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Queering the Gothic Parody of Arsenic and Old Lace

Frank Capras Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), based on Joseph Kesselrings popular Broadway play, has been largely ignored by critics and Capra-philes. The film is generally perceived of as existing outside of the corpus of Capras other films, such as Its a Wonderful Life, Mr Deeds Goes to Town, and Mr Smith Goes to Washington. As Thomas Schatz states, the feeling about Arsenic is that it is little more than a serving of canned theater, an entertaining and straightforward recreation,of the stage play with virtually none of the style or substance of earlier Capra-directed pictures. Victor Scherle and William Turner Levy note that ‘Capra left the play essentially unchanged and did not embellish it with any special social significance’. In his extensive biography of the director, Joseph McBride goes so far as to state that the filming of Arsenic signals the beginning of a ‘flight from ideas’ which would continue for most of Capras career.

Gothic Studies

information’ to a more ‘progressive perspective’ ‘shares the norms of sexual normativity held by moral traditionalists but feels they are best achieved through open and frank discussion’. So, whilst such a shift in sex education policy may be understood on the one hand to have constituted a loosening of the dominant moral framework, on the other, Thorogood (2000: 434) points out, ‘it invoked a desire for more explicit moral regulation’, ‘more explicit discussion of sexual behaviours, both “normal” and “deviant”, and more pervasive forms of control’. ‘Since sexual identity

in Object matters
Matrilinearity, Sufism, and l’errance in the autofictional works of Abdellah Taïa

assume his guilt-ridden difference. Abdellah embraces here a more sensual and less inhibited metaphysical manifestation of Islam, yet one which, despite its occasional subversion of gender roles and sexual normativity, as we will see now, remains partly steeped in patriarchal values. By becoming one with the Sufi crowd, however, Abdellah micropolitically assembles the different parts of his identity, in a manner that de-polemicises his seemingly conflicting sexual, cultural, national, and religious allegiances, thus placing a temporary hold on those societal pressures

in Queer Muslim diasporas in contemporary literature and film
Normative masculinity and disciplined gun violence

him to discount ‘the repressive hypothesis’ in The History of Sexuality, and legions of Guns, governmentality, and normativity 169 scholars have followed his lead to analyze and critique sexual normativity. A full accounting of this tradition is beyond the scope of this book, and certainly cannot be fully appreciated within a note. Michael Warner’s book, The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and the Ethics of Queer Life (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999), has greatly informed my formulation of normativity and I have relied on his insights in

in Gunslinging justice
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Bound together

sometimes incorporate sadomasochism, power play, bondage, fisting, discipline, humiliation, flagging, flogging, fucking, and much more. To wit, leather also encompasses kissing, hugging, flirting, talking, and other practices that are often seen as sexually normative. Within contemporary BDSM communities Introduction these seemingly benign activities are positioned as ‘vanilla,’ but I would argue that these less-sensationalistic corporeal performances of the flesh become part-and-parcel of leathersexualities when coupled with practices usually associated with

in Bound together
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Queering Islam and micropolitical disorientation

Orientalist tropes. The term queer , on the other hand, although still Western, is associated with a more polymorphous and less essentialising liberation from sexual normativity, as well as with epistemic resistance. Homosexual , like gay and lesbian , is formulated as an essential identity and exclusive desire, whereas queer , first reclaimed in the age of poststructuralism, became a tool for sexual liberation based on social and individual performance rather than on an essentialist identitarian configuration, yet, when used as an umbrella term, it has enough

in Queer Muslim diasporas in contemporary literature and film
Interstitial queerness and the Ismaili diaspora in Ian Iqbal Rashid’s poetry and films

sculptures and place cards. And so do you, Nuru, don’t pretend. But if Khaled can do his duty, there’s no reason why Alim can’t. ( Touch of Pink , 2004 ) Dolly’s confession demonstrates that, despite her knowledge of Khaled and Alim’s queerness, discovered while they were in their adolescence, when Nuru was in London and Alim was left with Dolly’s family, her social aspirations require her son to kowtow to the heteronormativity of their Ismaili community. This sexual normativity is constructed as Khaled’s ‘duty’ to his

in Queer Muslim diasporas in contemporary literature and film
Brixton acid and rave

metronomes’. But this rhythmic regularity achieved through the use of quantised digital drum machines and sequencers is given a high value by house, rave and techno audiences, who consider the repetitive nature of house rhythm an aid to achieving transcendent trance-like states on the dancefloor. 166 London.indb 166 04/10/2019 12:00:17 From Ibiza to London: Brixton acid and rave Disco critic Walter Hughes has suggested this rhythmic discipline can have a socio-psychological payoff, subverting both race and sexual normativity. Submission to the ‘insistent, disciplinary

in It’s a London thing