Recent criticism has increasingly asserted the centrality of gothic in the Canadian canon, and explicitly gothic conceptions of the forested and frozen North inform several of Margaret Atwood‘s novels, poems, essays and short stories. Her haunted wilderness settings are sites for the negotiation of identity and power relationships. This essay focuses on her 1970 poem sequence The Journals of Susanna Moodie and her short story `Death by Landscape (from her 1991 Wilderness Tips collection), considering them in relation to critical models of postcolonial gothic.
This is the first English language publication of an interview with James Baldwin
(1924–87) conducted by Nazar Büyüm in 1969, Istanbul, Turkey. Deemed too long for
conventional publication at the time, the interview re-emerged last year and reveals
Baldwin’s attitudes about his literary antecedents and influences such as Richard Wright,
Langston Hughes, and Countee Cullen; his views concerning the “roles” and “duties” of a
writer; his assessment of his critics; his analysis of the power and message of the Nation
of Islam; his lament about the corpses that are much of the history and fact of American
life; an honest examination of the relationship of poor whites to American blacks; an
interrogation of the “sickness” that characterizes Americans’ commitment to the fiction
and mythology of “race,” as well as the perils and seductive nature of American power.
A Hollywood Love Story (as Written by James Baldwin)
D. Quentin Miller
Baldwin’s The Devil Finds Work (1976) has proven challenging since its publication because readers and critics have trouble classifying it. The challenge may be related to a common feature of Baldwin criticism, namely a tendency to compare late career works to early ones and to find them lacking: the experimental nature of later works of nonfiction like No Name in the Street (1972), The Devil Finds Work, and The Evidence of Things Not Seen (1985) does not square easily with the more conventional essays that made Baldwin famous in his early years. I attempt to reframe The Devil Finds Work not through a comparison to other Baldwin essays, but rather through a comparison to his fiction, specifically the novel Giovanni’s Room. I posit that a greater appreciation for Devil can result from thinking of it as a story, specifically the story of a failed love affair.
James Baldwin’s Radicalism and the Evolution of His Thought on
This article traces the evolution of James Baldwin’s discourse on the
Arab–Israeli conflict as connected to his own evolution as a Black
thinker, activist, and author. It creates a nuanced trajectory of the
transformation of Baldwin’s thought on the Arab–Israeli conflict
and Black and Jewish relations in the U.S. This trajectory is created through
the lens of Baldwin’s relationship with some of the major radical Black
movements and organizations of the twentieth century: Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammad
and the Nation of Islam, and, finally, the Black Power movement, especially the
Black Panther Party. Using Baldwin as an example, the article displays the
Arab–Israeli conflict as a terrain Black radicals used to articulate
their visions of the nature of Black oppression in the U.S., strategies of
resistance, the meaning of Black liberation, and articulations of Black
identity. It argues that the study of Baldwin’s transformation from a
supporter of the Zionist project of nation-building to an advocate of
Palestinian rights and national aspirations reveals much about the ideological
transformations of the larger Black liberation movement.
The Urban Gothic of Fin-de-Siècle London and Gotham
Gothic literature set in fin-de-siècle London has often been argued to highlight
duality. However, the urban Gothic truly flourishes through its liminality,
which allows chaos and order to coexist. Texts such as Robert Louis Stevenson’s
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of
Dorian Gray offer versions of a Gothic London that have the appearance of
structure but are difficult to navigate. Likewise, the Batman franchise has
embraced Gotham City as a setting that provides tensions between order and
chaos. In Gotham, as in fin-de-siècle London, liminality puts pressures on
apparent boundaries. While the urban Gothic initially developed through
nineteenth century British texts, modern-day comics and films within the Batman
franchise have allowed us to see how a multiverse normalises liminality and
embraces multiple works to speak collectively about Gothic tensions. This
article analyses the liminal nature of the urban Gothic in both cities side by
side to argue that the urban Gothic’s liminal nature allows instability to
Ever since the publication of Frankenstein, the Gothic has been
read as an expression of the fears associated with scientific, technological,
and medical advances. This essay argues that obstetrical medicine, from
midwifery to obstetrics, is the most Gothic of medical pursuits because of its
blurring of boundaries between male and female, natural and supernatural,
mechanical and organic, life and death. From subterraneous passages to
monstrosity, the professionalization of obstetrics over the course of the
eighteenth century and into the nineteenth reads like a Gothic novel. Tracing
the parallels between the Gothic aesthetic and several fictional and
quasifictional accounts of obstetrical ‘stories’ - from the Warming Pan Scandal
of 1688 to the work of Scottish obstetrician William Smellie and man mid-wife
William Hunter - this essay demonstrates the Gothic nature of reproductive
Drunkenness and the Southern Gothic in Flannery O’Connor‘s The Violent Bear It Away
Lindsey Michael Banco
This essay explores a link, previously unremarked, in the Southern Gothic novelist Flannery O’Connors The Violent Bear It Away (1960) between the drunkenness of the novels protagonist and the idiot child he is compelled to baptize. Inspired by the possibility that much of the canon of American literature contains a symbolic economy of alcohol – what John Crowley calls ‘the White Logic’ – I argue that aligning the child with intoxication produces a poetics of addiction that helps explain the redemptive, revelatory climax of the novel in which O’Connors protagonist fulfills his religious destiny. The novel thus calls for a more complex understanding in American Gothic literature of the protean nature of intoxication.
Becoming-Fungus in Arthur Machen‘s The Hill of Dreams
This paper examines the role fungi play in Arthur Machen‘s Decadent classic The Hill of Dreams (1907), a supernatural novel written in the 1890s. Ostensibly an idiosyncratic topic, the novels concern with these organisms devolves on an inquiry into the nature of life itself, of whether it is the result of a spiritual life-force or a haphazard assemblage of matter. In this way, Machen‘s novel participates in the fin de siècle debates between vitalism and materialism. Rather than attempting to resolve this debate, the novel seizes on tensions inherent in fungal life in order to dissolve the concept of life altogether, to suggest its horrifying unreality.
In this essay I argue that Frankenstein‘s monster, as a being constructed, in part, from nonhuman animal remains obtained from slaughterhouses, is literally a bizarre by-product of meat-eating. Frankensteins monster is a ‘monster’ because he is meat that was not consumed and brought back to life. What was intended for the human table comes to life and threatens the social order. The fact that the monster is a vegetarian thus becomes essential for an understanding of Shelley‘s novel. The Gothic narrative of Frankenstein is not one of a supernatural nature; rather the Gothic narrative within the text is the one that confronts the seemingly natural system of carnivorism.
This article uses Franco Moretti‘s interpretation of Frankenstein and Dracula (Signs Taken For Wonders, 1988) to interrogate Dennis Potter‘s final television play, Cold Lazarus (1996). The critical approach, following Moretti‘s example, is generic, Freudian and Marxist. By identifying the conventions of Gothic drama in Potter‘s play, it claims, firstly, that Cold Lazarus dramatizes deep-seated psychic neuroses; and secondly, alerts its viewers to contemporary cultural anxieties about individual autonomy and the exploitative nature of capitalist enterprise. The argument challenges the predominantly negative reception of Cold Lazarus when first screened in 1994 and aims to defend this play as a fine example of televisual Gothic drama.