Search results

Author: Christina Morin

This book addresses the intriguing incongruity between naming Charles Robert Maturin as a 'well-known' author of the Romantic period and the lack of any real critical analysis of his works in the past thirty years. The central thesis of the book is that Maturin's novels provide the key to a new understanding of Irish national fiction as a peculiarly haunted form of literature. Specifically, it argues that Maturin's too often overlooked body of fiction forcefully underscores the haunting presence of the past and past literary forms in early nineteenth-century Irish literature. It is a presence so often omitted and/or denied in current critical studies of Irish Romantic fiction. The book represents a project of ghost-hunting and ghost-conjuring. It investigates the ways in which Maturin's fourth novel attempts to build on the ruins of the Irish nation by describing the fissures produced by religious sectarianism in the country. The book makes use of the rarely consulted correspondence between Maturin and the publisher Archibald Constable. It does this to emphasise the manner in which Maturin's completion of his novel, Melmoth the wanderer was at all times crowded by, and, indeed, infiltrated with, his work on competing texts. These include books of sermons, Gothic dramas, short stories, and epic poems interspersed with prose narrative.

Abstract only
Aspects of Gothic in Dickens‘s Fiction
Gill Ballinger

In recent years Dickens‘s use of Gothic has been the focus of some diverse and absorbing critical interpretations. This paper seeks to address in more detail the ways in which Gothic features in Dickens‘s various responses to the law in his work. Scenes of madness, hauntings and murder all feature as ways of punishing transgressive individuals in the form of melodramatic substitutes to state law in OliverTwist and Barnaby Rudge, and the Gothic affects justice in later novels such as LittleDorrit.,As Bleak House illustrates, the Gothic also enhances the horror of the law. Dickens employs the genre in different ways within specific texts, such as ThePickwick Papers. How the diverse uses of Gothic pertain to the law in Dickens‘s fiction are considered in this paper.

Gothic Studies
Jodey Castricano

In Shirley Jackson‘s novel The Haunting of Hill House, the tropes of haunting, telepathy, and clairvoyance serve to remind us that there is more to alterity than the shattering of the autos. In Jackson‘s novel, these tropes lead us to reconsider what we mean by subjectivity for, beyond the question of consciousness, they also destabilize what Sonu Shamdasani refers to as the “singular notion of the ‘unconscious’ that has dominated twentieth century thought,” especially via Freudian psychoanalysis. By drawing upon Carl Jung‘s theory of synchronicity in relation to quantum theory, this paper argues that Jackson‘s novel challenges certain classical models of human consciousness and subjectivity as well as psychoanalytic models of interpretation.

Gothic Studies
Nordic Gothic and colonialism
Johan Höglund

This chapter observes that while several studies of Anglophone Gothic have noted the close connection between Gothic and imperialism, very little of the scholarship that exists on Nordic Gothic has considered this dimension. This should be attributed not only to the general reluctance by scholarship to look beyond Anglophone Gothic, but also to the widespread belief that the Nordic countries remained outside the nineteenth-century colonial project. Referring to several studies that show that the Nordic nations were, in fact, eager participants in the colonial project, the chapter then discusses a number of late twentieth and early twenty-first century Nordic Gothic texts, with a focus on the fiction of Peter Høeg, Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and Anders Fager, and on the Swedish-French television series Idjabeaivváš (Jour Polaire/Midnight Sun/Midnattssol 2016). These texts are used to argue that Nordic Gothic, sometimes directly and sometimes furtively, addresses colonial concerns and that this tradition shows the same ambivalence towards this colonial past and present as does international Gothic.

in Nordic Gothic
Adrian Tait

garden-like spaces play an important role in shaping the narrative. Of these spaces, the most notable is a landed estate called Blackwater Park, a landscape garden that is at once thoroughly ordinary yet profoundly strange. As the novel unfolds, it becomes clear that Collins's apparently realistic tale of marital deceit and madness is inseparable from his haunting depiction of this latter-day instance of the Gothic (Botting 1998 : 131). For the ecocritic, the relevance is that the Gothic might itself represent a latent form of ecological awareness

in EcoGothic gardens in the long nineteenth century
The Gothic legacy of Shakespeare’s Wars of the Roses
Elisabeth Bronfen and Beate Neumeier

Elisabeth Bronfen introduces the issue of gender into her discussion of the political and aesthetic deployment of spectral apparitions. Focusing on Queen Margaret’s uncanniness as ‘woman and ruler’, who ‘embod[ies] the political unconscious of her world’, her reading of Shakespeare’s history plays ‘through the lens of contemporary popular culture’ allows her to locate the plays’ ‘Gothic sensibility’ in the ‘ambivalence about feminine political power read through subsequent recycling, resurfacing in contemporary cultural imagination’ such as Tony Gilroy’s film Michael Clayton (2007). At issue in her reading is the Gothic legacy of the monstrous female body as this gives voice both then and now to ‘dark positions in political power games’. At the same time, linking current films attesting to a cultural anxiety about female politicians and Shakespeare’s Gothic warrior queen in his early history plays, she also locates ‘the spectral power on which the mutual implication of dramatic violence on stage and political violence off stage thrives’, as another part of the cultural legacy of Gothic sensibility.

in Gothic Renaissance
Phantoms, fantasy and uncanny flowers
Editor: Sue Edney

This collection draws together scholarship from across fields of ecocriticism, ecoGothic, garden history, Romantic and Victorian studies and environmental humanities to explore how the garden in nineteenth-century Europe could be a place of disturbance, malevolence and haunting. Ranging from early nineteenth-century German fairy romance to early twentieth-century turbulence in children’s stories, gardens feature as containers and catalysts for emotional, spiritual and physical encounters between vegetal and human lives. The garden is considered a restorative place, yet plants are not passive: they behave in accordance with their own needs; they can ignore or engage with humankind in their own interests. In these chapters, human and vegetal agency is interpreted through ecoGothic investigation of uncanny manifestations in gardens – hauntings, psychic encounters, monstrous hybrids, fairies and ghosts – with plants, greenhouses, granges, mansions, lakes, lawns, flowerbeds and trees as agents and sites of uncanny developments, leading to disaster and death, radical life-changes, wisdom and sorrow. These Gothic garden stories illustrate our anxieties related to destruction at any level, and the chapters here provide unique insights from across the long nineteenth century into how plant life interacts uncannily with human distress and well-being.

Abstract only
Alexandra Warwick

This article examines the prevalence of Gothic in contemporary culture and criticism. It suggests that the description Gothic’ has become widespread in the aftermath of Derrida‘s work Spectres of Marx and that this threatens to undermine Gothics usefulness as a critical category. In examining contemporary culture it identifies the notions of trauma and mourning in the popular imagination as having contributed to a condition where Gothic no longer expresses the anxiety of the fragmented subject, but reaches towards a valorisation of damaged subjectivity.

Gothic Studies
Andrew Teverson

One of the dominant impressions given by the sculpture of Anish Kapoor is of haunting. In and around the definite presences, the manifest shining, brightly coloured forms, lie a series of baffling absences; the shades of presences that are in excess of the work, or the shadows of meanings not yet grasped. Perhaps this is most evident in the work that announces its haunting in its title, the spectral sculpture Ghost (1997), in which a sliver of light, caught dancing in the polished interior of a rugged block of Kilkenny limestone, becomes not only the `presence‘ that occupies the work but also a symbol of all that it is unable to embody and leaves hovering about its fringes and borders. This Ghost is Kapoor‘s haunted house sculpture; a sculpture in which the mysterious agency that unnerves the viewer is both the most significant occupant of its limestone mansion and, paradoxically, its most insignificant, or unsignifiable omission.

Gothic Studies
Gothic Terror(ism) and Post-Devolution Britain in Skyfall
Katarzyna Pisarska

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.

Gothic Studies