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The Ghaistly Eighteenth Century

This article proposes that the popularly held model of ‘Gothic’ writings emergence in the Eighteenth Century is too partial: it tends to privilege prose fiction written in England in the latter part of the century. As a corrective, the article looks at poetry written in Scotland across the century, seeking not origins for ‘the Gothic’ as a transhistorical literary mode of expression, but emergent treatments of the supernatural that fed back into the literature of the period. It argues that poetry in eighteenth-century Scotland develops well-established indigenous supernatural tropes, especially that of the ‘ghaist’ or ghost.

Gothic Studies
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Cinema, Horror and the Abominations of Hell

Beginning from a consideration of some ideas on aesthetics deriving from R. G. Collingwood, this essay sets Dreyer‘s Vampyr beside Fulcis The Beyond. The article then goes on to suggest something of the nature of the horror film, at least as exemplified by these two works, by placing them against the background of certain poetic procedures associated with the post-symbolist poetry of T. S. Eliot.

Film Studies
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Felicia Hemans and Burial at Sea in the Nineteenth-Century Imaginary

This article identifies sea-burial as a topos of the early nineteenth-century imaginary that draws on both Gothic tropes and Romantic reformulations of Gothic aesthetics in order to signal a sea changed poetics of shifting dislocation, decay, and denial in the work of Felicia Hemans. The loss of a corpse at sea makes visible the extent to which any act of posthumous identification relies upon a complex network actively maintained by the living. This article will also develop our understanding of the ways in which Gothic tropes of burial might extend into specifically maritime literary cultures of the early nineteenth century. This strand of a nautical Gothic reflects not only nineteenth-century anxieties about nautical death but the corporeality of both individual and cultural memory. Such representations of sea-burial negotiate a nautical Gothic aesthetic that might propel new understanding of the relationship between poetry and the material dimensions of affective memorialization.

Gothic Studies
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James Baldwin and the Broken Silences of Black Queer Men

James Baldwin writes within and against the testimonial tradition emerging from the Black Church, challenging the institution’s refusal to acknowledge the voices and experiences of black queer men. Baldwin’s autobiographical novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain, creates a space for Baldwin’s testimony to be expressed, and also lays the foundation for a tradition of black queer artists to follow. In the contemporary moment, poet Danez Smith inhabits Baldwin’s legacy, offering continuing critiques of the rigidity of conservative Christian ideologies, while publishing and performing poetry that gives voice to their own experiences, and those of the black queer community at large. These testimonies ultimately function as a means of rhetorical resistance, which not only articulates black queer lives and identities, but affirms them.  

James Baldwin Review
Poe‘s Anti-Representational Invocations of the Near East

Poe‘s poetry and fiction are full of cultural and religious references to the Near East. This essay suggests that Poe‘s invocations of the Near East are part of a deliberately anti-representational strategy for dealing with cultural difference that constitutes part of Poe‘s understanding of one of his most central concepts, the ‘arabesque’. This anti-representational strategy is built on Poe‘s sympathetic reading of texts associated with the Near East, Islam, and Arab and Persian cultures.

Gothic Studies
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Norse Terror in the Late Eighteenth to Early Nineteenth Centuries

Antiquarian efforts to revive Old Norse poetry brought about an interest in Germanic superstition that could be exploited by literary writers. This article examines a subspecies of terror writing which took inspiration from Norse literature. Compared to the Catholic settings of many Gothic novels, Norse-inflected writing provided an alternative. It is a little known fact that the Old Norse religion and literature was used as a prism through which Britains ethnically Gothic past could be viewed and negotiated. The article discusses some examples of how the fashion for thrills was combined with a national project to recover a sense of ancestral heroism.

Gothic Studies

In a recent edition of Atlantic Studies, Hester Blum outlined the methodological approaches appropriate to the emergent field of oceanic studies, arguing that such work should prioritise the oceans material conditions, their nonhuman scale and depth andmulti-dimensional flux. Our aims in this essay are twofold: to consider the implications oceanic studies has for scholars of the Gothic while also considering the ways in which there is already a decidedly Gothic dimension to a critical framework championing nonhuman scale and depth and multi-dimensional flux. The literary analysis for this essay is rooted in a range of Gothic sea poetry. The poems explorations of depth, we argue, assert the prominence and pre-eminence of the uncanny nonhuman forms inhabiting the ocean, while the deep is shown to be a site haunted by the accumulation of history in which past blends with present, and where spatiality and temporality become unmoored from and exceed their traditional (or terrestrial) qualities.

Gothic Studies
The Kinship Metaphor in the Age of Byron

Although many Gothic novels conclude with contained restorations of patrilineal inheritance, others subvert primogeniture by perpetuating birthright through a non-traditional line. Such transgressions of Gothic primogeniture become even more pronounced during the Romantic era - particularly in the works of Byron, such as Cain and Don Juan. In the latter, Juan‘s nuptial dilemmas reflect several primogenitary issues of deep concern during the eighteenth century - including the preservation intact of patrilineal property, the containment of an increasing marriage age, and the extension of political alliances through marital exogamy. At the same time, these primogenitary issues also reveal a striking parallel between the handing down of inheritance and the handing down of texts. Finally, such a parallel also extends to the economic foundation of both inherited and textual property. As a result, Byron‘s poetry links both realms to Malthusian demographics, female commodification, and the paper currency crisis of the era.

Gothic Studies
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Violence and Miscegenation in Jean Toomer‘s ‘Blood- Burning Moon’

Jean Toomer‘s Cane (1923) has long been considered a signature text of both avant-garde Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance. While Gothic tropes and imagery lurk throughout Toomer‘s collection of poetry and prose, Anglo-American Gothic conventions come to the foreground in the story ‘Blood-Burning Moon’. The story‘s interracial love triangle provides a locus of conflict between the post-Reconstruction American South and the haunting economic logic of slavery. Though the three characters each aspire to new racial, sexual and economic identities, they are terrorized by a society where employer-employee relations cannot escape the violence of the master-slave dialectic. Toomer does not relinquish his aesthetic experimentation and political radicalism to the Anglo-American Gothic, but instead engages the Gothic form in order to critique the violent racism of American capitalism. In this way, Toomer positions the Gothic centrally within African-American literary and cultural history.

Gothic Studies