This article defends the view that Gothic Studies should encourage research on contemporary gothic youth cultures from a Cultural Studies point of view. This is justified on two grounds: research on these youth cultures is a unique chance to consider gothic as a living cultural practice and not just as textual analysis mostly disengaged from the present; on the other hand, these subcultures are currently under attack by the media and moral minorities, especially in the USA, and Gothic Studies could - maybe should - help correct this regrettable situation born of prejudice against, and ignorance about, Gothic itself. The article reviews the embarrassing position of the Gothic Studies researcher today as regards gothic youth cultures and calls for the reinforcement of the poor knowledge we have of the evolution of these cultures in the last 20 years.
This Introduction by John Whatley to ‘Gothic Cults and Gothic Cultures 2: Historical Gothic’, his second issue as guest editor of Gothic Studies, begins with a brief summary of some of the conclusions found in Gothic Studies 4/2, and goes on to explain how the seven new articles in 5/1 explore the relations between Gothic cults and cultures in their historical dimensions. The articles illustrate how threats posed by conspiratorial groups of the Gothic past were responsible for the infiltration of the spectral and uncanny into everyday life, so the fear of dangerous ideas and conspiracies figures in the apparitions and phantoms of Gothic culture. To help contextualise the articles, this Introduction outlines the shapes and origins of cults in the Gothic texts of the past, for example in religious sects and robber bands. A summary of each article then follows.
Fitzgerald argues that Ellen Moers‘s account of the Female Gothic has its roots in a Lockean, European Enlightenment, philosophy of ownership. For Fitzgerald, this philosophy also influenced a 1970s feminist revision of the canon that involved identifying, and reclaiming, a ‘herstory’ of womens writing. Issues concerning the critical ownership of Ann Radcliffe, for example, illustrate how academic feminism has approached, and developed, the idea of what constitutes ‘womens writing’, whilst simultaneously indicating the extent to which Enlightenment ideas of ownership have shaped the Anglo-American feminist tradition.
The official journal of the International Gothic Association considers the field
of Gothic studies from the eighteenth century to the present day. The aim of
Gothic Studies is not merely to open a forum for dialogue and cultural
criticism, but to provide a specialist journal for scholars working in a field
which is today taught or researched in almost all academic establishments.
Gothic Studies invites contributions from scholars working within any period of
the Gothic; interdisciplinary scholarship is especially welcome, as are readings
in the media and beyond the written word.
The Editor introduces and explains the theme of this issue. The articles explore the relation between Gothic cults and Gothic cultures from the perspectives of a number of discipline. This issue of Gothic Studies concentrates on the modern and postmodern Gothic. The next issue will concentrate on cults and cultures in the historical periods of the Gothic.
The insights of Gilles Deleuze‘s film-philosophy offers a distinctive theoretical approach to Gothics remarkable affects and temporal effects. Introducing key critical tools, I apply them to Neil Jordan‘s Interview with the Vampire (1994), as well as asserting the broader relevance of Deleuze to Gothic studies.
This tenth anniversary issue of Gothic Studies reconsiders how the study of the Gothic mode in many venues (from fiction and drama to cinema and video) has been deeply affected by a wide range of psychoanalytical, historicist, cultural, and literary theories that have been, and can still be, employed to interpret and explain the Gothic phenomenon. This collection builds on the most fruitful of existing theoretical perspectives on the Gothic, sometimes to transform them, or by suggesting new alliances between theory and the study of Gothic that will enrich both domains and advance the mission of Gothic Studies, as well as Gothic scholarship in general, to provide the best arena for understanding the Gothic in all its forms.
In his analysis of the evolution of sexuality in society in Making Sexual History, Jeffrey Weeks comments that, following a series of major challenges throughout the twentieth century (ranging from Freud‘s work to the challenges of feminism and queer politics), ‘sexuality becomes a source of meaning, of social and political placing, and of individual sense of self ’. This special issue of Gothic Studies intends to foster further research on the topic of queer sexuality. This is research which has already been underway for some time but it has not always been interdisciplinary in nature, as is the case for these five articles, in their discussion of theatre, cinema, and literature or literary conventions borrowed from Gothic novels.
Gothic productions appear in clusters during the capitalist world-markets transition from one economic cycle to another. Using a world-systems approach, I argue that Gothic narrative devices and sensations are both historically specific to the time of their production and representative of the general logic of capitalist time-space contortions. A world-systems perspective insists on an inter-state relational approach relatively unexplored within Gothic studies. Using Stoker‘s Dracula as a case study, the article claims that Dracula encodes inter-imperialist tensions, primarily those between England and Germany and their proxy agents over South African gold mines in the Transvaal. This antagonism provides the background to the Boer War, itself a forerunner to the First World War‘s battle among imperialists.
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.