Joseph Butler’s claim that ‘Life and Immortality are eminently brought to Light
by the Gospel’ and his statement of analogy that ‘there is a great Resemblance
between the Light of Nature and that of Revelation’. 2
Thanks to its status in this period as a ubiquitous yet incompletely explored
phenomenon, the topic of light is central to empiricist epistemology that reassesses the
sources and boundaries of knowledge according to what can be gained from sensation and
reflection. 3 In his Essay Concerning
The new wave of Korean cinema has presented a series of distinct genre productions, which are influenced by contemporary Japanese horror cinema and traditions of the Gothic. Ahn Byeong-ki is one of Korea‘s most notable horror film directors, having made four Gothic horrors between 2000 and 2006. These transnational horrors, tales of possession and avenging forces, have repeatedly been drawn to issues of modernity, loneliness, identity, gender, and suicide. Focusing on the figure of the ghostly woman, and the horrors of modern city life in Korea, this essay considers the style of filmmaking employed by Ahn Byeong-ki in depicting, in particular, the Gothic revelation.
In The Arcades Project, Benjamin explores the different aspects of nineteenth-century culture, in search of a historical reality to which people can awake in a revelatory act of political consciousness. However, the uncanny effects of his archival approach impinge on this revelatory and sublime process. Rather than revealing the political, economic, and technological latent content of the past, representations of the material object confront consciousness with the unfamiliar and abject forms of the repressed collective unconscious. The Gothic tropes of Benjamin‘s text are the traces of the melancholy haunting his concept of a demystifying revelation of historical and material truth.
Gothic Melodrama and the Aesthetic of Silence in Thomas Holcroft‘s A Tale of Mystery
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.
The poor survival rate of primary sources for the history of Irish women in the
early modern period is mitigated by the sophistication with which extant sources
are now being analysed. When re-examined without reference to the demands of the
traditional historical grand narrative, when each text itself is permitted to
guide its own interrogation, previously undervalued texts are revealed to be
insightful of individual existential experience. The memoir of
eighteenth-century Dorothea Herbert, hitherto much ignored due to the authors
mental illness, is becoming increasingly respected not just for its historic
evidential value but for the revelations it contains of a distressed individuals
use of literature to manage her circumstances. The interpretive tools deployed
on such a text by different research specialisms necessarily lead to divergent
conclusions; this in turn may lead to creative re-imagining of history although
they cannot all equally reflect what was likely to have been the lived reality
of the original author.
Degeneration in the Holy Land and the House of Usher
Poe‘s preoccupation with degeneration, decay and dissolution is revealed in ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’, not only as synonymous with the image of the arabesque, but also as dependent on contrast with the word ‘Hebrew’. A reading of the Near East as Holy Land is made possible, Roderick Usher‘s decline likened to contemporary degeneration in terms of Palestine‘s decay. Poe‘s 1837 review of John Lloyd Stephen‘s Incidents of Travel in Egypt, Arabia, Petraea, and the Holy Land exposes his interests in biblical prophecy (including its unintelligibility and yet endurance), millennialism and apocalypse. These themes are transferred to ‘Usher’ as the houses destruction is aligned with the images and structures of biblical prophecy. The storys treatments of landscape and the house itself explore notions of constructed sacred space. In the 1837 review, describing the illumination of prophecy as ‘no less remarkable’ than its fulfilment, Poe underlines a theme of revelation that is fictionalized within ‘Usher’. Prophecy as storytelling within the text provides a means of examining Poe against the historical context in which he wrote. Other ways in which Poe‘s writings reveal nineteenth-century religious structures are potentially numerous when considered against the prophecy framework.