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Anne Young

Chris Baldick and Robert Mighall have argued rather convincingly that ‘Gothic Criticism’ is in need of an overhaul. I revisit their controversial article through an analysis of Oscar Wilde’s parody of the Gothic and of scholarship, ‘The Portrait of Mr W. H.’ In this tale of creative criticism, Wilde’s hero, Cyril Graham, invents the character of Willie Hughes to prove a theory about Shakespeare’s sonnets. Contrary to Baldick and Mighall, I argue that Gothic criticism might do well to take its cue from its object of study. Plunging deep into the abyss, abandoning pretentions of knowing fact from fiction, natural from supernatural, I whole-heartedly - momentarily - consider the ‘Willie Hughes theory’ and ‘I will take up the theory where Cyril Graham left it and I will prove to the world that he was right’.

Gothic Studies
On Theatrical Culture, Oscar Wilde and Ernst Lubitsch‘s Lady Windermeres Fan
Charles Musser

The cinema is as much a theatrical form of entertainment as performance on the stage, a fact that is crucial to a full appreciation of Ernst Lubitsch‘s Lady Windermere‘s Fan (Warner Brothers, 1925). Particularly in the cinemas silent era (1895-1925), when motion picture exhibition relied on numerous performance elements, theatrical performance and film exhibition interpenetrated. This underscores a basic conundrum: cinema has been integral to, and an extension of, theatrical culture, even though it has also been something quite different - a new art form. Indeed, the unity of stage and screen was so well established that critics, theorists, historians and artists expended large amounts of intellectual energy distinguishing the two forms while paying little attention to what they held in common. One fundamental feature of theatrical practice that carried over into many areas of filmmaking was adaptation. For Lubitsch, adaptation was a central fact of his artistic practice. This article looks at the history of adaptations of Lady Windermere‘s Fan on stage and screen making reference to textual comparisons, public reception, painting, symbolism and queer readings.

Film Studies
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Medicine, masculinity and the Gothic at the fin de siecle

This book is a study of constructions of masculinity in a range of medical, cultural and Gothic narratives at the fin de siecle. The final decades of the nineteenth century provide a particularly complex set of examples of how the dominant masculine scripts came to be associated with disease, degeneration and perversity. The book first outlines the theories of degeneracy, explaining how they relate to masculinity. It then charts an alternative British tradition of degeneracy as this British context provides a more immediate background to the case histories that follow. The book presents a close reading of Sir Frederick Treves's Reminiscences; Treves's memoirs focus on the issues confronted by doctors working in the late Victorian period. The Whitechapel murders of 1888 are then discussed. The book focuses on how and why the medical profession became implicated in the murders. The murders also suggested the presence of a demonic, criminalised form of masculine control over the East End. Continuing with its focus on medicine, the book discusses medical textbooks on syphilis in the 1880s and how they responded to a shift in attitude towards attributing responsibility for the spread of syphilis. An examination of how London appears as a gendered space in the work of male authors such as Thomas De Quincey, and Charles Dickens, and later Arthur Conan Doyle and Bram Stoker, is presented. Finally, some aspects of Oscar Wilde's trials are also examined as well as a range of his writings.

The Urban Gothic of Fin-de-Siècle London and Gotham City
Erica McCrystal

Gothic literature set in fin-de-siècle London has often been argued to highlight duality. However, the urban Gothic truly flourishes through its liminality, which allows chaos and order to coexist. Texts such as Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray offer versions of a Gothic London that have the appearance of structure but are difficult to navigate. Likewise, the Batman franchise has embraced Gotham City as a setting that provides tensions between order and chaos. In Gotham, as in fin-de-siècle London, liminality puts pressures on apparent boundaries. While the urban Gothic initially developed through nineteenth century British texts, modern-day comics and films within the Batman franchise have allowed us to see how a multiverse normalises liminality and embraces multiple works to speak collectively about Gothic tensions. This article analyses the liminal nature of the urban Gothic in both cities side by side to argue that the urban Gothic’s liminal nature allows instability to reign.

Gothic Studies
Homoeroticism and the political imagination in Irish writing

Revolutionary bodies traces a style of homoerotic writing in twentieth-century and contemporary Irish fiction. As this study demonstrates, writers in that tradition explored a broad spectrum of cultural and political concerns, while experimenting with the conventions of literary realism. We witness how, in these various works, the longing for the male body is insistently associated with utopian political desire. Developing a series of innovative readings, the argument proceeds through three author-centred chapters (Brendan Behan; John Broderick; Colm Tóibín) followed by two chapters on Irish gay fiction and ‘Celtic Tiger’ fiction. The latter two chapters focus on work by Keith Ridgway, Jamie O’Neill, Micheál Ó Conghaile and Barry McCrea, among others. Revolutionary Bodies prompts us to reconsider the relationship between aesthetics, literature and sexual liberation.

Homoeroticism, Irish literature and revolution
Michael G. Cronin

are quite right to be so. 2 Across generations, literary styles and political perspectives, Oscar Wilde is a touchstone connecting the writers whose fiction this study addresses. To take just one example, the second quotation above, from ‘The Soul of Man under Socialism’ (1891), appears in Jamie O’Neill's historical romance At Swim, Two Boys (2001). Reflecting on

in Revolutionary bodies
Writers in British society and tales of their private lives and personal affairs
Nigel Mather

biographer’s duty. If something is known it must be told, with all the details.’ 2 As if taking inspiration from such trends towards frankness in the writing of biographies, and perhaps sensing some business opportunities in the process, a number of film-makers in Britain turned their attentions during the 2000s to exploring the lives and personal relationships of certain seminal and innovative (and sometimes controversial) writers in British literary and cultural history – Jane Austen (1775–1817), John Keats (1795–1821), Charles Dickens (1812–1870), Oscar Wilde (1854

in Sex and desire in British films of the 2000s
Ancient Egypt in the aesthetic and decadent imaginary
Giles Whiteley

) – and, more subtly, by Oscar Wilde in the short story ‘Lord Arthur Savile's Crime’ (1887). 11 But Gautier's real interest in the poem is in how the monument has been resituated, so that the ennui of Egypt infects Paris. For Gautier, L’Aiguille de Cléopâtre overlooks a modern city itself riddled with ‘ennui’ (line 2). It finds itself ‘defiled’ by sparrows ‘where the ibis used to light’ (lines 29–30) and gazes at the Seine, that ‘unclean river, crime's abyss’ (line 34). Gautier's ‘L’Obélisque de Paris

in Victorian literary culture and ancient Egypt
Wilde’s Art
Andrew Smith

Oscar Wilde was convicted of the charge of gross indecency on 25 May 1895. Prior to this (between 3 April and 5 April 1895) he had attempted to prosecute Lord Queensberry for libel over Queensbeny s accusation that Wilde was a ‘somdomite’ (sic). During his cross examination by Queensberry’s defence counsel, Edward Carson, the following now famous exchange took place over

in Victorian demons
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Dafydd W. Jones

schoolmaster’s farewell: ‘I am heartily glad to get rid of you, but I like you better than any boy I ever had in school.’27 He spent August of that year in sibling proximity to his cousin Vyvyan Holland, youngest son of Oscar Wilde,28 who had been sent by his guardians to spend part of the summer with his relatives in Switzerland (ostensibly to improve his French before entering university).29 From the French Rhône-Alpes summer resort of Chambéry in the company of Fabian and the Grandjeans, Vyvyan returned with the family to Lausanne in late September, and kept a diary

in The fictions of Arthur Cravan