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.
This article uses Franco Moretti‘s interpretation of Frankenstein and Dracula (Signs Taken For Wonders, 1988) to interrogate Dennis Potter‘s final television play, Cold Lazarus (1996). The critical approach, following Moretti‘s example, is generic, Freudian and Marxist. By identifying the conventions of Gothic drama in Potter‘s play, it claims, firstly, that Cold Lazarus dramatizes deep-seated psychic neuroses; and secondly, alerts its viewers to contemporary cultural anxieties about individual autonomy and the exploitative nature of capitalist enterprise. The argument challenges the predominantly negative reception of Cold Lazarus when first screened in 1994 and aims to defend this play as a fine example of televisual Gothic drama.