Feminist desires and collective reading
in the work of Laura Mulvey
‘... [T]he thrill that comes from leaving the past behind without rejecting it,
transcending outworn or expressive forms, and daring to break with normal
pleasurable expectations in order to conceive of a new language of desire.’
Laura Mulvey, ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’ (1975)1
This last chapter begins with this formulation from ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative
Cinema’ because it highlights an aspect of Mulvey’s argument that often gets
lost: namely, that Mulvey critiques the
Mourning and Melancholia in Female Gothic, 1780–1800
Wright explores how novels by Eliza Fenwick, Sophia Lee, Maria Roche, and Ann Radcliffe critique, via their fascination with portraiture, eighteenth-century consumerism. Wright argues that this engagement with image-making indicates late eighteenth century concerns with fashion, opulence and consumerism which become relocated in women‘s Gothic writing through the correlated issues of female insanity, desire and loss.
In Ann Radcliffes The Mysteries of Udolpho and The Italian, the sublime in nature represents a benevolent patriarchy which works in tandem with ‘the heightened awareness’ that characterizes sensibility in order to educate and empower Emily St Aubert and Ellena di Rosalba. Both of these forces work symbiotically within the gazes (read ‘spectatorship’) of the heroines. Conversely, these forces are threatening to the heroes, in that they limit Valancourts and Vivaldis ability to gain their desires and to influence the events surrounding their beloveds. This gender-based disparity reflects eighteenth century familial politics and suggests that, despite Radcliffes apparent protofeminism in giving her heroines agency over the patriarchal weapons of the sublime and sensibility, her reinventing these forces to empower her heroines at the expense of the heroes actually buys into and supports patriarchal ideals of the roles of difference and sameness in heterosexual desire.
This article considers the allusions to classical statuary in Matthew G. Lewis’s
novel The Monk (1796) and his Journal of a West India
Proprietor Kept during a Residence in the Island of Jamaica (1816).
Drawing on John Barrell’s account of civic discourse on the fine arts after
Shaftesbury, I explain and contextualise the centrality of the Venus de’ Medici
statue to Lewis’s representations of male desire and male virtue. Images of
Venus, both in The Monk and in the Journal,
function as tests of civic virtue and articulate the conditions of Lewis’s
entitlement to hold and govern slaves in Jamaica. Lewis’s colonial inheritance
underpins the narratives of desire in The Monk, and inflects
his authorship more generally.
Homosocial Sins and Identity in Horace Walpole‘s The Castle of Otranto
Readings of William Beckford‘s novel Vathek suggest it encodes homoerotic desire and suspect masculinity in its themes and narrative structure when read alongside the life of the author. Horace Walpole‘s The Castle of Otranto can be read with the same methodology. The narratives of identity reversal, both gender and social, and its tropes of hyperbolic masculinity as sources of fear are interpreted according to the central importance gender has for understanding Walpole‘s conception of his sexuality. The novel exhibits a fear of gossip and rumour over identity, which may be related to a fear of public exposure of homoerotic desire as it is (mis)understood in terms of same-sex practice between men.
Tales of Terror and the Uncanny in Proust‘s In Search of Lost Time
This essay reads the opening of Marcel Proust‘s In Search of Lost Time against its high-modernist reception history to recover its Gothic unconscious. My argument first traces the repressed horror tale at the heart of ‘Combray I’ by foregrounding tropes of fear and imprisonment; I then recontextualize Proust within the Gothic tradition, drawing explicit comparisons to Poe and Radcliffe. I suggest that the narrators invocation and subsequent repression of Gothic forces, in particular of the uncanny, constitutes the novels primal dialectic and plays a constitutive role in the dramas of memory and desire.
The Seduction of Innocence and Gothic Coming of
Age in Låt Den Rätte Komma In/Let The Right One In
Swedish film Låt Den Rätte Komma In/Let the Right One In turns away from the
representations of sexual threat and desire that have long typified – and currently
dominate – vampire fiction and film, a significant generic, narrative, and aesthetic
shift. Yet, while the film deliberately cuts sex from its story of love between a boy and
a vampire, seduction is still key to its representation of vampirism, as the film plays,
as is typical of gothic fiction more generally, upon our cultural investments in
The Gothic is the discourse which embodies the dialectic of the Enlightenment, with its potential to push the frontier of reason into the mythologized darkness. Embarking on the use of genre fiction as political discourse and finding a voice to tell a story of her generation, Carter made a major breakthrough in her career. Making use of the Gothic palimpsest, Carters Marianne leaves behind the sphere of (feminine) ‘interiority’-the psychic spaces of desire and anxiety for the (supposedly masculine) catharsis in the Other world, as a sixties heroine of sensibility. Heroes and Villains calls for the reconstruction of enlightenment at the ‘post-modern’ ruins of civilization.
This article considers how the reburial and commemoration of the human remains of the
Republican defeated during the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) is affected by the social,
scientific and political context in which the exhumations occur. Focusing on a particular
case in the southwestern region of Extremadura, it considers how civil society groups
administer reburial acts when a positive identification through DNA typing cannot be
attained. In so doing, the article examines how disparate desires and memories come
together in collective reburial of partially individuated human remains.
One key aspect of characterization is the construction of character psychology, the
attribution to fictional representations of beliefs and desires, personality traits,
and moods and emotions. Characters are products of social cognition, the human
propensity for making sense of others. However, they are also products of artists who
fashion them to appeal to our nature as social beings. Through an analysis of Todd
Solondz‘s Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995), this paper describes three processes of
social cognition which are crucial for audiovisual characterization: folk psychology,
causal attribution, and emotion expressions.