Money, Commerce, Language, and the Horror of Modernity in ‘The Isle of Voices’
Money, not merely as subject in literature but also in its very form and function, exhibits qualities of spectral evanescence, fetishised power over the imagination, and the uncontrollable transgression of boundaries and limits, which closely parallel the concerns and anxieties of Gothic literature. Yet it is in the writings of economic theorists and commentators on market society like Adam Smith and Karl Marx that these Gothic anxieties about money are most clearly articulated. Stevensons short story ‘The Isle of Voices’, read in the context of his comments on money in his other writings, is one of the few fictional texts which uses these properties of money to create what might be called a ‘financial Gothic’ narrative, which nevertheless has insights and implications for the narratives of capitalist modernity in general.
This article discusses the manner in which the vampire fiction of contemporary
Ukrainian author Halyna Pahutiak enters into a dialogue with the global vampire
discourse whose core or ‘cultural capital’ finds its origins largely in Bram
Stoker’s novel Dracula (1897). Through discussion of thematic,
stylistic, and structural similarities and differences between Pahutiak and
Stoker’s portrayals of the vampire myth, my paper sheds light on the conscious
mythmaking strategies that Pahutiak employs to return the vampire symbolically
from the West to Eastern Europe where it originated, and reassess the core
characteristics of the Dracula myth.
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.
As Gothic works knock the stuffing out their subject and splatter the remains over the page and screen, their obsessive focus on an economy of decomposing bodies in distress makes a compelling case for the attraction they exert on materialist criticism. A broad and heterogeneous spectrum of left social and cultural critique has always relied on Gothic referents to make descriptive sense of the teratology of life within societies dominated by the bourgeoisie. Marx‘s Capital begins, after all, by seeing the ‘monstrous ungeheure accumulation of commodities’ as the symptom of something gone terribly wrong in liberal political economy.1 What, though, if the Gothic codex is more than simply ornamental language or images added to the otherwise dry bones of philosophical, political, and economic writings and is itself a mode of critical inquiry into capitalist modernity that may also interrogate classical Marxisms precepts and underexplored aspects? If Marxism has depended on Gothic referents to make its point, can Gothic return the favor by thinking through obstacles and potentialities within familiar Marxist claims? In this light, we mean ‘material Gothic’ as something greater than simply a less provocative name for Marxist-inflected readings of Gothic works, and understand it as a project in which Gothic studies can inform and reshape cultural and historical materialism.
Copenhagen is moreover the capital of the nation-state or kingdom of Denmark and Rigshospitalet is the Danish national hospital, while Lewistown is neither the state capital nor the largest city in Maine, which could also be regarded as a peripheral state in the United States, being small and bordering on Canada. Boston, on the other hand, is the state capital of Massachusetts and very important in terms of American national history and cultural development. Consequently, the geographically informed tension between Dr. Stegman and just about everybody else in Stephen King
was ideally suited for Hammer. Gothic tales provided non-specific European settings and a predilection for brooding narrative scenarios in appealingly malleable genre hybrids of horror and melodrama. Adapting Regency-period and Victorian literary works from the public domain was a pragmatic financial decision that balanced the economic capital of the studio with the cultural capital of the text but also granted artistic elasticity. The low cost of Curse ’s production meant that there were no great stakes if the film flopped. If, on the other hand, the film hit
Dark ecology is described as a form of aesthetics based on uncertainty and melancholy, and as an expression of the horrific and ugly aspects of ecology that, according to Morton, are essential to ecological awareness. Of particular interest is his discussion of the concept of ‘Nature’ and his definition of what ecological thinking should be about. His premise is that we must move away from the ‘ghost of “Nature”’, Nature with a capital N, an ‘ideal image’ of something that is remote or located in the past and separated from humankind.
Maria Holmgren Troy, Johan Höglund, Yvonne Leffler and Sofia Wijkmark
American productions that are related to what Troy calls ‘Gothic humour’. In terms of setting, the American adaptations are placed in small American towns rather than the central locations constituted by the Danish capital in Riget and the Stockholm suburb in Låt den rätte komma in . Whereas the American adaptations thus pertain to King's brand of small-town American Gothic, the Nordic works can be seen as a kind of urban Gothic. The settings, Troy suggests, also make visible ideological differences between the Nordic Gothic works and the American adaptations
Places and spaces in Johan Theorin’s Öland quartet series
the Swedish capital Stockholm and in a freezing cold northern Sweden. There are also Nordic crime stories situated in a small community known as an idyllic rural holiday area that during the police procedure is transformed into an ominous place, as in Henning Mankell's series about the Swedish police detective Kurt Wallander's work in and around the coastal holiday town of Ystad. Whatever the setting, the investigation of the crime exposes a morally complex society and a tension between the apparently calm social surface and the dark drives beneath and behind the
reach big audiences.
Danish Nattevagten (1994; Nightwatch ), a Gothic crime story by Ole Bornedal, was more successful, as was Joakim Ersgård's Swedish film Besökarna (1988; The Visitors ) about an urban family's move to a haunted house outside town.
An important breakthrough for Gothic in the Nordic region was Lars von Trier's TV drama Riget I-II (1994, 1997; The Kingdom ). This series is set in an urban environment in the Danish capital Copenhagen, inside a modern