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Alexandra Warwick

This article examines the prevalence of Gothic in contemporary culture and criticism. It suggests that the description Gothic’ has become widespread in the aftermath of Derrida‘s work Spectres of Marx and that this threatens to undermine Gothics usefulness as a critical category. In examining contemporary culture it identifies the notions of trauma and mourning in the popular imagination as having contributed to a condition where Gothic no longer expresses the anxiety of the fragmented subject, but reaches towards a valorisation of damaged subjectivity.

Gothic Studies
Jay Garcia

The intellectual connection between James Baldwin and Lionel Trilling, and the resonances across their criticism, are more substantial than scholarly and biographical treatments have disclosed. For Trilling, Baldwin’s writings were notable for their deviation from most humanistic inquiry, which he considered insufficiently alert to the harms and depredations of culture. Baldwin’s work became for Trilling a promising indication that American criticism could be remade along the lines of a tragic conception of culture deriving from Freud. This essay concentrates on a relevant but neglected dynamic in American letters—the mid-twentieth-century tension between Freudian thought and American humanistic inquiry evident in fields like American Studies—to explain the intellectual coordinates within which Trilling developed an affinity for Baldwin’s work. The essay concludes by suggesting that the twilight of Freud’s tragic conception of culture, which figured centrally in the modernist critical environment in which Baldwin and Trilling encountered one another, contributed to an estrangement whereby the two came to be seen as unrelated and different kinds of critics, despite the consonance of their critical idioms during the 1940s and 1950s.

James Baldwin Review
The Gothic in Shelley‘s ‘The Triumph of Life’
John Whatley

The criticism of Shelley‘s ‘The Triumph of Life’ now makes up a small library of its own, though the status of the poem as a fragment yet precludes any final closure of commentary. The article proposes that criticism of the ‘Triumph’ falls between two poles. One view, of which Paul De Man is representative, sees the Shelley of his final poem as mature, becoming skeptical of romantic uses of the language of the uncanny. The other, of which Ross Woodman is representative, sees him finally as a fascinated believer in the supernatural and transcendent. This paper argues that the poem might be better seen as a complex and subtle mixing of these two frames, a skeptical fascination that relies on Shelley‘s refined use of the Gothic mode in the poem. This unstable frame results in an evaluation of Rousseau‘s philosophy as a form of truth flawed by desire, and a counterfeit ghost of the originating ideas when it reaches the public sphere. Seen this way, Shelley places Rousseau‘s ‘shape all light’ within a pantheon of other great figures of world history as an idealist who was made into a gothic cult by those in power.

Gothic Studies
Colonising Europe in Bram Stoker‘s The Lady of the Shroud
William Hughes

Postcolonial criticism is preoccupied for the most part with the implications and the cultural consequences of European interference in a vaguely delineated territory which could best be termed `the East‘. This statement, which might justifiably be regarded as being simplistic, provocative or even mischievous, must however be acknowledged as having some currency as a criticism of an occluded though still discernible impasse within an otherwise vibrant and progressive critical discourse. The postcolonial debate is, to borrow a phrase from Gerry Smyth, both characterised and inhibited by a `violent, dualistic logic‘ which perpetuates an ancient, exclusive dichotomy between the West and its singular Other. In practical terms, this enforces a critical discourse which opposes the cultural and textual power of the West through the textuality of Africa, Asia and the Far East rather than and at the expense of the equally colonised terrains of the Americas and Australasia. This is not to say that critical writings on these latter theatres of Empire do not exist, but rather to suggest that they are somehow less valued in a critical discourse which at times appears,to be confused by the potentially more complex diametrics implied in the existence of a North and a South.

Gothic Studies
A Manuscript Appendix to Fantasmagoriana
Fabio Camilletti

The role played by Fantasmagoriana in the genesis of Frankenstein and The Vampyre has largely prevented the full critical appreciation of this work in its original context of production, i.e. the French market of supernatural anthologies in the early nineteenth century, paving the way to the so-called frénétique vogue. By analysing a manuscript appendix to Fantasmagoriana, drafted between the mid-1820s and the mid-1830s and bound within a copy formerly belonging to the Roman family Gabrielli-Bonaparte, this article reinstates Fantasmagoriana within the environment of Napoleonic and post-Napoleonic culture and its renewed interest in the supernatural. Whereas English-speaking criticism has normally approached Fantasmagoriana through Tales of the Dead, i.e. Sarah Utterson’s Gothicizing and partial translation of 1813, an analysis of Fantasmagoriana from the point of view of its original readership will enable us to rethink the specificities of the French Gothic beyond Anglocentric perspectives.

Gothic Studies
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The Self, the Social Order and the Trouble with Sympathy in the Romantic and Post-Modern Gothic
Eric Daffron

This essay is about the figure of the double in Romantic and post-modern Gothic literature and film. Most criticism of the double interprets this figure from the perspective of psychoanalysis. In contrast, this essay embeds the double in cultural history. In discussions of eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century discourses of ‘possessive individualism’, nationalism, and sexuality, this essay contends that the eighteenth century and the Romantic Period became dissatisfied with sympathy: with its inability to unify the social order without dissolving the crucial differences that distinguish one person from another. In response, Gothic literature invented the double to represent an extreme moment when two characters think, act, and feel so much alike that they can no longer be distinguished from each other. The essay offers two examples: Mary Shelley‘s Frankenstein and Ridley Scott‘s Blade Runner.

Gothic Studies
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A Recombinant Pygmalion for the Twenty-First Century
Kathleen McConnell

As a gothic iteration of Ovid‘s Pygmalion myth, the television show ‘Dark Angel’ demonstrates how anxiety over the laboratory creation of people persists in popular culture. The paper looks through the lenses of media representation of cloning, complexity theory‘s trope of iteration, and gothic literary criticism, first to analyze Dark Angels heroine as a gothic version of Pygmalion‘s statue. It goes on to explore some of the implications of rewriting sculptor/lover Pygmalion into Dark Angels Donald Lydecker and Logan Cale, before examining the first season in its entirety. The analysis ends on a short exploration of some interactions between the show and the popular culture that produces and consumes it.

Gothic Studies
Tim Snelson

This article focuses on a cycle of late 1960s true crime films depicting topical mass/serial murders. It argues that the conjoined ethical and aesthetic approaches of these films were shaped within and by a complex climate of contestation as they moved from newspaper headlines to best-sellers lists to cinema screens. While this cycle was central to critical debates about screen violence during this key moment of institutional, regulatory and aesthetic transition, they have been almost entirely neglected or, at best, misunderstood. Meeting at the intersection of, and therefore falling between the gaps, of scholarship on the Gothic horror revival and New Hollywood’s violent revisionism, this cycle reversed the generational critical divisions that instigated a new era in filmmaking and criticism. Adopting a historical reception studies approach, this article challenges dominant understandings of the depiction and reception of violence and horror in this defining period.

Film Studies
An Interview with Raoul Peck
Leah Mirakhor

I Am Not Your Negro (2016) takes its direction from the notes for a book entitled “Remember this House” that James Baldwin left unfinished, a book about his three friends—Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr.— their murders, and their intertwining legacies. The film examines the prophetic shadow Baldwin’s work casts on twentieth- and twenty-first-century American politics and culture. Peck compiles archival material from Baldwin’s interviews on The Dick Cavett Show, his 1965 Cambridge lecture, and a series of banal images indexing the American dream. Juxtaposed against this mythology is footage of Dorothy Counts walking to school, the assassination of black leaders and activists, KKK rallies, and the different formations of the contemporary carceral state. Our conversation examines Peck’s role as a filmmaker and his relationship with the Baldwin estate. Additionally, we discussed a series of aesthetic choices he fought to include in the film’s final cut, directing Samuel L. Jackson as the voice for the film, the similarities and shifts he wanted to document in American culture since the 1960s, and some of the criticism he has received for not emphasizing more Baldwin’s sexuality.

James Baldwin Review
Claire Nally

Whilst the focus of much criticism has addressed goth as a subculture, considerably less attention has been given to the gendered status of marketing and advertising in subcultural magazines, whilst ‘glossy’ goth magazines have enjoyed little concerted analysis at all. Subcultures are frequently represented by participants and critics as ‘idyllic’ spaces in which the free play of gender functions as distinct from the ‘mainstream’ culture. However, as Brill (2008), Hodkinson (2002) and Spooner (2004) have identified, this is unfortunately an idealistic critical position. Whilst goth men may embrace an ‘androgynous’ appearance, goth women frequently espouse a look which has much in common with traditional feminine values. Slippages between subcultural marketing and mainstream advertising are frequent and often neotraditional in their message regarding masculinity and femininity. In using critiques of postfeminism alongside subcultural theory, I seek to reevaluate how gender functions in these publications. By close inspection of scene representations of ‘goth’ in the twenty-first-century through magazines such as Gothic Beauty (US), Unscene and Devolution (UK), as well as interviews with participants, I argue women’s goth fashion, sexuality and body image often (but not exclusively) represent a hyperfemininity which draws from conventional ideas of womanhood.

Gothic Studies