Chatterjee argues that Fenwick in Secresy (1795) uses images of lesbian desire in order to challenge the then prevailing models of gender. Fenwick‘s associations with such Jacobins as William Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Mary Hays underline her radical credentials, and Chatterjee argues that Secresy develops feminist ideas drawn from Wollstonecraft. However she also argues that the novels focus on same-sex desire challenges the whole notion of gender ascriptions in the period and so ultimately moves the debate beyond Wollstonecraft.
Gothic fictions have, from their beginning, been fabrications. Shaped by their time, Anne Rice‘s vampire novels – Interview With The Vampire and The Vampire Lestat – participate in a logic of simulation: the former offers a nostalgic pastiche of Romantic and Baudelairean modernity; the latter an overblown reanimation of pagan and ancient mythologies. For all their nostalgia and recyclings, these postmodern romances remain tied to contemporary ahistorical and reversible axes of consumption and exhaustion, fatally in-human desiring and technological novelties, flaccid fantasies and tired trangressions.
In Alien3 Lt Ellen Ripley finds herself in a nightmare scenario. She has crash-landed on an abandoned prison planet, ‘Fury 161’, surrounded by a remnant of the inmate population (twenty-five prisoners, a medical officer and two administrators who have opted to remain in a care-taking capacity after the prison/refinery was closed). The prisoners are a violent group of rapists and murderers with double-y chromosome coding, who can only seem to control their excessive expressions of masculinity by fanatically embracing a fundamentalist religion. Ripley sums up the group as ‘a bunch of lifers who found God at the ass-end of space’. On one level, this setting begs for a story of male homosexuality: an all-male prison planet filled with sexual aggressors could be the recipe for a gay male porn classic. Instead, it becomes a tale of excessive masculinity manifested through heterosexual fears and desires. I want to take this discrepancy between homo-possibilities and hetero-manifestations as my point of departure to explore how Alien3s engagement with the Gothic diverts and expresses anxieties about queer masculinity, desire, and sexuality.
Character Doubling and Social Critique in the Short Fiction
A. A. Markley
As she had done in Frankenstein, Mary Shelley reworked the gothic dopplegänger motif time and again in her short fiction not only to entertain but also to educate her readers. Focusing on four tales written in the late 1820s and early 1830s, this paper considers how Shelley repeatedly set up a triangle of desire in which an intensely competitive and destructive relationship between men is mitigated or resolved by a female character. A close look at these tales contributes to our understanding of the extent to which Mary Shelley devoted herself to remodelling Gothic modes. More importantly, these tales demonstrate the degree to which her ‘New Gothic’ was intended to contribute to a reconfiguration of traditional gender roles and a revaluation of the domestic affections, particularly in terms of their relevance to the political arena.
Angela Carter‘s Exposure of Flesh-Inscribed Stereotypes
The human body is a crucial site for the inscription of cultural paradigms: how people are perceived controls the way they are treated. Postmodernist writers have shown sexual roles, racial inequalities and other forms of discrimination to be parts of a process of reductio ad absurdum, consisting of the identification of the individual‘s social functions with their anatomical features as well as with the habitual marking of their bodies. This article examines Angela Carter‘s The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman where Carter‘s refusal of established body politics is most clearly dramatised. This novel exposes the dreary consequences of power/weakness relations, together with its contradictory exploitation of Gothic devices, making it an esssential testimony to Carter‘s postmodernist reconfiguration of worldviews and narrative modes.
This article considers how the reburial and commemoration of the human remains of the
Republican defeated during the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) is affected by the social,
scientific and political context in which the exhumations occur. Focusing on a particular
case in the southwestern region of Extremadura, it considers how civil society groups
administer reburial acts when a positive identification through DNA typing cannot be
attained. In so doing, the article examines how disparate desires and memories come
together in collective reburial of partially individuated human remains.
The article analyzes the relationship between social laws and the self in Gothic fiction, and argues that contemporary English Gothic fiction enacts the way subjects adhere to social practices and structures. In this scenario, characters are monsters of social conformity and docility. On this basis, Susan Hill‘s The Mist in the Mirror and The Woman in Black can be interpreted as critiques of the masculine quest for identity by means of adherence to the family as institution and habitus. The novels represent this process of ideological adherence by creating a dehistoricized plot and setting haunted by a ghost exerting what Bourdieu calls symbolic violence on the protagonists, and from which women have been absented.
The open road is popularly imagined as both cinematic and male, a space suited to the scope afforded by the cinema and the breadth demanded by the male psyche. However, while these connotations are ingrained within the aesthetics of driving, its kinaesthetics – the articulations between bodies, movement and space – have more in common with television and with stories of women’s desire. Drawing from Iris Marion Young’s theories of gendered embodiment, this article argues that driving, television and female desire are all marked by the same contradictions between movement and stability, and between public and private. It analyses two recent television programmes concerned with women behind the wheel – Black Mirror’s ‘San Junipero’ (Netflix, 2016) and the first two seasons of Big Little Lies (HBO, 2017–present) – to argue that driving on television affords a space through which to negotiate feminine embodiment, agency and desire.
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.
One key aspect of characterization is the construction of character psychology, the
attribution to fictional representations of beliefs and desires, personality traits,
and moods and emotions. Characters are products of social cognition, the human
propensity for making sense of others. However, they are also products of artists who
fashion them to appeal to our nature as social beings. Through an analysis of Todd
Solondz‘s Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995), this paper describes three processes of
social cognition which are crucial for audiovisual characterization: folk psychology,
causal attribution, and emotion expressions.