Places and spaces in Johan Theorin’s Öland quartet series
depiction of the crime investigation is replaced by Gothic tropes, uncanny characters and a mythological world lurking beneath or beyond modern society. The references to Mark Frost and David Lynch's 1990 TV series, Twin Peaks , are notable. Still, the Nordic writers and production teams have formed a specific Nordic version of what could be called ‘Gothiccrime’, a domestication of Gothic styles and devices within the realistic settings and modes of writing of modern crime. For example, Icelandic Yrsa Sigurðardóttir incorporates ghostly elements connected to the
Nordic Gothic traces Gothic fiction in the Nordic region from its beginnings in the nineteenth century with a main focus on the development of Gothic from the 1990s onwards in literature, film, TV series and new media. The volume gives an overview of Nordic Gothic fiction in relation to transnational developments and provides a number of case studies and in-depth analyses of individual narratives. The book creates an understanding of a ubiquitous but hitherto under-researched cultural phenomenon by showing how the Gothic narratives make visible cultural anxieties haunting the Nordic countries and their welfare systems, and how central these anxieties are for the understanding of identities and ideologies in the Nordic region. It examines how figures from Nordic folklore and mythology function as metaphorical expressions of Gothic themes, and also how universal Gothic figures such as vampires and witches are used in the Nordic context. The Nordic settings, and especially the Nordic wilderness, are explored from perspectives such as ecocriticism and postcolonialism and subcategories such as Gothic crime, Gothic humour, troll Gothic and geriatric Gothic are defined and discussed. Furthermore, the phenomenon of transcultural adaptation is investigated, using the cases of Lars von Trier’s Riget and John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Låt den rätte komma in, two seminal works of contemporary Nordic Gothic.
This collection of essays seeks to question the security of our assumptions about the fin de siècle by exploring the fiction of Richard Marsh, an important but neglected professional author. Richard Bernard Heldmann (1857–1915) began his literary career as a writer of boys’ fiction, but, following a prison sentence for fraud, reinvented himself as ‘Richard Marsh’ in 1888. Marsh was a prolific and popular author of middlebrow genre fiction including Gothic, crime, humour, romance and adventure, whose bestselling Gothic novel The Beetle: A Mystery (1897) outsold Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Building on a burgeoning interest in Marsh’s writing, this collection of essays examines a broad array of Marsh’s genre fictions through the lens of cutting-edge critical theory, including print culture, New Historicism, disability studies, genre theory, New Economic Criticism, gender theory, postcolonial studies, thing theory, psychoanalysis, object relations theory and art history, producing innovative readings not only of Marsh but of the fin-de-siècle period. Marsh emerges here as a versatile contributor to the literary and journalistic culture of his time whose stories of shape-shifting monsters, daring but morally dubious heroes, lip-reading female detectives and objects that come to life helped to shape the genres of fiction with which we are familiar today. Marsh’s fictions reflect contemporary themes and anxieties while often offering unexpected, subversive and even counter-hegemonic takes on dominant narratives of gender, criminality, race and class, unsettling our perceptions of the fin de siècle.
Maria Holmgren Troy, Johan Höglund, Yvonne Leffler and Sofia Wijkmark
Leffler calls ‘Gothiccrime’. The stories are set in remote places outside populated urban areas, either in a rural village or the wilderness. The location, particularly if it is untamed nature, is the very source or prerequisite of the crimes taking place. Moreover, in those cases where the crime mystery is eventually solved, the actual existence of supernatural phenomena and creatures is confirmed rather than negated. In recent years, Nordic production teams, and in particular Swedish television, have produced a number of Nordic Gothiccrime stories
As will be discussed in more detail in Chapter 7 , Nordic Gothic of the twentieth century increasingly turned to the Arctic region and Sámi concerns. The Swedish writer Kerstin Ekman's first novel De tre små mästarna (1961; Under the Snow ) is an overtly Gothiccrime story set in a world that is either all darkness in the winter or all light in the summer. It also hints at a supernatural agency rooted in Sámi religion and practice. At the beginning of the new century, a number of Swedish authors employed Gothic to tell stories about Sápmi and the Sámi
There is also a wealth of Gothic produced within the Nordic region that explores the Arctic or sub-Arctic as spaces of dark and monstrous Otherness. The northernmost region of Sweden is the location of Stefan Spjut's internationally well-received Gothic horror novels Stallo (2012) and Stalpi ( 2017 ), discussed in more detail in Chapter 6 . Mikael Niemi's Gothiccrime novel Koka Björn ( 2017 ) also locates horror to the far north, as does the Swedish-French co-production Idjabeaivváš (2016, Midnight Sun ). The fact that the Sámi, the indigenous population
Darkness and suicide in the work of Patricia Highsmith
certain fundamental conventions of its ‘traditional’ generic categorisation, as is the Gothic. Crime fiction, while often adhering to convention and thus offering a form of reassurance in an unstable world, has, I argue, increasingly projected a radically de-stabilised perspective on the world. It is well documented that Patricia Highsmith’s work has been a prime mover in these developments.
Environment, place, has long been at the forefront of literary texts, and of course both crime fiction and the Gothic cannot be understood without recourse
happy. As in Stoker’s Dracula, the text’s eponymous and reproductive
villain is stripped of her hereditary criminal agency in the closing pages
of the book. Her child dies with her, poisoned to stop her potentially
criminal genes from infecting the body of society. Read as a Gothiccrime
story, the closure of Mrs Musgrave is sad but also satisfying: the born
criminal is made – discovered – and then unmade.
However, this reading is disturbed by the fact that the reader’s sympathies remain with the couple and not with Charlecote and the law.
Mrs Musgrave is not
Victoria Margree, Daniel Orrells and Minna Vuohelainen
popular writer of the period.1 His best-known novel, The Beetle: A Mystery
(1897), outsold Bram Stoker’s Dracula (also 1897) well into the twentieth
century, but Marsh was more than just a one-hit wonder; his production
comprises more than eighty volumes published under this pseudonym,
his real name and anonymously, and spans a range of genres, including
Gothic, crime, sensation, thriller, romance and humour. Until the First
World War, Marsh was a high-profile popular author who was published and reviewed alongside such writers as Bram Stoker and Arthur
Conan Doyle and
crime fiction. Even so, it is useful to consider the relationship of these games to this dominant movement in Nordic Noir. As Yvonne Leffler's chapter on Nordic Gothiccrime shows, there is a strong connection between Nordic Crime and Nordic Gothic, and the two genres sometimes converge. Also, as discussed in several other chapters of this book, Nordic Gothic and horror such as that produced by, for example, Peter Høeg, John Ajvide Lindqvist, Mats Strandberg and Johanna Sinisalo reveal a profound discomfort with specifically Nordic formations of modernity, with