This tenth anniversary issue of Gothic Studies reconsiders how the study of the Gothic mode in many venues (from fiction and drama to cinema and video) has been deeply affected by a wide range of psychoanalytical, historicist, cultural, and literary theories that have been, and can still be, employed to interpret and explain the Gothic phenomenon. This collection builds on the most fruitful of existing theoretical perspectives on the Gothic, sometimes to transform them, or by suggesting new alliances between theory and the study of Gothic that will enrich both domains and advance the mission of Gothic Studies, as well as Gothic scholarship in general, to provide the best arena for understanding the Gothic in all its forms.
Readers and critics alike, for the past sixty years, generally agree that Baldwin is a
major African-American writer. What they do not agree on is why. Because of his artistic
and intellectual complexity, Baldwin’s work resists easy categorization and Baldwin
scholarship, consequently, spans the critical horizon. This essay provides an overview of
the three major periods of Baldwin scholarship. 1963–73 is a period that begins with the
publication of The Fire Next Time and sees Baldwin grace the cover of Time magazine. This
period ends with Time declaring Baldwin too passé to publish an interview with him and
with critics questioning his relevance. The second period, 1974–87, finds critics
attempting to rehabilitate Baldwin’s reputation and work, especially as scholars begin to
codify the African-American literary canon in anthologies and American universities.
Finally, scholarship in the period after Baldwin’s death takes the opportunity to
challenge common assumptions and silences surrounding Baldwin’s work. Armed with the
methodologies of cultural studies and the critical insights of queer theory, critics set
the stage for the current Baldwin renaissance.
Repetition, Innovation, and Hollywood‘s Hit Film Formula
This article explores the rise of the Hollywood sequel in the 1970s and 1980s,
analysing contemporary industrial and popular discourses surrounding the sequel,
sequelisation, and film seriality. Drawing on recent sequel scholarship as well as a
wide range of film examples and paratexts it examines how industry insiders, trade
papers, and film critics tried to make sense of the burgeoning sequel trend. The
ensuing discourses and cultural practices, this article argues, not only shaped the
contexts of sequel production and reception at the time but also played into the
movies‘ serialisation strategies and their increasingly self-referential
This article argues that the allegorical interpretations of the Gothic sublime made by materialist critics like Franco Moretti and Judith Halberstam unavoidably reduce Gothic excess and uncanniness to a realist understanding and, thereby, ironically de-materialize Gothic monstrosity by substituting for it a realistic meaning. This essay, instead, advocates a psychoanalytic critical reception that demonstrates how the essential uncanniness of the Gothic novel makes all realistic interpretation falter. Rather than interpreting Frankensteins creature as a condensed figure for proletarian formation or Dracula as an allegory for xenophobia, for instance, this article insists that the Gothic uncanny should be understood as figuring that which can only be viewed figuratively, as figuring that which has no space within a realistic understanding.
Sibling Rivalry in Elizabeth Gaskell‘s The Old Nurse‘s Story
Elizabeth Gaskell s The Old Nurse s Story (1852) occupies a shadowy middle ground between Gothic tale and case history. Concerning sibling rivalry and parental abuse recollected from the vantage of old age, it is both a ghost story and a narrative of maternal absence, paternal domination, transference, and the return of the repressed. Using both psychoanalysis and Gothic genre criticism, this essay traces, in miniature, the Victorian movement from spirits to sexual psychology.
In recent criticism, Jane Austen‘s Northanger Abbey has been reconsidered as a comic
rather than mock-Gothic novel, shifting its mockery onto a variety of other targets:
domineering men, unwary readers, the violence underpinning English domesticity. I argue
that Austen continues her engagement with the Gothic, beyond Northanger Abbey, using Emma
as an exemplary case. Emma not only includes explicit mentions of Gothic novels such as
Ann Radcliffe‘s The Romance of the Forest, but implicitly reformulates the relationships
between Female Gothic figures: finding a frail, victimised heroine in Jane Fairfax and a
seductive femme fatale in Emma herself.
This essay explores the way in which Gothic tropes and metaphors manifest themselves in writing that is not recognisably classed as Gothic in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It argues that recent Gothic writing has exhausted the potency of such motifs and that criticism needs to re-examine the literature of modernity, in particular that of ‘High’ culture, and assess the way in which Gothic metaphor manifests itself therein. Ultimately the paper explores literature which troubles the traditional boundaries constructed between aesthetics and ethics found in nineteenth-century cultural discourse.
Recent criticism has increasingly asserted the centrality of gothic in the Canadian canon, and explicitly gothic conceptions of the forested and frozen North inform several of Margaret Atwood‘s novels, poems, essays and short stories. Her haunted wilderness settings are sites for the negotiation of identity and power relationships. This essay focuses on her 1970 poem sequence The Journals of Susanna Moodie and her short story `Death by Landscape (from her 1991 Wilderness Tips collection), considering them in relation to critical models of postcolonial gothic.
Film theorists and philosophers have both contended that narrative fiction films
cannot present philosophical arguments. After canvassing a range of objections to
this claim, this article defends the view that films are able to present
philosophical thought experiments that can function as enthymemic arguments. An
interpretation of Michel Gondry‘s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) is
given in which the films criticism of the technology of memory erasure is just such a
thought experiment, one that functions as a counter-example to utilitarianism as a
theory for the justification of social practices.