantic love. In fact what The Dark Knight illustrates so chillingly are the threats, uncertainties and negative spin-offs that result from what Zygmunt Bauman has termed 'liquid modernity'. Bauman's vision seems to be reflected in The Dark Knight to generate a potent, if perhaps only half-consciously realised, fear in the audience: fear of political, economic and judicial impotence in a 'speedflow' world.
Horner and Zlosnik explore the work of the English novelist Barbara Comyns whose best-known works were published between 1950 and 1985. They focus on The Vet‘s Daughter (1959) and The Skin Chairs (1962) and explore how Comyns‘s use of parody, wit, and humour exposes the horrors of domestic life. For Horner and Zlosnik this constitutes a Female Comic Gothic which is grotesque and blackly comic in its critical assault on patriarchal plots, and so constitutes a particular form of the Female Gothic which became popular in the twentieth century.
T.S. Eliot and Gothic hauntings in Waugh’s A Handful of Dust and Barnes’s Nightwood
T. S. Eliot's embrace of European high culture, so evident in his critical writings, is accompanied by an elision of the American and the popular, including the Gothic, despite the fact that his own poetry contains powerful Gothic resonances. Eliot's critical appraisal of Djuna Barnes's work is shown to be informed by a perspective which reveals an American anxiety concerning tradition and the individual talent. The coupling of A Handful of Dust and Barnes's Nightwood might initially seem a strange one, given Evelyn Waugh's image as an essentially conservative satirist of English society and the recent retrieval of Barnes as a radical lesbian Modernist. The title evokes not only the wilderness of Modernist preoccupation but also the tradition of American Gothic in which the haunted forest and the haunted cave were substituted for the haunted castles, ruined abbeys and dungeons of its European precursor.