Wild, dark times are rumbling toward us, and
the prophet who wishes to write a new apocalypse will have to
invent entirely new beasts, and beasts so terrible that the
ancient animal symbols of St John will seem like cooing doves
and cupids in comparison. (Heinrich Heine, ‘Lutetia; or,
The American Gothic journeys of Jack Kerouac, Cormac McCarthy and Jim Crace
models of a threatened apocalypse. My argument is that Kerouac’s
novel provides a version of the ‘road’ which is echoed in
later post-environmental apocalyptic narratives such as Cormac
McCarthy’s The Road (2006) and Jim Crace’s The
Pesthouse (2007). Kerouac also elaborates a version of
subjectivity which underpins these later exercises in American Gothic as
they all attempt to theorize the
Neoliberalism, Zombies and the Failure of Free Trade
The popular cultural ubiquity of the zombie in the years following the Second World War is testament to that monster‘s remarkable ability to adapt to the social anxieties of the age. From the red-scare zombie-vampire hybrids of I Am Legend (1954) onwards, the abject alterity of the ambulant dead has been deployed as a means of interrogating everything from the war in Vietnam (Night of the Living Dead, 1968) to the evils of consumerism (Dawn of the Dead, 1978). This essay explores how, in the years since 9/11, those questions of ethnicity and gender, regionality and power that have haunted the zombie narrative since 1968 have come to articulate the social and cultural dislocations wrought by free-market economics and the shock doctrines that underscore the will to global corporatism. The article examines these dynamics through consideration of the figure of the zombie in a range of contemporary cultural texts drawn from film, television, graphic fiction, literature and gaming, each of which articulates a sense not only neo-liberalism itself has failed but simply wont lie down and die. It is therefore argued that in an age of corporate war and economic collapse, community breakdown and state-sanctioned torture, the zombie apocalypse both realises and works through the failure of the free market, its victims shuffling through the ruins, avatars of the contemporary global self.
Degeneration in the Holy Land and the House of Usher
Poe‘s preoccupation with degeneration, decay and dissolution is revealed in ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’, not only as synonymous with the image of the arabesque, but also as dependent on contrast with the word ‘Hebrew’. A reading of the Near East as Holy Land is made possible, Roderick Usher‘s decline likened to contemporary degeneration in terms of Palestine‘s decay. Poe‘s 1837 review of John Lloyd Stephen‘s Incidents of Travel in Egypt, Arabia, Petraea, and the Holy Land exposes his interests in biblical prophecy (including its unintelligibility and yet endurance), millennialism and apocalypse. These themes are transferred to ‘Usher’ as the houses destruction is aligned with the images and structures of biblical prophecy. The storys treatments of landscape and the house itself explore notions of constructed sacred space. In the 1837 review, describing the illumination of prophecy as ‘no less remarkable’ than its fulfilment, Poe underlines a theme of revelation that is fictionalized within ‘Usher’. Prophecy as storytelling within the text provides a means of examining Poe against the historical context in which he wrote. Other ways in which Poe‘s writings reveal nineteenth-century religious structures are potentially numerous when considered against the prophecy framework.
This book explores the cultural history of the female werewolf, from her first appearance in medieval literature to recent incarnations in film, television and popular literature. It focuses on folkloric records of the island of Saaremaa, Estonia, a territory in which, unusually, there are more folktales of female werewolves than male. The book also explores tropes and strategies of feminisation evident in Werewolf: The Apocalypse to reveal an almost unique disavowal of the masculine werewolf in favour of traditions of presenting the female werewolf. The examination of Honoré Beaugrand's 'The Werewolves' offers fruitful discussion of the female werewolf's integration into colonial discourse and narrative. In the nineteenth century, at the fin de siècle, female authors began to produce fiction about the female werewolf. Two of the most interesting examples of this, which have been curiously neglected by critics, are Clemence Housman's novella The Werewolf and Rosamund Marriott Watson's poem 'A Ballad of the Were-wolf', written under the pseudonym Graham R. Tomson and published in 1891. Then, the book examines twenty-first-century young adult paranormal romance texts, considering the ways in which such texts associate lycanthropy with contemporary idealisations and constructions of the post-adolescent female. It explores presentations of body-centred violence in film, drawing parallels between female werewolves and other violent females in horror cinema. Finally, the book also examines cinematic representations of the femme animale with an exploration of how this conceptualisation of the feminine might inform a reading of Ginger Snaps.
This book explores a number of Alan Moore's works in various forms, including comics, performance, short prose and the novel, and presents a scholarly study of these texts. It offers additional readings to argue for a politically charged sense of Moore's position within the Gothic tradition, investigates surreal Englishness in The Bojeffries Saga, and discusses the doppelganger in Swamp Thing and From Hell. Radical environmental activism can be conceived as a Gothic politics invoking the malevolent spectre of a cataclysmic eco-apocalypse. The book presents Christian W. Schneider's treatment of the apocalyptic in Watchmen and a reassessment of the significance of liminality from the Gothic tradition in V for Vendetta. It explores the relationship between Moore's work and broader textual traditions, placing particular emphasis on the political and cultural significance of intertextual relationships and adaptations. A historically sensitive reading of From Hell connects Moore's concern with the urban environment to his engagement with a range of historical discourses. The book elucidates Moore's treatment of the superhero in relation to key Gothic novels such as The Castle of Otranto and presents an analysis of the nexus of group politics and survival in Watchmen. The book also engages in Moore's theories of art, magic, resurrections, and spirits in its discourse A Small Killing, A Disease of Language, and the Voice of the Fire. It also explores the insight that his adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft, which are laced with heterocosms and bricolage, can yield for broader understandings of his forays into the occult.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse is a
table-top role-playing game (RPG), published by White Wolf in 1992.
Gameplay is based on a core rulebook (which may be augmented by
additional published material), used by a gamemaster or
‘storyteller’ to devise fictional worlds, scenarios and
characters with which player-created characters interact; character
creation and interaction is, in
blindly, squirming over
each other’, but facing a nihilistic horror: ‘in the
end, it is simply a picture of empty meaningless blackness. / We are
alone. / There is nothing else’ (VI.28.v–vii).
This declaration of futile existence in a meaningless
world is shaped less by the cruelties and sufferings of life than by
its imminent end. It becomes clear that a manmade apocalypse may
from the vampire mainly in that its act of going to power follows
after a human future has been graphically decided through apocalypse
( 1995 : 6). The zombie’s insightful
reflection of contemporary society thus lies in its essential
characteristic of a violent consumption that occurs past the point
when it might gain any lasting benefit from what it devours, and
Séraphita then is a parable of the
apocalypse. It is at once a revelation of the future which is yet to
come, an inauguration of that future, and a decoding of those
mysteries which have hidden the future from us. Prior to his
initiation by Séraphita, Wilfrid had nurtured dreams of world
conquest, of training a small race of northern people to dominate
Europe ‘shouting to these