‘And why murder? The central mystery of a detective story
need not indeed involve a violent death, but murder remains
the unique crime and it carries an atavistic weight of repugnance, fascination and fear.’203
Swedish crime fiction is a showcase for murder’s bloody allure.
Corpses pile up, despatched in a huge variety of surreptitious, inventive, and frenzied ways. The killing of another human being
represents the crossing of a final set of boundaries: moral, legal,
psychological, and physical, as the knife drives home. As the novels,
This book offers a cross-disciplinary approach to pain and suffering in the early modern period, based on research in the fields of literary studies, art history, theatre studies, cultural history and the study of emotions. Part I of the book discusses, inter alia, the different forms of how suffering was staged, how that staging anticipated certain affects of the onlooker. The focus is on early modern French tragedy and how theatre chose to represent violence, the shocking events of infanticide, and the representation of the enslaved body, where suffering and exoticism go hand in hand. Part II deals with the question of how the availability (both physically and conceptually) of a beholder affects the pain of a victim. It reaffirms the role that words that stand in for pain can have in consolidating the harrowing experience of watching 'King Lear'. It explores the motif of the captivating power of the woman's gaze as part of a wider discourse of male anxiety, and deals with the issue of a (neo-) Epicurean image criticism. The case of Irish Rebellion is used to discuss several forms of witnessing horror, pain and torture in the context of religious and colonial massacres. Part III of the book discusses the executions of Palermo and the role pain played in stock trade discourses in the early modern Dutch Republic. The different forms of punishment at stake, whether in a theatrical or a dramatic scene, imply modes of subjection that were deeply coloured theologically.
The book provides a comprehensive account of work camp movements in Britain before 1939, based on thorough archival research, and on the reminiscences of participants. It starts with their origins in the labour colony movement of the 1880s, and examines the subsequent fate of labour colonies for the unemployed, and their broadening out as disciplined and closed therapeutic communities for such groups as alcoholics, epileptics, tuberculosis sufferers and the ‘feeble-minded’. It goes on to examine utopian colonies, inspired by anarchist, socialist and feminist ideas, and designed to develop the skills and resources needed for a new world. After the Great War, unemployed camps increasingly focused on training for emigration, a movement inspired by notions of a global British national identity, as well as marked by sharp gender divisions. The gender divisions were further enhanced after 1929, when the world economic crisis closed down options for male emigration. A number of anti-industrial movements developed work camps, inspired by pacifist, nationalist or communitarian ideals. Meanwhile, government turned increasingly to work camps as a way of training unemployed men through heavy manual labour. Women by contrast were provided with a domesticating form of training, designed to prepare them for a life in domestic service. The book argues that work camps can be understood primarily as instrumental communities, concerned with reshaping the male body, and reasserting particularistic male identities, while achieving broad social policy and economic policy goals.
The body is a potential marker of monstrosity, identifying those who do not fit into the body politic. Irregularity and the grotesque have been associated with Gothic architecture and are also indicative of wayward flesh and its deformities. Through an investigation of the body and its oppression by the church, the medical profession and the state, this book reveals the actual horrors lying beneath fictional horror in settings as diverse as the monastic community, slave plantation, operating theatre, Jewish ghetto and battlefield trench. Original readings of canonical Gothic literary and film texts include The Castle of Otranto, The Monk, Frankenstein, Dracula and Nosferatu. This collection of fictionalised dangerous bodies will be traced back to the effects of the English Reformation, Spanish Inquisition, French Revolution, Caribbean slavery, Victorian medical malpractice, European anti-Semitism and finally warfare, ranging from the Crimean up to the Vietnam War. Dangerous Bodies demonstrates how the Gothic corpus is haunted by a tangible sense of corporeality, often at its most visceral. Chapters set out to vocalise specific body parts such as skin, genitals, the nose and eyes, as well as blood. The endangered or dangerous body lies at the centre of the clash between victim and persecutor and has generated tales of terror and narratives of horror, which function to either salve, purge or dangerously perpetuate such oppositions. This ground-breaking book will be of interest to academics and students of Gothic studies, gender and film studies and especially to readers interested in the relationship between history and literature.
The handling of the deceased during the COVID-19 pandemic, a case study in France and Switzerland
Gaëlle Clavandier, Marc-Antoine Berthod, Philippe Charrier, Martin Julier-Costes, and Veronica Pagnamenta
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about an unprecedented global crisis. To limit the spread of the virus and the associated excess mortality, states and governing bodies have produced a series of regulations and recommendations from a health perspective. The funerary aspects of these directives have reconfigured not only the ways in which the process of dying can be accompanied, but also the management of dead bodies, impacting on the dying, their relatives and professionals in the sector. Since March 2020, the entire process of separation and farewell has been affected, giving rise to public debates about funeral restrictions and the implications for mourning. We carried out a study in France and Switzerland to measure the effects of this crisis, and in particular to explore whether it has involved a shift from a funerary approach to a strictly mortuary one. Have the practices that would normally be observed in non-pandemic times been irrevocably altered? Does this extend to all deaths? Has there been a switch to an exclusively technical handling? Are burial practices still respected? The results of the present study pertain to the ‘first wave’ of spring 2020 and focus on the practices of professionals working in the funeral sector.
Late eighteenth-century science aimed to render the body transparent; in contrast, gothic novels of the same period often represented the body as an untrustworthy source of information about the self. In these novels, characters may often be reduced to a bodily or facial map, which may give clues as to personal character, motivation and intention. Yet the practice of reading the body – as practiced in sciences such as physiognomy, phrenology or criminology – also comes under intense interrogation. Through disastrous mis-readings, misdiagnoses and misidentifications, gothic novelists demonstrate how conflating body and self is deeply threatening to ideas of ‘unique’ personhood.
In this bold and exhilarating mix of memoir and writing guide, Melissa Febos tackles the emotional, psychological, and physical work of writing intimately while offering an utterly fresh examination of the storyteller’s life and the challenges it presents. How do we write about the relationships that have formed us? How do we describe our bodies, their desires and traumas? What does it mean to have your writing, or living, dismissed as “navel-gazing”—or else hailed as “so brave, so raw”? And to whom, in the end, do our most intimate stories belong? Drawing on her journey from aspiring writer to acclaimed author and writing professor—via addiction and recovery, sex work and academia—Melissa Febos has created a captivating guide to the writing life, and a brilliantly unusual exploration of subjectivity, privacy, and the power of divulgence. Candid and inspiring, Body Work will empower readers and writers alike, offering ideas—and occasional notes of caution—to anyone who has ever hoped to see their true self reflecting back from the open page.