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Changing Icons, Changing Times

The article surveys two centuries of Gothic Revivals in the architecture and popular culture of the United States, from the Carpenter Gothic of 1830-1860 through the castle-building of the Gilded Age and the Gothic Revival structures of the early twentieth century to todays Renaissance Faires. American Gothic is fantastic, ‘reviving’ a time and place that never existed on those shores. The earlier Gothic Revival castles represented an aristocratic and anti-democratic tradition, while in the twentieth century, Gothic revival styles are postmodern and ephemeral. These outward manifestations of the Gothic image in America show how fascination with the medieval was transformed from a pastime of the wealthy few to the masscult many, one way in which North America has appropriated and transformed the European Middle Ages through serious architectural practice and market-driven parody of the Gothic.

Gothic Studies
An Introduction

This essay introduces this special issue on ‘Romanticism and the “New Gothic”’, which contains revisions of essays presented at a special seminar at the 1999 joint conferences of the International Gothic Association (IGA) and the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism (NASSR) held in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Hogle argues that the ‘Gothic’ as a highly counterfeit and generically mixed mode in the eighteenth century was a quite new, rather than revived old, aesthetic which allowed for the disguised projection - or really abjection - of current middle-class cultural fears into symbols that only seemed antiquated, supernatural, or monstrous on the surface. Romantic writers thus faced this mode as a symbolic location where feared anomalies of their own moment could be faced and displaced, and such writers reacted to this possibility using some similar and quite different techniques. Post-Romantic writers, in turn, ranging from Emily Dickinson all the way to the writers and directors of modern films with Gothic elements, have since proceeded to make the Gothic quite new again, in memory of and reaction to Romantic-era uses of the new Gothic. This recurrent remaking of the Gothic comes less from the survival of certain features and more from the cultural purposes of displacing new fears into symbols that recall both the eighteenth-century Gothic and Romantic redactions of it. The papers in this special issue cover different points in this history of a complex relationship among aesthetic modes.

Gothic Studies

In American and Canadian literature of the nineteenth century, indigenous peoples of North America were frequently equated with wild animals, particularly wolves. The parallel between wolves and Native Americans first emerged during America’s colonial period in the seventeenth century, when Northeastern tribes and wolves came to represent the colonists’ fight for survival in the

in She-wolf
The Puritan influence on American Gothic nature

North American deforestation in the late twentieth century, it very much is possible to remain lost. Despite their reliance on maps, a compass, backpacking gear and their non-stop filming, they cannot escape; and, ultimately, they are swallowed up by the forest, never to be found again. Environmental concerns were probably far from the directors’ minds when they filmed The Blair Witch Project

in Ecogothic
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Defining the ecoGothic

variously questions, compromises and challenges the way in which the world has been understood. The Romantic context sketched here is one addressed in the opening chapter of this book by Lisa Kröger. However, debates about the environment are also nationally inflected and Bate acknowledges an alternative North American strand of ecological writing that was inaugurated by Thoreau’s Walden (1854). The role

in Ecogothic
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Gregory Nava’s Bordertown and the dark side of NAFTA

In the past twenty years, hundreds of women have been murdered in the border town of Juárez, Mexico, and thousands more have gone missing. 1 Many of them worked in the mainly foreign-owned factories known as maquiladoras that once promised to make Ciudad Juárez a showcase for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and for neoliberalism on

in Neoliberal Gothic
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Neoliberal gothic

economics continues to exert a hold on all our lives. The final chapter in the collection is Agnieszka Soltysik Monnet’s ‘Border gothic: Gregory Nava’s Bordertown and the dark side of NAFTA’. This examines the Mexican–American border as a gothic space created by a combination of postcolonial power relations and the new economic and political conditions created by the North

in Neoliberal Gothic
Nordic Gothic and colonialism

Since the late 1970s, Gothic has typically been understood as a genre launching a furtive yet often strongly subversive critique of Enlightenment and modernity. Gothic helped identify and interrogate the various ills that this era's faith in rationality and turn towards liberal capitalism produced. One of the gravest such ills was colonialism, a project that generated tremendous wealth in Europe and North America, but also incomprehensible suffering through slavery, genocide, poverty and war in the Global South. 1

in Nordic Gothic
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A writer’s perspective

destined to devour Odin himself during Ragnarök, and though we also find other, tamer wolves, such as Geri and Freki, Odin's pets, it should be noted that their names respectively mean ‘greedy’ and ‘voracious’. 12 Many other negative portrayals of the wolf can be found in world mythologies, but this is not the whole story. Some cultures have represented better characteristics of the animal and have even revered them, one such being the First Nations of North America. Native North American mythologies

in In the company of wolves
Transformations and animal selves in contemporary women’s poetry

the wolf in Yellowstone. It could equally well be a fantasy, located nowhere in particular. Brian Johnson argues that in a North American context ‘it is necessary to situate representations of popular animal species within a postcolonial framework of analysis that remains critical to settler-invader nationalism’. 29 Rewilding debates in the USA often revolve around notions of returning a cultured landscape to wilderness, ignoring or overwriting historical and contemporary indigenous land use. As

in In the company of wolves