PART III Strategies of translation, mitigation
and exchange In all
societies … the issue of death throws into relief the most important
cultural values by which people live their lives and evaluate their
experiences. Life becomes transparent against the background of death, and
fundamental social and cultural issues are revealed. Richard
Huntington and Peter Metcalf
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.
The papers in this volume consider Gothic Ex/Changes, a concept at the heart of the essentially hybrid mode of Gothic, which constantly challenges prevailing orthodoxies. Papers foreground the confusion of boundaries and definitions of the human. A number take this examination of the hybrid into the realm of form and genre, including music and historiography. The analysis of Gothic in the collection demonstrates the way in which Gothic criticism has extended the subversive role of Gothic texts into the academy. It might be that as part of the ongoing process of change and exchange with a range of theoretical approaches, we are entering the period of ‘postGothic studies.’
There is danger in a prolonged gaze, for it projects you into what you see. Julio Cortázar‘s story ‘Axolotl’ describes the narrators fascination with a species of salamander notable particularly for their eyes, that he discovers in the aquarium of the Jardin des Plantes. Near the story‘s end the narrator loses himself in those eyes and suddenly sees his own face pressed against the aquarium glass: he has become an axolotl. The exchange depicted here is akin to the trajectories of the gaze as depicted in Lacans Seminar XI. Together these two works suggest a gothic optics of uncanny power.
In this introduction, we consider the intersection of two much debated and controversial concepts: postfeminism and Gothic, and we designate a new analytical category of ‘Postfeminist Gothic’. We suggest that postfeminism and Gothic are linked by their eschewal of a binary logic and their ‘anxiety about meaning’. As we contend, ‘Postfeminist Gothic’ moves beyond the Female Gothic with its historical associations with second wave feminism and female/feminine victimisation and it circumscribes a new space for critical exchange that re-examines notions of gender, agency and oppression.
Interviewing can be a vampiric act especially when it involves leeching from its subject
the fluidic exchange which exists between life and art. The vampire novelist Anne Rice had
agreed to let me interview her at Waterstones Bookshop in Bristol, England, on 26 January
1993 about the fourth book in her Vampire Chronicles, The Tale of the Body
Thief (1992). In the interview she describes the novel as dealing with the
differences between art and life and mortality and immortality. Specifically, the story
examines the paradox of choosing to be Undead for the sake of life, and the way in which
art opens up a locus for a redemption that is outside of life. In my view, the text is as
much about the process of interviewing as about authorship. A more obvious example is
Rice‘s well-known novel Interview with the Vampire (1976) in which the
hapless interviewer eventually enters into the very narrative he is recording by becoming
another Ricean revenant.
This book presents a study that is an attempt to understand the phenomenal
increase in the production and demand for stained glass between about 1835 and
1860. The book provides both history and context for thousands of Victorian
stained-glass windows that exist in churches across the country. It aims to: ask
why people became interested in stained glass; examine how glass-painters set up
their studios; and understand how they interacted with each other and their
patrons. To understand why so many windows were commissioned and made in the
Victorian period, readers need to understand how buying a stained-glass window
became a relatively ordinary thing to do. In order to examine this, the book
focuses on those who wrote or spoke about stained glass in the formative years
of the revival. It is important to look at the production of stained glass as a
cultural exchange: a negotiation in both financial and cultural terms that was
profitable for both glass-painter and patron. The history of Victorian stained
glass allows an examination of many other areas of nineteenth-century cultural
history. Readers can learn a lot about the aesthetics of the Gothic Revival,
ecclesiology, the relationship between 'fine' and
'decorative' art, and the circulation of art history in the 1840s.
While many interesting glass-painters have necessarily been omitted, the author
hopes that the case studies in the book will provide a point of reference for
the research of future scholars.
The essays in this book demonstrate the importance of translation and European writing in the development of the Gothic novel. Cross-cultural exchanges occurred with the translation of novels by English writers into French. The book first situates works by British writers and American writers within a European context and legacy. Next, it offers readings of less-known works by Gothic authors. The book introduces the reader to a range of neglected, albeit influential, European Gothic texts which originated in Russian, Spanish, French and German. It argues that the level of ideological manipulation, which occurred as texts were translated, mistranslated, appropriated, misappropriated, altered and adapted from one language to another, was so considerable and so systematic that generic mutations were occasioned. The book suggests that Matthew Lewis's The Monk offers a few models of femininity, all deriving from and intended to disrupt, previous literary representations. It focuses on the automatic and the systematic in Charles Maturin's work in relation to Denis Diderot's contemporary philosophical conceptualizations of consciousness and identity. Gothic treacheries are dealt with through Samuel Coleridge's analysis of misappropriation of Friedrich Schiller's Die Rauber. The book also discusses the representations of ritual violence, as sanctioned by the Catholic Church, in English and Spanish pictorial and literary texts between 1796 and 1834. It talks about the Arabesque narrative technique of embedding tales within tales to create a maze in which even the storyteller becomes lost, reflecting the Eastern notion that the created is more important than the creator.
Commodification, corporeality and paranormal romance in Angela Carter’s beast tales
is opposed to spirit in Christian dualism, where the price to pay for being human is the mortification of the flesh. But Carter overturns this.
‘Peter and the Wolf’ takes place in a feudal world before the onset of generalised commodity exchange that is capitalism, yet it is at the threshold of modernity. In the tale, an old village woman goes up to see her daughter in the mountains as she is due to give birth. She finds the mother dead and no child but traces of wolves. Some years later, her grandson Peter goes up into the mountains with his
This book addresses a number of concerns that have emerged in recent scholarship on the nineteenth century. It contributes to existing dialogues that consider how the nineteenth century can be thought about and critically rethought through literature and other kinds of textual production. The book offers a theoretical consideration of the concept of the nineteenth century by considering Walter Benjamin's famous work The Arcades Project, focusing on Arnold Bennett's entitled 'The Rising Storm of Life'. It outlines how recent developments in Gothic studies have provided new ways of critically reflecting upon the nineteenth century. The book draws attention to the global scope of Victorian literature, and explores the exchanges which took place between Indian and British cultures. It argues that attending to the fashioning of American texts by British publishers enables people to rethink the emergence of American literature as a material as well as an imaginative phenomenon. The relationship between literature and the European anatomical culture is carried out by exploring nineteenth-century narratives from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein in the first decades of the nineteenth-century to Charles Dickens's fiction in the 1860s. Historical fiction writers' persistent fascination with the long nineteenth century enacts a simultaneous drawing near to and distancing from the period, the lives of its inhabitants and its cultural icons, aesthetic discourses and canonical works. Adaptive practice in the neo-Victorian novel, applied both to Victorian literary precursors and the period more generally, may be better described as adaptive reuse or, perhaps appropriative reuse.