This article uses Franco Moretti‘s interpretation of Frankenstein and Dracula (Signs Taken For Wonders, 1988) to interrogate Dennis Potter‘s final television play, Cold Lazarus (1996). The critical approach, following Moretti‘s example, is generic, Freudian and Marxist. By identifying the conventions of Gothic drama in Potter‘s play, it claims, firstly, that Cold Lazarus dramatizes deep-seated psychic neuroses; and secondly, alerts its viewers to contemporary cultural anxieties about individual autonomy and the exploitative nature of capitalist enterprise. The argument challenges the predominantly negative reception of Cold Lazarus when first screened in 1994 and aims to defend this play as a fine example of televisual Gothic drama.
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.
readership to the cultivation of successful and financially lucrative international careers by particularly savvy authors. 3
The evidence of Roche's lasting fame and influence presented in Chapter 4 draws attention to the many overlooked Irish novelists who published with Lane in the Romantic period. 4 It also underlines the importance of readers in the determination of literary relevance and impact. As Franco Moretti aptly puts it, ‘Readers, not professors, make canons’. There is ‘[a] space outside the school’, Moretti suggests, ‘where
exclusion creates, in consequence, established gothic literary canons that now need to be interrogated to account for the texts – including ‘Conjugal fidelity’ – that have fallen victim to what Franco Moretti aptly terms ‘the slaughterhouse of literature’. 8 These are works that are not generally considered gothic by the retrospectively defined ‘rules’ of ‘Irish Gothic’ or ‘the Gothic novel’ but which, when viewed through the lens of historical constructions of the term gothic, might reasonably be described as such. In their deviation from imposed gothic norms, ‘Conjugal
also exposes humans as capable of
being as equally murderous as vampires.
Franco Moretti’s essay ‘The dialectic of
fear’ has proved influential in the critique of Gothic fiction,
opening the way for analysis of the monster, especially the vampire, as
metaphor. From Moretti’s own equation of Bram Stoker’s
Dracula with capitalism, the vampire has been read as symbolic of a
Bailing out banks at the expense of ordinary people is something
experienced in the European debt crisis, with Cyprus being the most
recent example, and makes Matt Taibbi’s comparison of Goldman
Sachs (and every other big bank) to a ‘great vampire
squid’ very timely ( 2010 ).
Beginning with Dracula and Franco
Moretti’s reading of Dracula as an ascetic, I want to move
’ (p. 237). It is this
displacement into the country which shifts the focus onto Holmes, an
examination of this shift reveals how it functions as a trope for the
displacement of masculinity.
Franco Moretti in his Atlas of
the European Novel 1800–1900 maps (literally) the scenes
of crime and Holmes’s movements across London
an entire society should stand around engrossed, reading
Dracula while up to our jugulars in blood’. 37 The implication that
the Gothic could be an escapist distraction from reality aligns with
Franco Moretti’s argument that Gothic metaphors filter social
threats and anxieties, dislocating ‘the antagonisms and
horrors evidenced within society to outside society itself
consumed literary discourses
under colonialism even in America. It follows that the Gothic
quickly became part of a world-literary system along the lines
theorised by Franco Moretti ( 2011 ) and as
such, elsewhere, outside of Europe, it entered into a compromise
with local literary conventions and forms of representation. One
such compromise was the Indian compromise. The question
by internal power shifts, echoes a
concern with a reverse colonialism that is most clearly exemplified in
Dracula’s (1897) account of an Eastern European
(largely Jewish) invasion of modern Britain. 17
It is difficult to isolate social, racial, and national
prejudices from debates about the ownership of the economic system.
Franco Moretti claims that Stoker’s Count (a demonstrably