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Fin-de-siècle gothic and early cinema
Paul Foster

In Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), Dracula visits the cinematograph upon arrival in London, made plausible by setting the scene in the year of the novel’s publication, 1897. The film forcefully reminds us that Dracula and cinema are contemporaneous; fin-de-siècle Gothic and cinema emerge concurrently because they are produced out of the same cultural, social and historical forces. Supernatural claims were made on behalf of cinematic technology: ‘death will no longer be final’, concluded one account of the Lumière Cinématographe premiere. Less enamoured reporters described the new medium in strange and spectral, even deathly, terms; most famously perhaps, Maxim Gorky: ‘Last night I was in the Kingdom of Shadows…’. But if there was something ‘Gothic’ about emergent cinema, there was something ‘cinematic’ about the resurgent Gothic. This chapter identifies and analyses proto-filmic elements in works by Stevenson, Wilde, Wells and Stoker.

in Monstrous media/spectral subjects