tradition in which Scottish antiquity was in continuous dispute,
Pinkerton’s Dissertation and Enquiry throw into
relief, and render legible, the tensions between a Gothic Scotland,
on the one hand, and a Celtic Scotland, on the other. Though
literary scholarship in recent years has frequently invoked a notion
of ‘ScottishGothic’ as a critical term descriptive of a
James Robertson‘s well-deserved reputation as a historical novelist has obscured the role that the Gothic plays in his work. Manifesting itself in distinctively Scottish fashion, Robertson‘s Gothicism is tied to the ‘broader national culture’ in general and to post-devolutionary Scotland in particular. Not only does his transformation of the Gothic into the historical novels uncanny other resist the modern novels tendency towards increasing privatisation. It also results in work that diverges from much post-devolutionary Scottish fiction in that his stories and novels are, by virtue of the density of their Scottishness, deeply connected to the local and to folk culture.
Gothic Terror(ism) and Post-Devolution Britain in Skyfall
The article examines the phenomenon of terrorism presented in Sam Mendes‘s film Skyfall (2012), with relation to Julia Kristeva‘s concept of the abject, developed further by Robert Miles in the context of nationalism and identity. While exploring the extraterritorial nature of terrorism, which in Skyfall breaches the borders of the symbolic order, threatening the integrity of the British nation-state represented by M, Bond, and MI6, the article also focuses on the relationship between the major characters, whose psychological tensions represent the country‘s haunting by the ghosts of colonialism, as Britain is forced to revisit its imperial past(s) and geographies at the fragile moment of post-devolutionary changes.
The journey North is a recurrent motif throughout the Gothic literary tradition, often representing a journey back in time to a more primitive location where conventional rules do not apply. Within the context of contemporary Scottish Gothic this journey continues to involve a temporal regression. The North of Scotland, and specifically the Highlands, is still a Gothic location, allowing for an interrogation of the homogenising notion of ‘national identity’. In this article the journey North is explored in the work of contemporary writers and film directors including Iain Banks, Alan Warner, David Mackenzie, and Neil Marshall.
This essay examines the proliferation of visual representations of Robert Louis Stevenson‘s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), considering the question of what links contemporary (Scottish?) Gothic to its problematic origins. After a survey of cinematic and graphic adaptations, the essay focuses on Steven Moffatt‘s Jekyll (BBC, 2007), which combines the post-Darwinian anxieties surrounding Stevensons tale of human regression with a much more contemporary interrogation of the ‘human’ against the backdrop of complex globalised scientific conspiracies. Significantly, the production draws on the Scottish origin of the text, re-proposing the question of (national) identity and authenticity against the threat of globalisation.
This article examines Denise Mina‘s treatment of Scottish identity and the gothic tradition in her run on Hellblazer, an American horror comic about an English occultist, John Constantine. Mina takes Constantine to Glasgow to confront the deadly “empathy plague” which forces victims to emphasise with others. Mina argues that the Scots revel in the misery of others, making them easy victims for this malady. However, this failing becomes a means for victory, as everyone is united in an outpouring of shameful joy at the story‘s conclusion. Mina‘s Scotland is a home away from home for Constantine – haunted, embittered and lost – and her image of Scotland mirrors representations seen in other Scottish Gothic texts.
This article approaches a range of contemporary Scottish fiction: Iain Banks‘s Complicity and A Song of Stone, Irvine Welsh‘s Filth, Michel Faber‘s Under the Skin, James Robertson‘s Joseph Knight, Alan Guthrie‘s Savage Night and selected stories from Alan Bissett‘s Scottish Gothic anthology, Damage Land. The theme the article traces is pity, whether seen in a national or historical context, or as part of a wider panoply of what one might think of as ‘Gothic emotions’. The main contention is that it is possible that we reduce the scope of Gothic when we think of it as merely conducing to terror; whether we think of the earliest Gothic novels or of contemporary writing, there are often other feelings being stirred, a wider range of sensibilities being explored.
Ariès, P. (1981) The Hour of Our Death , trans. Helen
Weaver (London: Penguin).
(2014) Contemporary ScottishGothic: Mourning, Authenticity, and
Tradition (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan).
A. L. (2000) ‘On Romances’  and ‘On the
Pleasure Derived from Works of Terror’ , in R. Norton
Reconceptualising British landscapes through the lens of children’s cinema
cover a lot more of the British Isles, with much of the series shot on location in
Scotland and the north of England. This again links the films to Gothic traditions, since the wild inhospitality necessary for the expounding of Gothic themes
British landscapes through the lens of children's cinema
is not so readily available in the more populated south of the country. Neither the
books nor the films specify the exact location of Hogwarts School, a geographical evasion that in itself has Gothic antecedents, as Wright notes in her study
Shakespeare’s house in Stratford visited by E. A. Poe. The
political dimension of the construction of a Gothic Shakespeare in the
eighteenth century is explored on a national scale in Dale
Townshend’s historical analysis of the ‘complex
relationship’ between the terms Scottish and Gothic.
Distinguishing between a political and an aesthetic Gothicism, Townshend
reads the construction of ScottishGothic through