Gothic Studies and Gothic Subcultures

This article defends the view that Gothic Studies should encourage research on contemporary gothic youth cultures from a Cultural Studies point of view. This is justified on two grounds: research on these youth cultures is a unique chance to consider gothic as a living cultural practice and not just as textual analysis mostly disengaged from the present; on the other hand, these subcultures are currently under attack by the media and moral minorities, especially in the USA, and Gothic Studies could - maybe should - help correct this regrettable situation born of prejudice against, and ignorance about, Gothic itself. The article reviews the embarrassing position of the Gothic Studies researcher today as regards gothic youth cultures and calls for the reinforcement of the poor knowledge we have of the evolution of these cultures in the last 20 years.

Gothic Studies

This article reviews the exhibition _Gothic: Dark Glamour_, held at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, September 5 2008 – February 21 2009. It also considers the eponymous volume published alongside the exhibition by Valerie Steele and Jennifer Park. The exhibition was the first of international significance to identify and explore the influence of Gothic on contemporary fashion by both major label designers and small subcultural producers. The article hails the exhibition as a landmark event and investigates the various Gothic/fashion narratives it,puts forward, including veiling motifs, subcultural style, grotesque and perverse bodies, and the prevalence of British and Japanese design. The article concludes that the exhibition marks a moment in the glamorisation of the Gothic, in which it moves from being a minority to a mainstream interest.

Gothic Studies

This article investigates the emotive potency of horror soundtracks. The account illuminates the potency of aural elements in horror cinema to engage spectators body in the light of a philosophical framework of emotion, namely, the embodied appraisal theories of emotion. The significance of aural elements in horror cinema has been gaining recognition in film studies. Yet it still receives relatively scarce attention in the philosophical accounts of film music and cinematic horror, which tend to underappreciate the power of horror film sound and music in inducing emotions. My investigation aims both to address the lacuna, and facilitate dialogue between the two disciplines.

Film Studies

This essay proposes that the polyphonic and transgressive aspects of Gothic forms are influenced by music. It examines formal connections between the sonnets of Sturm und Drang poet, Friedrich Hölderlin, their musical setting by Benjamin Britten, and Susan Hill‘s novel The Bird of Night, arguing that Hill and Britten have, in common, processes of writing or musical composition which mix together disparate discursive or musical components. These inter-genre borrowings suggest that the sound and compositional practices of certain types of music allow for the expression of tensions, dualities, transformations and extreme states of mind which the Gothic novel has developed its own tropes to express.

Gothic Studies
Miscellaneous Remarks on Godards Conceptual Processes Apropos of Sauve qui peut (la vie)

Jean-Luc Godard‘s Sauve qui peut (la vie) holds a uniquely pivotal position in the directors oeuvre and provides the occasion for a case study in how he conceives and develops his works. Amongst the salient features of this process are Godard‘s invention of the ‘video-scenario’ format, enabling him to couch his ideas in visual rather than verbal form from the very moment of their inception; his desire to “look at things a bit scientifically”; and a use of commissioned and pre-existing music which lies at the very heart of his creative method.

Film Studies
Open Access (free)
Jazzing the Blues Spirit and the Gospel Truth in James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues”

The webs of musical connection are essential to the harmony and cohesion of James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues.” As a result, we must explore the spectrum of musical references Baldwin makes to unveil their delicate conjunctions. It is vital to probe the traditions of African-American music—Spirituals, Blues, Jazz, and Pop—to get a more comprehensive sense of how Baldwin makes use of music from the sacred and secular continuum in the African-American community. Looking more closely at the variety of African-American musical genres to which Baldwin refers in the story, we can discern even more the nuances of unity that Baldwin creates in his story through musical allusions, and shed greater light on Baldwin’s exploration of the complexities of African-American life and music, all of which have as their core elements of human isolation, loneliness, and despair ameliorated by artistic expression, hope, and the search for familial ties. Through musical intertextuality, Baldwin demonstrates not only how closely related seemingly disparate (in the Western tradition) musical genres are, but also shows that the elements of the community that these genres flow from and represent are much more in synchronization than they sometimes seem or are allowed to be. To realize kinship across familial (Creole), socio-economic (the brother), and most importantly for this paper appreciation and meanings of musical genres advances to Sonny the communal cup of trembling that is both a mode and an instance of envisioning and treating music in its unifying terms, seeing how they coalesce through a holistic vision.

James Baldwin Review
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The papers in this volume consider Gothic Ex/Changes, a concept at the heart of the essentially hybrid mode of Gothic, which constantly challenges prevailing orthodoxies. Papers foreground the confusion of boundaries and definitions of the human. A number take this examination of the hybrid into the realm of form and genre, including music and historiography. The analysis of Gothic in the collection demonstrates the way in which Gothic criticism has extended the subversive role of Gothic texts into the academy. It might be that as part of the ongoing process of change and exchange with a range of theoretical approaches, we are entering the period of ‘postGothic studies.’

Gothic Studies
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Goth Subcultures in Cyberspace

While Goths tend to be neglected in more mainstream media, they are thriving as part of online communities as part of the phenomenon of net.Goths. This paper considers some of the recent manifestations of such subcultural activities online, especially in relation to the practice of demarcating the boundaries of participation through displays of cultural capital (such as music and fashion), and aspects of communication that have emerged on the Internet such as ‘trolling’. The overarching concern of this paper is to explore some of the ways in which defining a subculture virtually may reinforce activities of the group in other environments.

Gothic Studies

Written in the aftermath of the civil rights era’s expansive hopes, James Baldwin’s last novel, Just Above My Head (1979), examines a fundamental issue, the choice between hope and skepticism, or prophecy and doubt. Baldwin approaches this issue by questioning two cornerstone ideas of his fiction, the need for prophetic art and this art’s focus on anticipating a renovated society, often pictured in terms adapted from apocalyptic biblical texts and Gospel music lyrics. Just Above My Head is Baldwin’s fullest presentation of this kind of art and its linkage to apocalyptic hopes. He dramatizes these ideas in the art of his Gospel singer protagonist, particularly in a climactic scene of artistic dedication whose Gospel lyric envisions “tearing down the kingdom of this world.” Yet Baldwin also unsparingly questions these same ideas through plot and the blues-inflected skeptical-tragic consciousness of his narrator. Responding to a 1970s moment when hopes for transcendent justice seemed passé, Just Above My Head’s unique contribution is not to try to resolve the ideas it counterposes, but to face both the possible falseness of prophetic hope and our continuing need for it, and to present the necessity for choice in a final dream that holds the key to the novel’s meaning. In presenting this issue through a sustained double-voiced narrative that reexamines its author’s artistic practice and raises fundamental choices in outlook and conduct, Just Above My Head evidences the continuing artistic vitality of Baldwin’s late fiction.

James Baldwin Review

This essay interweaves an analysis of Raymond Depardons short documentary film, 10 minutes de silence pour John Lennon (1980), with some broader reflections on time, cultural history, and silence. Shot in a single take, the film records the expressions, movements, and reactions of some of 200,000 mourners who gathered in Central Park to commemorate Lennons life six days after his death in December, 1980. Despite its observational form and aesthetic reticence, 10 minutes de silence renders unexpected coincidences of colour, perspective, gesture, and noise, spontaneous formations and patterns that resonate beyond the films actual moment and journalistic raison dêtre.

Film Studies