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Encountering the monstrous in American cinema
Susan J. Tyburski

Wild, dark times are rumbling toward us, and the prophet who wishes to write a new apocalypse will have to invent entirely new beasts, and beasts so terrible that the ancient animal symbols of St John will seem like cooing doves and cupids in comparison. (Heinrich Heine, ‘Lutetia; or, Paris

in Ecogothic
Nuclear winter in science and the world
Paul Rubinson

v 11 v Imagining the apocalypse: nuclear winter in science and the world Paul Rubinson Imagining Mars; imagining nuclear war Although rigorously trained in the rules of the scientific method, the astronomer Carl Sagan frequently relied on his imagination. At times, in fact, he could only use his imagination, since his proclaimed field of exobiology consisted of the study of life in outer space – something not yet proven to exist. Sagan’s imagination was especially active when it came to Mars; at one point he even pondered whether the moons of Mars were

in Understanding the imaginary war
Nuclear danger in Soviet Cold War culture
Miriam Dobson

v 3 v Building peace, fearing the apocalypse? Nuclear danger in Soviet Cold War culture Miriam Dobson There was no Soviet equivalent of On the Beach; no Russian Bill Haley hoping he would be the only man left with ‘Thirteen Women’ when the H-bomb went off. Before the Gorbachev era, few Soviet writers and film directors portrayed human civilisation on the brink of self-destruction, as in Nevil Shute’s novel, or tried to conjure up a post-apocalyptic world. In the USSR, the first film to depict nuclear holocaust was Konstantin Lopushanskii’s 1986 The Letters of

in Understanding the imaginary war
The American Gothic journeys of Jack Kerouac, Cormac McCarthy and Jim Crace
Andrew Smith

models of a threatened apocalypse. My argument is that Kerouac’s novel provides a version of the ‘road’ which is echoed in later post-environmental apocalyptic narratives such as Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006) and Jim Crace’s The Pesthouse (2007). Kerouac also elaborates a version of subjectivity which underpins these later exercises in American Gothic as they all attempt to theorize the

in Ecogothic
Daniel Anlezark

stone pillar and almost overwhelms the pagan cannibals of Mermedonia. Despite their differences, all the poems share an interest in two themes, which emerge from the biblical story of the Flood and its theological interpretation: covenant and apocalypse. Genesis A Scholars of Old English poetry generally agree that Genesis A is an early poem, perhaps written as early as the

in Water and fire
Neoliberalism, Zombies and the Failure of Free Trade
Linnie Blake

The popular cultural ubiquity of the zombie in the years following the Second World War is testament to that monster‘s remarkable ability to adapt to the social anxieties of the age. From the red-scare zombie-vampire hybrids of I Am Legend (1954) onwards, the abject alterity of the ambulant dead has been deployed as a means of interrogating everything from the war in Vietnam (Night of the Living Dead, 1968) to the evils of consumerism (Dawn of the Dead, 1978). This essay explores how, in the years since 9/11, those questions of ethnicity and gender, regionality and power that have haunted the zombie narrative since 1968 have come to articulate the social and cultural dislocations wrought by free-market economics and the shock doctrines that underscore the will to global corporatism. The article examines these dynamics through consideration of the figure of the zombie in a range of contemporary cultural texts drawn from film, television, graphic fiction, literature and gaming, each of which articulates a sense not only neo-liberalism itself has failed but simply wont lie down and die. It is therefore argued that in an age of corporate war and economic collapse, community breakdown and state-sanctioned torture, the zombie apocalypse both realises and works through the failure of the free market, its victims shuffling through the ruins, avatars of the contemporary global self.

Gothic Studies
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Degeneration in the Holy Land and the House of Usher
Molly Robey

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.

Gothic Studies
Christopher Z. Hobson

Written in the aftermath of the civil rights era’s expansive hopes, James Baldwin’s last novel, Just Above My Head (1979), examines a fundamental issue, the choice between hope and skepticism, or prophecy and doubt. Baldwin approaches this issue by questioning two cornerstone ideas of his fiction, the need for prophetic art and this art’s focus on anticipating a renovated society, often pictured in terms adapted from apocalyptic biblical texts and Gospel music lyrics. Just Above My Head is Baldwin’s fullest presentation of this kind of art and its linkage to apocalyptic hopes. He dramatizes these ideas in the art of his Gospel singer protagonist, particularly in a climactic scene of artistic dedication whose Gospel lyric envisions “tearing down the kingdom of this world.” Yet Baldwin also unsparingly questions these same ideas through plot and the blues-inflected skeptical-tragic consciousness of his narrator. Responding to a 1970s moment when hopes for transcendent justice seemed passé, Just Above My Head’s unique contribution is not to try to resolve the ideas it counterposes, but to face both the possible falseness of prophetic hope and our continuing need for it, and to present the necessity for choice in a final dream that holds the key to the novel’s meaning. In presenting this issue through a sustained double-voiced narrative that reexamines its author’s artistic practice and raises fundamental choices in outlook and conduct, Just Above My Head evidences the continuing artistic vitality of Baldwin’s late fiction.

James Baldwin Review
Daniel Gerster

v 9 v Catholic anti-communism, the bomb and perceptions of apocalypse in West Germany and the USA, 1945–90 Daniel Gerster Christian religion and war have shared a common history for centuries. There is, in fact, a long and entangled Christian discourse on ‘war’, even though Christianity has repeatedly emphasised the founding myth of it being purely a ‘peace religion’.1 Yet, since the late third century at the latest, such self-perception has conflicted with different Christian concepts that justified war and thus made it conceivable. Most influential in this

in Understanding the imaginary war
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The myth of the Flood in Anglo-Saxon England
Author: Daniel Anlezark

The story of the Flood, inherited by the Anglo-Saxons during their conversion to Christianity, was transformed by them into a vital myth through which they interpreted the whole of history and their place in it. The dual character of the myth, with the opposition between threatened destruction and hope of renewal, presented commentators with a potent historical metaphor, which they exploited in their own changing historical circumstance. This book explores the use of this metaphor in the writings of the Anglo-Saxons. It is the integration of a well-known biblical story into the historical and cultural self-definition of a group of people converted to Christianity and its worldview. The Flood in the Bible is clearly a punishment, though the sin is not so well defined. This forms part of a historical pattern of sin and punishment extending back to Eden, and progressed to the sin and exile of Cain. For Bede the historian, the Flood was a key event in the earlier history of the world; for Bede the theologian, the Flood was an event replete with mystical significance. In Exodus and Andreas all the poems share an interest in two themes, which emerge from the biblical story of the Flood and its theological interpretation: covenant and apocalypse. Noah is the 'one father' not only of Israel, but of the whole human race, and his introduction widens the concept of 'inheritance' in the Exodus. The book concludes with a detailed discussion of the significance of the Flood myth in Beowulf.