Unspeakability in Vernon Lee‘s Supernatural Stories
Vernon Lees supernatural fiction provides an interesting test case for speculations about the function of spectrality for women writers on the cusp of the modern era. This article argues that spectrality, in line with Julian Wolfreys’ theories about the ‘hauntological disturbance’ in Victorian Gothic (2002), is both disruptive and desirable, informing the narratives we construct of modernity. It traces the links between the ‘unspeakable’ spectral encounter and contemporary attitudes to gender and sexuality in stories in Vernon Lees collection Hauntings (1890), as well as her Yellow Book story ‘Prince Alberic and the Snake Lady’ (1897). The ghostly encounter is erotic and welcomed as well as fearful, used to comment on the shortcomings of heterosexual marriage and bourgeois life, though this often results in the troubling spectacle of the ravished, mutilated or bloody female corpse. Lees negotiation of unspeakability and the desire for the ghostly is compared to the more graphic depictions of the dead female in stories from E. Nesbits Grim Tales (1893). Representations of the female revenant are considered in relation to the psychoanalytic readings of the otherness of the female corpse put forward by Elisabeth Bronfen (1992).
Post-9/11 Aesthetics of Uncertainty in PlayDead‘s Limbo (2010)
This paper explores the Gothic videogame Limbo (PlayDead, 2010) in terms of an aesthetic and conceptual precariousness and preoccupation with uncertainty that, I suggest, are particularly associated with the traumatic legacy of 9/11. It engages with Judith Butler s post-9/11 reflections in her work Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence (2004) on the loss of presumed safety and security in the First World. From here, she expresses the potential for shared experiences of vulnerability to inaugurate an ethics of relationality, without recourse to investment in systems of security. I then contrast this with an alternative critical trajectory that emphasises the use-value of such systems over a desire for moral purity. This critical framework is considered in relation to the treatment of vulnerability in Limbo, through its construction of a dialogic relationship between its diegetic game-world and the formal structure of its game-system. The former is found to articulate a pervasive experience of uncertainty, whilst the latter provides a sense of security. I draw upon psychoanalyst D. W. Winnicott‘s theories of play and creative living to argue that the tension between game-world and game-system in Limbo creates a model of how uncertainty can be dwelt with, through a precarious balance between the use of systems of security and disengagement from them.
Hearing Voices in L. M. Montgomery‘s Emily Climbs and F. W. H. Myers
The novels of L. M. Montgomery‘s Emily trilogy belong to the genre of domestic fiction, but they are punctuated by uncanny events, by excursions into a Gothic mode where the girl‘s smooth transition from rebellious child to compliant adult is disrupted. This paper is an investigation of Montgomerys use of Gothic tropes in the second novel of the trilogy, Emily Climbs (1925); in particular, this essay analyses the chapter entitled ‘In the Watches of the Night’, a chapter that is exemplary of Montgomery‘s use of the Gothic mode to disrupt the disciplinary system that enjoins the adolescent girl to situate her desires in the home. The chapter is permeated by Montgomery‘s reading in abnormal psychology, particularly by F. W. H. Myerss Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death (1903), a work that lends a scientific veneer to Montgomerys Gothicism with its account of what ‘hearing voices’ means. In an extravagantly gothic metaphor, Slavoj Zizek claims that the ‘life of a voice’ is ‘the uncanny life of an undead monster, not the “healthy” living self-presence of meaning’ (103). Montgomery‘s text arguably excavates a moment which reveals both the speaking subject and the ideology which disciplines it to be marked by the uncanny, by that which undermines ‘the “healthy” living self-presence of meaning’.
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.
Carter‘s fiction sits uneasily in relation to both Gothic and feminist discourses, especially as they converge through the category of the ‘female Gothic’. Owing to her interest in pornography and her engagement with the sexual/textual violence of specifically ‘male Gothic’ scripts – for example, the Gothic scenarios of Sade, Poe, Hoffmann, Baudelaire and Stoker – Carter‘s Gothic heroines have frequently been censured as little more than objects of sadistic male desires by feminist critics. This article re-reads Carter‘s sexual/textual violations – her defiance of dominant feminist and Gothic categories and categorisations – through the problematic of (post-)feminist discourse and, especially, the tension between ‘victim’ and ‘power’ feminisms as prefigured in her own (Gothic) treatise on female sexual identity, The Sadeian Woman (1979). Mapping the trajectory of her Gothic heroine from Ghislaine in Shadow Dance (1966) to Fevvers in Nights at the Circus (1984), it re-contextualises Carters engagements with the Gothic as a dialogue with both the female Gothic and feminist discourse.
Regarded by fans and critics alike as the Queen of Horror, Barbara Steele stands as
one of the few bona fide cult icons of the genre, whose ability to project an uncanny
blend of deathliness and eroticism imbues her characters with a kind of necrophiliac
appeal. Horror film scholars have tended to read Steele‘s films in feminist terms, as
texts that play to our fascination with the monstrous-feminine. This article
approaches them from a different standpoint – that of cinephilia studies. Steele‘s
cult horror films are at their most basic level horror movies about cinephilia,
presenting her as the very embodiment of the ghostly medium that cinephiles cherish.
In so doing, they convert Steele into a necrophiliac fetish-object, an intoxicating
fusion of death and desire. Considering Steele‘s work from this perspective reveals
the fluidity of the boundary between horror and cinephilia, demonstrating that horror
has something important to teach us about cinephilia and cinephilia has something
important to teach us about horror.
Uses and Misuses of International Humanitarian Law and Humanitarian Principles
war while explicitly denying them political recognition. In contrast, civilians caught up in international conflicts subject to the Geneva Conventions were ignored until 1949. While the codification of armed conflict, whether international or domestic, was inspired by a desire to limit the violence, it gave the generals – not surprisingly – the final say in assessing ‘military necessity’, a key concept naturally covered by humanitarian law. A few years later, the German command used the Geneva Convention to justify their violence in putting down francs-tireurs in
to sociologist Mark Turner, ‘politics is potentially a part of any kidnapping, whatever the motivation of the kidnappers and even if they desire to keep politics out’ ( Turner, 1998 : 145–60). As a result, discussing abductions publicly does not automatically single out a humanitarian organisation as a special target but rather as a ‘sensitive’ one – not to mention that by breaking their code of silence, these organisations could better explain their operational decisions. In MSF’s case, for example, discussing the circumstances surrounding its volunteers
An Interview with Celso Amorim, Former Brazilian Foreign Minister
roaring economy and a wildly popular president. Its foreign
policy reflects this confidence and a desire to break free of its older constraints.’ Now,
less than a decade later, weeks before a general election, Brazilian democracy is not at all
stable, the country is experiencing one of its worst ever economic crises, the current presidency
has a 3 per cent approval rating and there isn’t a foreign policy to speak of. How does Brazil fit into this new ‘global disorder’? Confusion in the inter-state
system arguably creates opportunities, especially for
operationally) its strategy to
Palestinians on the local level. In this context, significant risks are being borne both by
those Palestinians who rely on UNRWA-provided services and by UNRWA’s Palestinian
employees. Nonetheless, these impacts continue to be erased from view by a contract and
risk-management culture that maintains the primacy of international (read: non-Palestinian)
actors and ideological priorities. In the context of UNRWA’s institutional adaptation to
long-standing financial crises, a push for cost-efficiency and the desire to