Cruelty, Darkness and the Body in Janice Galloway, Alison Kennedy and Louise Welsh
This essay seeks to define a Gothic tendency in the ‘viscerality’ of some recent and prominent Scottish women writers: Janice Galloway, Alison Kennedy and Louise Welsh. The argument addresses an alienating tension in this ‘viscerality’ between a fabular form and the impression of a new realism of social surfaces. This is a Gothic of cruelty and violent representation of the body, which opens a Scottish urban culture, portrayed as a synecdoche for divided consciousness, to fables of sexual and political alienation.
Conspiracy and Narrative Masquerade in Schiller, Zschokke, Lewis and Hoffmann
This essay brings together the popularity of Venice in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century as a setting for horror, terror and fantasy, and the narrative conventions of the Gothic. Focusing on Schiller, Zschokke, Lewis and Hoffmann, the article studies the representation of Venice as a Gothic labyrinth, in the context of the city‘s changing reputation as a political structure. ‘Venice’ is treated as a common set of signs which overlap between the literary field and the field of cultural politics: ‘plots’ are both political conspiracies and (carnivalised: doubled and disguised) narrative forms. All is given over to the dynamics of masquerade. The topography of the Venetian Republic is itself a political text, which carnivalises the ‘separation of powers’, while the texts of the Gothic writers are narrative masquerades which choose popular hybrid forms of comedy, folktale and horror, rather than Tragedy or Realism, to respond to Venice‘s tension between law and anarchy and the conflicting pressures of Enlightenment, Republicanism and Empire.
Enlightenment, automata, and the theatre of terror
This chapter argues the case for a partial overlap between Diderot and Charles Maturin who are conventionally labelled Enlightenment and Gothic. In Diderot's novel, the notion of the automaton is linked to the system of an anti-society of isolated Cartesian cells. And it becomes associated with horror and superstition, a phalanstery of mastery and slavery which anticipates the automatism of the Marquis de Sade. Diderot himself had been imprisoned in Vincennes and unnerved by the experience to the point of apparent capitulation to the authorities, so he had studied at first hand the condition he writes about. Automatism is indeed part of the theatre of terror and the relation between hypocrisy, acting and ritualized behaviour is part of Maturin's meditation. Maturin and Diderot independently share a self-conscious fictional heritage whose master trope is the theatre; this shapes the different questions they ask of the novel genre in a common manner.