Phantom publics: imagining ways of
For democracy remains to come; this is its essence insofar as it remains: not only
will it remain indefinitely perfectible, hence always insufficient and future, but,
belonging to the time of the promise, it will always remain, in each of its future
times, to come: even when there is democracy, it never exists, it is never present,
it remains the theme of a non-presentable concept.1
[A]n aesthetic politics always defines itself by a certain recasting of the distribution of the sensible, a
‘The phantom of liberty’:
new youth activism
Gdanjsk osamdesete, kad je jesen rekla ne
Gdanjsk osamdesete, držali smo palc eve
Rudari, studenti, brodogradilište svi mi
Gdanjsk osamdesete uzazvrele tvornice
Dvaput se ne šalju tenkovi na radnike
Nisu se usudili pobijedili smo svi mi
Poljska u mome srcu …1
‘Poljska u mome srcu’, Azra (1981)
The SSOJ was not simply an arena where a younger generation critiqued an
older order and value system –it was also a space where new political languages
and forms of youth activism developed. This indeed stands in
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.
Through the prisms of psychoanalysis and narrative theory the article addresses the concepts of temporality and transgenerational phantom in Elizabeth Gaskells Gothic piece ‘The Poor Clare’ (1856). Gaskells text, which revolves around an ancestral curse, is but a loose repetitious narrative characterized by the circularity of its structure and tone – its end casting one back into its middle – with its narrator narrating the past locked into the present, which is completely determined by the future, by the curse to be fulfilled. Narration becomes unsettling and obsessional, revealing the texts shared phantoms/foreign bodies as these implicate the characters and the narrating persona in a complex web of unconscious identifications and psychic splits, eventually coming to congeal around the biblical prophecy: ‘the sins of the fathers shall be visited upon the children’. In being reiterated throughout, the cryptic and (encrypted) words reaffirm both the efficacy of the curse –which always already doubles back on the one that has hurled it – and the texts playing out of desire and trauma, thus rendering the celebrated subject of the Enlightment both an ailing subject and an alien to itself.
Marryat’s involvement with the Lower Canada Rebellion situated his encounter with
civil war at its ‘most exterminating’ within the production of
Phantom, the Cycle’s least conventional historical sea novel;
it offered both a point of imaginative recursion and a concentrated image of his
broader critique of the Early Republic. Just as the seamen of Midshipman
Easy or The Naval Officer operate within multiple
hierarchies at once, Marryat’s strangest yarn, replete with ghost ships and
werewolves, operates across multiple genres and cultural formations. The common
denominator for both the writer and the written in this case is multivalence –
the ship that is both ship and ghost, the woman who is both mother and wolf,
their writer who is both ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’, witness and contriver – but
in this, Marryat the writer performs the same essential functions as imperial
agents and colonial ‘factors’ do within Phantom: adjudication,
translation, and open-ended transformation.
Trauma realities defy easy access to comprehension and thus require alternative discourses to understand them. This article looks at Pat Barkers employment of the Gothic tropes in the examination and explication of war trauma in her Regeneration trilogy. More pertinently, it scrutinizes the complex relation between Gothicized landscapes and trauma by analyzing three specific sites – Craiglockhart War Hospital, trenches and England as ‘Blighty’ – in the Regeneration trilogy. This article shows traumas destabilizing impact by examining how landscapes become imprinted with trauma. The physical disempowerment of landscapes is further complemented by a psychological disempowerment by examining traumatized patient-soldiers mindscapes and dreamscapes. It further examines how Barker employs tropes of haunting, dreams and nightmares, staple Gothic emotions of fear, terror and horror, Freuds Unheimlich to dispossess the owners control and locates trauma realities lurking therein. Thus Barkers Regeneration narrative bears witness to the phantom realities of war trauma by privileging the uncanny personal histories of traumatized soldiers.
This article examines Pat Barker‘s novel Another World (1998) in order to argue that it portrays the masculine subject as precarious and unstable. This is linked to the novels regional setting, in which traditional ‘heavy’ industries such as armaments manufacturing are in decline, thus depriving men of an authoritative public and private role. Viewed from the perspective of postfeminism, this might be regarded as a sign that male (and female) roles can be renegotiated in order to achieve greater gender equality. However, Barker‘s frequent references to Gothic texts renders this crisis sinister and uncanny. This paper uses references to Nicolas Abraham‘s essay ‘Notes on the Phantom’ in order to assert that Another World‘s preoccupation with murder and haunting reveals a compulsive desire to cover up this sense of ‘lack’ that Barker implies characterises modern masculine subjectivity.
This Introduction by John Whatley to ‘Gothic Cults and Gothic Cultures 2: Historical Gothic’, his second issue as guest editor of Gothic Studies, begins with a brief summary of some of the conclusions found in Gothic Studies 4/2, and goes on to explain how the seven new articles in 5/1 explore the relations between Gothic cults and cultures in their historical dimensions. The articles illustrate how threats posed by conspiratorial groups of the Gothic past were responsible for the infiltration of the spectral and uncanny into everyday life, so the fear of dangerous ideas and conspiracies figures in the apparitions and phantoms of Gothic culture. To help contextualise the articles, this Introduction outlines the shapes and origins of cults in the Gothic texts of the past, for example in religious sects and robber bands. A summary of each article then follows.
This book follows a psychologist's quest to understand one of the most curious experiences known to humankind: the universal, disturbing feeling that someone or something is there when we are alone. What does this feeling mean and where does it come from? When and why do presences emerge? And how can we begin to understand a phenomenon that can be transformative for those who experience it and yet almost impossible to put into words? The answers to these questions lie in this tour-de-force through contemporary psychology, psychiatry, neuroscience and philosophy. Presence follows Ben Alderson-Day's attempts to understand how this experience is possible. The journey takes us to meet explorers, mediums and robots, and step through real, imagined and virtual worlds. Presence is the story of whom we carry with us, at all times, as parts of ourselves.