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The Return of the Hibernian Repressed During the Rise and Fall of the Celtic Tiger
Stephen Carleton

Whilst debate rages in certain circles as to what constitutes an Irish Gothic tradition and whether imposing canonical status upon it is even possible or desirable, very little of this discussion focuses on twenty-first century writing, and certainly not upon writing for the stage. The aims of this essay are twofold: to argue the case for a contemporary Irish Gothic theatre school (whose primary proponents I will identify as Martin McDonagh, Conor McPherson, Marina Carr and Mark ORowe); and to place this contemporary school in conversation with the Irish Gothic literary corpus identified by the scholarship of Terry Eagleton, Seamus Deane, W. J. McCormack, Jarlath Killeen, Christopher Morash, Richard Haslam, Sinéad Mooney and David Punter. The resulting intention here is to open up a fresh way of reading and comparing contemporary Irish playwrights,that allows us to place their work into sharper focus when it comes to comparing them to each other as pre-eminent Irish writers of the millennial period.

Gothic Studies
A ‘Lost’ Epilogue to Maturin‘s Bertram?
Massimiliano Demata

This essay discusses the possibility of a new reading of Charles Maturins Bertram; or, The Castle of St. Aldobrandon the basis of a hitherto ignored manuscript, ‘Epilogue’ to the drama found in the archives of publisher John Murray. The essay adds a new chapter to the tormented publishing history of this work and sheds light on the ambiguous and shifting moral and political interpretations given by both Maturin and his audience to one of the most famous Gothic dramas.

Gothic Studies
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Reanimating Gothic Drama
Jeffrey Cox

Gothic Studies
Reading Extremities in Orra and De Monfort
Diane Long Hoeveler

At the time of their publication, Joanna Baillie‘s dramas were considered to be works of genius in their sustained and powerful fixation on one of the several possible human passions. In their very focus on these intense emotions, however, the plays actually reified the dangers inherent in the extremes of human passion. In other words, by fixing her attention on the passions, Baillie revealed that the emotions she was supposedly focused on often masked other, even more powerful desires. Thus, in Orra fear is the result of the heroines hatred of male dominance, while in De Monfort hatred is shown to be the symptom of incestuous love. But what has not been noticed about Baillie‘s plays is their almost obsessive interest in dead, abjected male bodies. Both plays present a very gothic vision of the indestructible patriarchy, an uncanny phallic power that cannot die, that persistently resurrects and feeds on itself or the legends that it has constructed.

Gothic Studies
Author: Christina Morin

This book addresses the intriguing incongruity between naming Charles Robert Maturin as a 'well-known' author of the Romantic period and the lack of any real critical analysis of his works in the past thirty years. The central thesis of the book is that Maturin's novels provide the key to a new understanding of Irish national fiction as a peculiarly haunted form of literature. Specifically, it argues that Maturin's too often overlooked body of fiction forcefully underscores the haunting presence of the past and past literary forms in early nineteenth-century Irish literature. It is a presence so often omitted and/or denied in current critical studies of Irish Romantic fiction. The book represents a project of ghost-hunting and ghost-conjuring. It investigates the ways in which Maturin's fourth novel attempts to build on the ruins of the Irish nation by describing the fissures produced by religious sectarianism in the country. The book makes use of the rarely consulted correspondence between Maturin and the publisher Archibald Constable. It does this to emphasise the manner in which Maturin's completion of his novel, Melmoth the wanderer was at all times crowded by, and, indeed, infiltrated with, his work on competing texts. These include books of sermons, Gothic dramas, short stories, and epic poems interspersed with prose narrative.

Gothic Dissent in Dennis Potter‘s Cold Lazarus
Val Scullion

This article uses Franco Moretti‘s interpretation of Frankenstein and Dracula (Signs Taken For Wonders, 1988) to interrogate Dennis Potter‘s final television play, Cold Lazarus (1996). The critical approach, following Moretti‘s example, is generic, Freudian and Marxist. By identifying the conventions of Gothic drama in Potter‘s play, it claims, firstly, that Cold Lazarus dramatizes deep-seated psychic neuroses; and secondly, alerts its viewers to contemporary cultural anxieties about individual autonomy and the exploitative nature of capitalist enterprise. The argument challenges the predominantly negative reception of Cold Lazarus when first screened in 1994 and aims to defend this play as a fine example of televisual Gothic drama.

Gothic Studies
Techno-Gothic as Performance in Romantic Drama
Marjean Purinton

The discourses and practices of science and medicine significantly influenced British Romantic-period drama so that these new fields of inquiry were recontextualized in popular forms of the Gothic. Notions of the body and the spirit were negotiated on the stage, and the result constituted what I call ‘Techno-Gothic’ drama. Not surprisingly, Techno-Gothic drama took on two manifestations - grotesques and ghosts - and I examine how the vampire - at once grotesque and ghos - demonstrates the workings of Techno-Gothic drama in James Robinson Planchés melodrama The Vampire; or the Bride of the Isles, A Romantic Melodrama in Two Acts, Preceded by an Introductory Vision (1820) and in Thomas Dibdin‘s spectacular Don Giovanni; or A Spectre on Horseback (1818). I argue that Planchés and Dibdins popular plays demonstrate how Techno-Gothic drama appropriated, interrogated, negotiated, and resisted scientific concepts and technological methods in post-Enlightenment thought and culture. In parodying scientific methods and demonstrations, The Vampire and Don Giovanni, question the veracity and omnipotence of the new sciences.

Gothic Studies
Thomas Crochunis

While the importance of space in Gothic literature and the role of spectacle in the staging of late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century British Gothic drama have received much attention, little has been written about how Gothic dramatic writing gestures with space. By looking at how dramatic writers rhetorically used Gothics politically and psychologically charged spaces in their dramatic works for stage and page, this essay explores how space functions in pre-realist drama. The essay shows how a rhetoric of space functions in three examples of Gothic theatrical writing - Matthew Lewis‘s The Castle Spectre, Catherine Gore‘s The Bond, and Jane Scott‘sThe Old Oak Chest - and suggests that British Gothic dramas spatial rhetoric anticipates cinematic uses of space.

Gothic Studies
James Uden

Scholars of eighteenth-century literature have long seen the development of the Gothic as a break from neoclassical aesthetics, but this article posits a more complex engagement with classical imitation at the origins of the genre. In Horace Walpole’s formative Gothic novel The Castle of Otranto, his Gothic drama The Mysterious Mother, and in the curiosities in his villa, classical elements are detached from their contexts and placed in startling and strange juxtapositions. His tendency towards the fragmentation of ancient culture, frequently expressed through the imagery of dismemberment, suggests an aesthetic not of imitation, but of collection. Moreover, rather than abandoning or ignoring the classical, Walpole reconfigures literary history to demonstrate elements of monstrosity and hybridity already present in Greek and Roman texts.

Gothic Studies
Gothic Melodrama and the Aesthetic of Silence in Thomas Holcroft‘s A Tale of Mystery
Diego Saglia

Focusing on melodrama and on Thomas Holcroft‘s exemplary A Tale of Mystery (1802) in particular, this essay proposes a reinterpretation of Gothic drama and theatre as constitutively characterized by interruptions of comprehension. The tribulations of its persecuted protagonist Francisco are read in the context of the court trial of a real-life Francisco, who lived in London in 1802 and was one of the ‘stars’ in contemporary newspaper reports from the Old Bailey. Combining different generic and tonal modes, Romantic-period Gothic melodrama capitalized on explicitness and hyperbole, as well as on materializations of ethics and sentiment through their overt exhibition on stage or ‘ostension’. At the same time, it emphasized absence, silence, dematerialization and dissolution. With its continuously deferred revelations,and ostensions of the unsaid, A Tale of Mystery is a significant investment in an aesthetic of the unsaid that is central to a definition of Gothic on stage.

Gothic Studies