This book explores a number of Alan Moore's works in various forms, including comics, performance, short prose and the novel, and presents a scholarly study of these texts. It offers additional readings to argue for a politically charged sense of Moore's position within the Gothic tradition, investigates surreal Englishness in The Bojeffries Saga, and discusses the doppelganger in Swamp Thing and From Hell. Radical environmental activism can be conceived as a Gothic politics invoking the malevolent spectre of a cataclysmic eco-apocalypse. The book presents Christian W. Schneider's treatment of the apocalyptic in Watchmen and a reassessment of the significance of liminality from the Gothic tradition in V for Vendetta. It explores the relationship between Moore's work and broader textual traditions, placing particular emphasis on the political and cultural significance of intertextual relationships and adaptations. A historically sensitive reading of From Hell connects Moore's concern with the urban environment to his engagement with a range of historical discourses. The book elucidates Moore's treatment of the superhero in relation to key Gothic novels such as The Castle of Otranto and presents an analysis of the nexus of group politics and survival in Watchmen. The book also engages in Moore's theories of art, magic, resurrections, and spirits in its discourse A Small Killing, A Disease of Language, and the Voice of the Fire. It also explores the insight that his adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft, which are laced with heterocosms and bricolage, can yield for broader understandings of his forays into the occult.
Heterocosms and bricolage in Moore’s recent reworkings of Lovecraft
Matthew J.A. Green
language, etc., a world […] from which they must
borrow their tools, if only to destroy the former
The League exemplifies Moore’s practice of adapting,
reworking and combining the heterocosms of other writers and
artists. Defined by Linda Hutcheon as ‘literally an
“other world” or cosmos’, a heterocosm includes
all ‘the stuff
coexistence of various semiotic and kinetic layers and
mutually exclusive aisthetic perspectives. It amasses wildly associative material so
that even vaguely clear perspectives get lost.
This deliberately unwieldy Regie under GDR censorship served as camouflage
for political critique. Later, Castorf ’s four- to six-hour-long productions expressed his
deliberate stance against the absolutist regime of capitalist realism. In doing so (and
Castorf ’s evocation of ethics certainly reminds us of this crucial intention), his work
attempted to represent the ‘heterocosm’ that
prefatory sonnet to his 1603 Microcosmos , addressed
‘ To the iudicious Reader ’, one of a series of
poetic prefaces to the work, eulogises microcosmic containment and
diminutive scale, as if fulfiling the role performed by poetic
‘microcosms or miniature heterocosms’ envisioned by
Anthony D. Cousins and Peter Howarth. 20 In both the sonnet itself and
its printed marginal
ontological difference within a fictional heterocosm that is otherwise
homogeneous. See Postmodernist Fiction (1987; reprinted London:
Routledge, 1991), p. 28.
David Bohm, ‘A New Theory of the Relationship of Mind and Matter’,
Philosophical Psychology, 3: 2 (1990), pp. 271–86; reproduced at: http://
members.aol.com/Mszlazak/BOHM.html (accessed 12 January 2005).
David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order (London: Routledge,
1980), p. 31.
Students of literature are more commonly referred to Henri Bergson’s
ideas about consciousness (which may have inspired Proust), as a
The Gothic imperative in The Castle of Otranto and ‘For the Man Who Has Everything’
that combines a vast range of
discrete literary and non-literary sources. It is in this context
that Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto appears
overtly in Moore’s oeuvre, as a single item in a long list
recorded by ‘The New Traveller’s Almanac’, a
fictitious compendium documenting notable sites from The
League ’s heterocosm. Otranto here appears nestled
nature through acts of ‘making’. 13 The implied ideal reader also contributes a politicised and interpersonal charge to the image reflected.
In a classic essay on the Renaissance imagination, Harry Berger Jr.’s reflections on the distinctions between green worlds and second worlds, or heterocosms, introduced the paradigmatic idea that the act of holding a mirror up to nature is impossible,
unless we have first framed a reflecting or refracting surface which is different and at a distance from whatever nature we