This essay argues that Stephen King‘s 2006 novel Cell explores the age of terror with the aid of two concurrent Gothic discourses. The first such discourse belongs to the tradition that Patrick Brantlinger has termed Imperial Gothic. As such, it imagines with the War on Terror that the threat that the (Gothic) Other constitutes is most usefully managed with the help of massive, military violence. The other, and more traditional, Gothic discourse radically imagines such violence as instead a War of Terror. The essay then argues that Cell does not attempt to reconcile these opposed positions to terror. Instead, the novel employs the two Gothic discourses to describe the epistemological rift that terror inevitably creates.
Automata, plot machinery and the
imperialGothic in Richard Marsh’s
The title of Richard Marsh’s 1900 novel The Goddess: A Demon confronts
readers with a juxtaposition of two very different nouns balanced by a
colon: one designating a potentially beneficent female deity and another
a harmful supernatural entity. Yet the title’s shift from a definite to
an indefinite article implies that the goddess in question is, in fact, an
example of a larger category, that of the demonic. The potential goodness
of the title seeps away as
This essay situates Lewis‘s ‘Anaconda’ (1808) in relation to an early imperial Gothic tradition which represents colonial spaces as threats to English character. Lewis draws on orientalist discourse to describe the orient not only as a source of wealth but also as the site of a potentially fatal trauma for English subjects; Ireland is similarly represented but key differences suggest a lesser threat to the English psyche (and so the imperial project). Sensibility, as the foundation of civility that bears with it the risk of emotional susceptibility, emerges in ‘Anaconda’ as a register of national superiority, imperial vulnerability, and differences between colonies.
This essay investigates how H G Wells’s The Island of Doctor Moreau employs the
gothic trope of the uncanny. Despite Wells’s use of ‘uncanny’ twice to describe
humanized animals, prior critics haven’t explored what the uncanny adds to our
understanding of the novel, perhaps because Freud’s famous essay ‘The ‘Uncanny’
was written in 1913, following The Island of Doctor Moreau by more than two
decades. We argue, however, that both men were working from notions of the
uncanny circulating in fin de siècle Europe and describing a larger colonial
dynamic, so that even though Wells’s work preceded Freud’s, we can use Freud’s
explanation of the uncanny to better understand what Wells was doing and why the
animals in The Island of Doctor Moreau are so unsettling to readers in our time
and in his. That is, the uncanny helps to explain how the novel works as a
gothic. Moreover, by examining how Freud’s theories help us to understand Wells,
we also see elements of Freud’s essay that we wouldn’t otherwise. We will argue
that because Freud and Wells were describing the world around them, overlap is
logical, even predictable, and certainly useful to understanding both
This article considers a unified polar Gothic as a way of examining texts set in Arctic
and Antarctic space. Through analysis of Coleridge‘s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,
Shelleys Frankenstein, and Poe‘s The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket , the
author creates a framework for understanding polar Gothic, which includes liminal space,
the supernatural, the Gothic sublime, ghosts and apparitions, and imperial Gothic
anxieties about the degradation of civilisation. Analysing Verne‘s scientific-adventure
novel The Adventures of Captain Hatteras (1866) with this framework, the author
contextualises the continued public interest in the lost Franklin expedition and reflects
on nineteenth-century polar Gothic anxieties in the present day. Polar space creates an
uncanny potential for seeing ones own self and examining what lies beneath the surface of
ones own rational mind.
Theorizing the Nineteenth-Century Gothic Pharmography
Carol Margaret Davison
Liberty, a term dear to the Enlightenments emancipatory project, has long been a key concept in the Gothic. No branch of the Gothic more powerfully or creatively examines the complexities of the liberty question than the Gothic pharmography – a narrative chronicling drug/alcohol seduction and addiction. Drawing on three novelistic sub-genres – the Oriental tale, the imperial Gothic, and the Urban Gothic – the Gothic pharmography coalesces several distinct nineteenth-century debates – the nature of the will and liberal individualism; social oppression and conformity; urban and national degeneration; and British imperialist expansion, which involved the perceived anxiety-inducing sense of Britains growing economic dependence on the non-Western world. This essay offers an overview of the Gothic pharmography from the late eighteenth century through to the fin de siècle in Marie Corelli‘s Wormwood.
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.
Situating The Beetle within the fin-de-siècle fiction of Gothic Egypt
to provide a fuller picture
of both the remarkable revival of the Gothic literary mode at the fin de
Richard Marsh and the imperial Gothic
7.1 J. Tenniel and J. Swain, ‘In the desert! Shade of General Gordon
(to John Bull). “Remember!” ’, Punch, 110 (28 March 1896), .
siècle and the society in which this literary phenomenon occurred. It
aims to present a sustained analysis of the relationship between The Beetle
and the subgenre of Gothic Egyptian fiction and in doing so to place
The Beetle precisely within the context of Anglo-Egyptian and Sudanese
with images of colonial otherness’.
This type of Gothic is often referred to, using a term coined from Patrick Brantlinger's expression, as ‘ImperialGothic’, and it typically relies on Orientalist xenophobic plots that revolve around invasions by a non-European, non-normative Other who threatens the stability of the society and the categories made possible by, and sustaining, imperialism.
There are such Nordic Gothic texts, as will be discussed below. However
The self-destroying Gothic villain in Pauline Hopkins’ Of One
Bridget M. Marshall
, which is set mostly in Africa. In the second half of the book, Hopkins deploys classic ‘ImperialGothic’ in the tradition of Rider Haggard’s She (1887); her novel features all three of Patrick Brantlinger’s suggested ‘imperialGothic themes of regression, invasion, and the waning of adventure’. 15
Even as the characters cross a desert in Africa, they survey an oddly Gothic landscape as they spy ‘a cliff, looking, in the distance, like a half-ruined castle, which the Arabs believed to be enchanted’. 16