In Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Gothic-horror novel Little
Star (2010) graphic violence has a central function – thematically, but
primarily as an aesthetic device. The plot contains motifs from classical video
nasties, motifs that also have an effect on the text itself. This paper examines
the novel’s use of extremely violent scenes, influenced by violent horror films,
defining them as a kind of remediation. One point being made is that the use of
violent effects, often described as a kind of spectacle, can be interpreted as a
formal play upon the conventions of violent fiction.
Sodomy, Abjection and Gothic Fiction in the Early Nineteenth Century
The essay looks at the public vilification of the sodomites exposed in the Vere Street scandal in the early nineteenth‐century and suggests a connection between these acts of violence and the violence that occurs in Gothic fiction of the same period.
Horror is not what it used to be. Nor are its Gothic avatars. The meaning of monsters, vampires and ghosts has changed significantly over the last 200 years, as have the mechanisms (from fiction to fantasmagoria, film and video games) through which they are produced and consumed. This book, moving from gothic to cybergothic, through technological modernity and across a range of literary, cinematic and popular cultural texts, critically examines these changes and the questions they pose for understanding contemporary culture and subjectivity. Re-examining key concepts such as the uncanny, the sublime, terror, shock and abjection in terms of their bodily and technological implications, it advances current critical and theoretical debates on Gothic horror to propose a new theory of cultural production based on an extensive discussion of Sigmund Freud's idea of the death drive.
Professional Integrity in Peril at the Fin de Siècle
This essay positions the drug-using doctor at the intersection between traditional Gothic horror and a new fin-de-siècle medical realism, embedding the cultural anxieties at the fin de siècle in relation to the ethical and theological boundaries of scientific knowledge. The objective is to provide a framework for reading and interpreting the medico-gothic narrative of addiction. The essay examines the writings of three pioneering physician-scientists: one historical – Sigmund Freud – and two fictional – Dr Jekyll, in Robert Louis Stevenson‘s Strange Case of DrJekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), and Dr Seward in Bram Stoker‘s Dracula (1897).
Poppy Z. Brite, Courtney Love and Gothic Biography
Gothic horror author Poppy Z. Brite wrote a biography of former Hole singer Courtney Love in 1997. What seemed an odd departure for the former actually took advantage of the Gothic valences in the latter‘s life and depictions in popular culture. The narrative gothicises Love‘s story while simultaneously repudiating and relying on Goth subculture for some of its legitimacy. This articulation of gothic literary form with Goth popular culture constitutes one traversal of Brite‘s text. Using concepts from Deleuze and Guattaris work, the essays reading of Courtney Love‘s biography is one plateau among others in an ongoing study of what I call ‘minoritarian gothic’ in popular and literary culture.
This article argues that Charles Maturins Melmoth the Wanderer embodies an ethical attitude towards its representations of Gothic violence and horror in the way that it self-reflexively stages its horrific scenes. By confronting its readers with a shifting distance from such violent scenes, the novel exposes readers to their own desire for and victimization by Gothic horror. While previous critics have tended to see Maturins novel as either glorying amorally in its excessive Gothic representations, or as recuperating its scenes of horror with a moral message, this article sees its ambiguous and undecidable attitude towards these scenes as embodying its ethical standpoint, a standpoint that challenges the illusion of literary coherence and that exposes its readers’ implication in the horror that lies traumatically within, and not safely outside, language.
The Chronotope of the Ghost Ship in the Atlantic
Julia Mix Barrington
Ghost ships haunt Atlantic literature, but surprisingly few scholars have focused on
these striking Gothic figures with any depth. Responding to this oversight, this essay
introduces the chronotope of the ghost ship to the literary conversation, tracing it
through four key transatlantic texts: Richard Henry Dana, Jr‘s Two Years Before the Mast
(1840), a tale of the Flying Dutchman found in Blackwoods Edinburgh Magazine (1821), The
Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798), and Melville‘s novella Benito Cereno (1855). Wherever
they appear in literature, ghost ships voice Gothic horror on the Atlantic; the strange
temporality of the frozen yet eternally journeying ghost ship engenders in these texts a
compulsion for communication with the living world. These Gothic missives bring
uncomfortable and unspeakable subjects – particularly the moral terror of slavery – into
the consciousness of more mainstream readers. To understand the ghost ship is to
understand the Gothic double of Gilroy‘s Atlantic world.
This article focuses on a cycle of late 1960s true crime films depicting topical
mass/serial murders. It argues that the conjoined ethical and aesthetic
approaches of these films were shaped within and by a complex climate of
contestation as they moved from newspaper headlines to best-sellers lists to
cinema screens. While this cycle was central to critical debates about screen
violence during this key moment of institutional, regulatory and aesthetic
transition, they have been almost entirely neglected or, at best, misunderstood.
Meeting at the intersection of, and therefore falling between the gaps, of
scholarship on the Gothic horror revival and New Hollywood’s violent
revisionism, this cycle reversed the generational critical divisions that
instigated a new era in filmmaking and criticism. Adopting a historical
reception studies approach, this article challenges dominant understandings of
the depiction and reception of violence and horror in this defining period.
Gothic, in a sense, has always been 'queer'. This book illustrates the rich critical complexity which is involved in reading texts through queer theories. It provides a queer reading of such early Gothic romances as William Beckford's Vathek, Matthew Gregory Lewis's The Monk, and Charles Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer. Building upon critical trend of desire between men, the book examines Frankenstein's engagement with sexual rhetoric in the early nineteenth century. It explores some ways in which the signifying practices of queerness are written into the language and, therefore, the signifying practices of Gothic fiction. Teleny's apparently medicalised representation of homosexual erotic love contains some strikingly Gothic elements. The book examines how the courtroom drama of the E. M. Forster's A Passage to India focuses on the monstrous possibility of miscegenation, an Indian accused of raping an Englishwoman. Antonia White's Frost in May can be contextualised to the concept of the 'lesbian Gothic', which helpfully illuminates the representation of adolescent female subjectivity and sexuality. Same-sex desire is represented indirectly through sensuous descriptions of the female body and intertextual allusions to other erotic texts. The book considers how the vampire has become an ambivalent emblem of gay sexuality in late twentieth-century Gothic fiction by examining Interview with the Vampire and Lost Souls. The understanding of the Gothic and queer theory in a pop video is achieved by considering how Michael Jackson's use of the Gothic in Thriller and Ghosts queers the temporality of childhood.
This book argues the centrality of hybridity to Terry Gilliam's films. Gilliam had a collaborative approach to filmmaking and a desire to provoke audiences to their own interpretations as other forms of intertextual practice. Placing Gilliam in the category of cinematic fantasist does some preliminary critical work, but crudely homogenises the diversity of his output. One way of marking this range comes from understanding that Gilliam employs an extraordinary variety of genres. These include medieval comedy; children's historical adventure; dystopian satire; the fantastic voyage; science fiction; Gonzo Journalism; fairy tale; and gothic horror. Gilliam's work with Monty Python assured him a revered place in the history of that medium in Britain. As a result, the Python films, And Now for Something Completely Different, The Holy Grail, Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life, along with his own, Jabberwocky, Time Bandits, and Brazil, show him moving successfully into the British film industry. Most of his films have been adaptations of literary texts, and Jabberwocky forges an extended tale of monsters and market forces. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen builds on some tales from the original texts, constructing a complex examination of fantasy, representation and mortality. Taking crucial ingredients from medieval and older mythologies, the screenplay of The Fisher King resituates them and reworks them for modern America. Gilliam's complex interaction with Britain and America explains his ambiguous place in accounts of American and British films.