Older than America (2008), by Georgina Lightning (Cree), and
Imprint (2007), directed by Michael Linn, who is non-Native,
but who worked with producer Chris Eyre (Cheyenne/Arapaho), both use and revise
Gothic elements to explore Indigenous history and contemporary issues. Both
films use various Gothic elements to draw non-Native audiences into
Native-centered movies that deal with Indigenous history and culture.
Older than America simultaneously works to promote healing as
well as addresses difficult but underrepresented history, while
Imprint only uses Native history as a plot device and does not
engage with setting, history, or trauma in effective or complex ways.
Examining Alfred Hitchcock‘s Rebecca in terms of the Gothic convention of non-realist doubled and split characters, this essay argues that the slippage of desire between characters, male as well as female, complicates the containment of the dead Rebecca and whatever she represents. Although the splitting of the female protagonist into the unnamed heroine, the ghostly Rebecca and her surrogate Mrs Danvers has been extensively discussed, the use of this strategy as it concerns the male characters has been less often noticed. The replication of the male protagonist, Maxim, by two other male characters at once deepens him psychologically and contaminates him with ghostliness. These two conflicting manoeuvres strengthen his connection with both his wives, the dead as much as the living. But even while the treatment of Maxim empowers Rebecca and her successor, the movie‘s depiction of male bonding invites a questioning of the extent of female agency.
Time Fear and Audience in Dickinson‘s Gothic Drama
Dickinson‘s Poem 754 can be seen as a paradigm of her self-staging, consisting as it does of a range of strategies by which she connects the imagination with fear and thereby determines a new role for the reader as spectator. In exploring the ways in which Dickinson manipulates time (with a special emphasis on suspense, curiosity, and ambiguity), I argue that she opens a new domain of experience in which the subject comtemplates her/his self entering into a relationship with otherness. This marks her innovations in relation to lyric, to Gothic and to Romantic conventions. First, Dickinson adopts the Gothic as a subtext that undermines the official affirmations of the hymn, subverts its conceptual and structural unity, and disunifies and variegates the lyric self. Second, if Gothicism projects what the dominant culture cannot incorporate within itself onto the monstrosity of the other, Dickinson locates that ‘other’ inside the self. Third, she revolutionizes the Romantic lyric by legitimizing the Gothic; in altering its stock devices by means of her temporal strategies, Dickinson allows the reader to experience the sublime in new ways.
Masculinity and Perversity in Crash and Fight Club
This article considers two evocations of the Gothic in contemporary film that link the popular recurrence of Gothic conventions to contemporary constructions of perversity and masculinity. Crash (1996) and Fight Club (1999) intersect themes of masculine perversity with the Gothic, giving substantially new life to discourses surrounding a ‘crisis in masculinity’ at the turn of the twentieth century. The relationship between the Gothic and masculinity is considered in relation to themes surrounding the corporeal, psychological and social ‘perversities’ in the two films.
Unlike Romantic authorship, the Gothic author has long been identified with unoriginality. A foundational moment in this association can be found in the reception of the original Gothic plagiarist, Matthew Lewis. Critics not only condemned Lewis for apparently usurping other authors property in The Castle Spectre but also did so by casting him as his own usurping villain. This parallel between Gothic conventions and critical language suggests that the Gothic might have played a crucial role in the history of our concepts of intellectual property, and particularly in the development of the now-familiar figure of the criminalized, and vilified, plagiarist.
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.
FX’s American Horror Story: Murder House (the series’ first season) is an important addition to the Gothic canon, manifesting every conceivable Gothic convention, its narrative overwhelmed by a claustrophobic sense of enclosure in space and repetition,in time. Indeed, the series manifests what I call the entropic Gothic: its trajectory is relentlessly toward exhaustion and stasis, toward dissipation and death. Symptomatic of this entropic Gothic of American Horror Story is its focus on twins - markers, in the series, of an abiding cultural entropy. The first half of this essay is grounded in the more literal association of twins with reproductive technologies and aging mothers. Twins thus stand in for a series of literal anxieties about interwoven children and homes - about the future of the ‘American,Dream’ - that have plagued the United States in particular since the beginning of the recession (2007 through at least the end of 2012). The second half of the essay takes up the more metaphorical meanings associated with twins. American Horror Story’s reiterations of the same, its proliferation of mimetic semblables, mark the entropic drift of the series toward undifferentiation and extinction. Twins metonymically gesture to what the ‘Murder House’ itself represents - a realm of involutionary regression, of reality become virtual reality. The series tracks a fundamental entropic regression of the human to a spent, useless state, in which it is preserved only as what Jean Baudrillard called ‘a kind of ontological “attraction”’.
Gothic mansions, ghosts and particular friendships
as ‘lesbian Gothic’. In fiction of this kind, as I and other
critics illustrate, Gothicconventions and motifs become a vehicle for
representing the transgressive nature of lesbian desire in
hetero-patriarchal culture, the homophobic construction of it as
monstrous and unspeakable, and the strategies of resistance that the
female subject employs to articulate and explore it. 2 This, as we shall see, is the role
,‘The work of all three displays an interfusion
of Victorian social realism with the romance tradition’, and continues that
Stoddard, like the Brontës, ‘depicts . . . social reality with a keen awareness
of how kinship, marriage, property ownership, and inheritance intermesh’.5 In exploring the way in which Brontë and Stoddard deploy Gothicconventions, I want to consider their common and varied representations
of woman’s psycho-social oppression, and erotic nature. Furthermore, I
will investigate the emancipation of each of their heroines from socioeconomic restrictions
is a shared duty of author and reader – there are positions to
be won and lines to be drawn. This chapter will investigate how
Moore, as a self-aware practitioner of Gothicconventions, uses the
intertextual energies of the tradition to fashion and nurture a
politicised reader who will be worthy of the meanings of his text.
In Moore’s radical horror comic Swamp Thing , Gothic is