Imaging gothic from the nineteenth century to the present

Monstrous Media/Spectral Subjects explores Gothic, monstrosity, spectrality and media forms and technologies (music, fiction's engagements with photography/ cinema, film, magic practice and new media) from the later nineteenth century to the present day. Placing Gothic forms and productions in an explicitly interdisciplinary context, it investigates how the engagement with technologies drives the dissemination of Gothic across diverse media through the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, while conjuring all kinds of haunting and spectral presences that trouble cultural narratives of progress and technological advancement.

Jean-François Baillon

Steven Millhauser’s preoccupation with spectrality is an established feature of his fiction. In an interview following the release of his 2008 collection of short stories Dangerous Laughter , he confessed to a special interest in ‘ghostliness’, a term which applies with particular relevance to several of his narratives, which are also concerned

in Monstrous media/spectral subjects
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Capitalising (on) ghosts in German postdramatic theatre
Barry Murnane

’ their own, thereby rendering ‘individuality’ and identity every more spectral (Sennett, 1998 ). Likewise, so-called ‘phantom firms’, the temporary performances of economic entities characterised by frequent and rapid changes of identity and location, are further key mechanisms in a neoliberal world order that uncannily resemble the staged performances of

in Neoliberal Gothic
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Monstrous media/spectral subjects
Fred Botting and Catherine Spooner

emergent media from the nineteenth century to the present, colliding with and contaminating one another. The contagion of the monstrous and the spectral is a characteristically gothic effect. In Goya’s celebrated eighteenth-century engraving, The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (1799), the sleeper’s nightmares are monstrous bat and owl-like creatures projected on a shadowy backdrop, a hallucinatory

in Monstrous media/spectral subjects
On the cultural afterlife of the war dead
Elisabeth Bronfen

voice describing this uncanny encounter is marked as a spectral one, returning not just from some corner of a foreign field but from a mass grave. Owen’s alignment of the spectral voice of a dead soldier and the voice of poetry can be extended to the manner in which cinema (a visual poetry of sorts) is not only a spectral medium but one animating dead bodies: what we see

in Monstrous media/spectral subjects
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Fin-de-siècle gothic and early cinema
Paul Foster

spectral image of Moreau on top of that of the vivisected puma is akin to the device of superimposition, the exposure of more than one image on the same film strip. The spectacle of the metamorphic body – conventionally read in terms of degeneration, or reverse evolution, as the human slides backwards into the animal – can also be read in the context of early cinema and its play with

in Monstrous media/spectral subjects
Unspeakability in Vernon Lee‘s Supernatural Stories
Emma Liggins

Vernon Lees supernatural fiction provides an interesting test case for speculations about the function of spectrality for women writers on the cusp of the modern era. This article argues that spectrality, in line with Julian Wolfreys’ theories about the ‘hauntological disturbance’ in Victorian Gothic (2002), is both disruptive and desirable, informing the narratives we construct of modernity. It traces the links between the ‘unspeakable’ spectral encounter and contemporary attitudes to gender and sexuality in stories in Vernon Lees collection Hauntings (1890), as well as her Yellow Book story ‘Prince Alberic and the Snake Lady’ (1897). The ghostly encounter is erotic and welcomed as well as fearful, used to comment on the shortcomings of heterosexual marriage and bourgeois life, though this often results in the troubling spectacle of the ravished, mutilated or bloody female corpse. Lees negotiation of unspeakability and the desire for the ghostly is compared to the more graphic depictions of the dead female in stories from E. Nesbits Grim Tales (1893). Representations of the female revenant are considered in relation to the psychoanalytic readings of the otherness of the female corpse put forward by Elisabeth Bronfen (1992).

Gothic Studies
The gothic potential of technology
Lisa Mullen

present to itself’ which ignores a ‘natal pact between our body and the world, between ourselves and the body’. 57 By inserting a mediating third term between subject and object, a ‘moment of difficulty’, experience is rescued from the purity of abstraction and aestheticisation. 58 In the telescreen’s ocular reversal, Big Brother is the viewer and the citizenry are the spectral presences flickering into and out of existence at the viewer’s whim. Thus it is their sheer corporeality that Winston and Julia are trying to assert in their secret junk

in Mid-century gothic
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Elisabeth Bronfen

of her- or himself and exists in another world. And each is absent, because they emerge from an absence of social reality and return to a void; the nullification of romantic illusions in the case of the two children and the silence death induces in the spectral bride. Miss Havisham, an ‘immensely rich and grim lady’, leads a ‘life of seclusion’ in

in Over her dead body
Angela Sorby

have always been a constitutive force. Lydia Sigourney frames the issue of facts versus feelings in her 1845 apostrophe to the (supposedly Norse) Newport Tower: Light Fancy holds her sports With giddy wing upon thy time-scathed crown Peopling thy darksome chambers with strange groups And spectral shapes; – but hoar Antiquity Sublimely frowns upon the fairy toil, Eluding, like the Sybil’s fabled page, The curious eye, and anxious search of man. 2 For American poets, pre-Columbian Norsemen are consistently figured as ‘spectral shapes’, or ghosts

in From Iceland to the Americas