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.
earlier twentieth-century aesthetic legacy
centered upon a belief in the disruptive power of explicit sexual imagery
that is split between the informe’s ambivalence and teasing
superficiality, which is to say the play of surfaces that promises but does
not deliver depth, and a brutal fascination with what is visceral and
abject. In both cases, however, the work is notable for its ability to
resist interpretation and to make a
skin’ of Arab and African immigrants branded them, in the paranoid era of decolonisation, as biologically and culturally unclean, abject subjects who were not, nor ever could become, properly French.
Importantly, the discourse of hygiene did not stay within the private space of the domestic; it was used as an excuse to reorder France’s cities. Once again, Ross’s insights into the politics of metaphor are compelling:
The history of mid-twentieth-century renovations shows the city to be the logical outcome of capitalist modernization’s adroit manipulation of
interpretations and reimaginings. Novelists, filmmakers, comic-book writers and artists in endless other media have been haunted by the Creature-turned-monster. Its composite quality can in many ways be read as an exceptional example of the abject, which, as Julia Kristeva puts it, ‘disturbs identity, system, order’. She argues that the abject ‘does not respect borders, positions, rules’, and remains ‘the in-between, the ambiguous, the composite’ (4). Is it the Creature’s deformed body that repulses or scares Victor, for instance, or its nearly human shape? The monster’s body
Sharks haunt the human imagination more than vampires, werewolves or ghosts. Sensational
representations make the shark the villain of each piece as the top predator of even
humanity. Yet since its Gothic beginnings in Anglophone representation, the shark has been
the victim. The word sharke comes from slavers tongues when the first of its kind was
brought ashore to be flayed, eaten, and its inner bowels excavated and examined. In
reading and writing the shark, humanity opens up the belly of the beast to express the
repressed and to give utterance to that which cannot be uttered– the uncanny. The argument
that follows isnt that we should read the shark as a Gothic figure, but that we already
Ranging from Horace Walpole to Angela Carter, this essay contributes to an emergent theory of the Gothic. Its argument is that ‘Gothic’ is the name for the speaking subjects experience of approaching what Jacques Lacan has termed ‘the Thing’, and that the processes of sublimation and abjection are what structure the experience of that approach.
This article engages with the discourse of food and eating especially as related to the representation of the abject eating-disordered body. I will be particularly interested in the gothic representation of the anorexic and bulimic body in samples of medical advice literature and NHS websites and how they reinforce popular myths about anorexia by imagining the eating disordered body as a fixed object of abjection. Focusing on the use of gothic devices, tropes and narrative structure, these imaginations will be read against alternative representations of anorexic/bulimic bodies in autobiographical illness narratives, fictional accounts and a psychoanalytical case history in order to explore how gothic discourses can help opening up new understandings and conceptions of illness, healing and corporeality in the dialogue between medical staff and patients.
Palmer discusses Caeia March‘s Between The Worlds (1996) and Sarah Walter‘s Affinity (1999). Palmer argues that writers of lesbian fiction are drawn to the Gothic because it is a form which has traditionally given space to the representation of transgressive sexualities. The Gothic is also a vehicle through which the interrogation and problematising of mainstream versions of reality and so-called ‘normal’ values is made possible. Palmer argues that these novels parodically rework the grotesque portrayal of character, which is familiar from mainstream Gothic fiction and film, and in doing so they challenge and resignify the category of the abject to which lesbians and gay men are conventionally relegated.
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.
‘The Gothic Aesthetics of Eminem’ examines key videos, lyrics, and performances of the white hip-hop celebrity, noting the reoccurrence of such Gothic tropes and narrational strategies as self-replication, the spectacle of monstrous proliferation, the spread of fakery and the counterfeit, as well as the abjection of women. The authors compare Stoker‘s Dracula to Eminem, whose cultural menace similarly functions to proselytise white young men into clones, refracting the racial and sexual anxieties of Stoker‘s novel. The article moves from a consideration of the rapper‘s songs and videos ‘My Name Is’, ‘The Real Slim Shady,’ and ‘Stan’ to the film, 8 Mile.