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.
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.
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.