‘A Medium’, the final story of the Antipodes collection, offers
a statement about narrative that is generally useful in dealing
with Malouf’s short fiction: ‘There is no story, no set of events
that leads anywhere or proves anything – no middle, no end’
(A, 160). Significantly, there is invariably a beginning for every
story; only the progressive, teleological development, through
the middle to the end, is dismissed as illusory. A story then is
a matter of beginning; one may even say a story is all beginning. This critical, theoretical
preoccupation with spectrality is an established feature of his
fiction. In an interview following the release of his 2008
collection of shortstories Dangerous Laughter , he confessed
to a special interest in ‘ghostliness’, a term which
applies with particular relevance to several of his narratives,
which are also concerned
Postcolonial Manchester offers a radical new perspective on Britain's devolved literary cultures by focusing on Manchester's vibrant, multicultural literary scene. This book presents the North West of England as quintessential 'diaspora space' and contributes to a better understanding of the region in social, cultural and aesthetic terms. It examines the way in which stories, poems and plays set in locales such as 'the Curry Mile' and Moss Side, have attempted to reshape Manchester's collective visions. The book features a broad demographic of authors and texts emanating from different diasporic communities and representing a wide range of religious affiliations. Manchester's black and Asian writers have struggled to achieve recognition within the literary mainstream, partly as a result of exclusion from London-centric, transnational publishing houses. Manchester's unfortunate reputation as one of Britain's 'crime capitals' is analysed by the use of fiction to stretch and complicate more popular explanations. A historical overview of Manchester's literary anthologies is presented through a transition from a writing that paid tribute to political resistance to more complex political statements, and focuses on the short story as a literary mode. The book combines close readings of some of the city's best-known performance poets such as Lemn Sissay and SuAndi with analysis of the literary cultures that have both facilitated and challenged their art. The book affords readers the opportunity to hear many of the chapter authors 'in their own words' by reflecting on how they themselves in terms of the literary mainstream and their identities.
Recent criticism has increasingly asserted the centrality of gothic in the Canadian canon, and explicitly gothic conceptions of the forested and frozen North inform several of Margaret Atwood‘s novels, poems, essays and short stories. Her haunted wilderness settings are sites for the negotiation of identity and power relationships. This essay focuses on her 1970 poem sequence The Journals of Susanna Moodie and her short story `Death by Landscape (from her 1991 Wilderness Tips collection), considering them in relation to critical models of postcolonial gothic.
Transformations of the Human in the Writing of Liam O‘Flaherty
This paper examines the way in which the tension in O‘Flaherty‘s writing between disappointed idealism and lingering romanticism is expressed by his use of the grotesque, which enables him at once to display both revulsion and romantic resistance to limitation, both of which are counter to a coherent enlightenment view of the rational human. The paper traces O‘Flaherty‘s use of the grotesque in the short stories and a number of historical novels and his creation of figures which are sometimes monstrous, often humorous and sometimes enlightened by moments of transcendence of limitations, but always resistant to defining boundaries.
Hawthorne, Ligotti, and the Absent Center of the Nation-State
Donald L. Anderson
Although composed before 9/11, Nathaniel Hawthorne‘s My Kinsman, Major Molineux and Thomas Ligotti‘s The Shadow at the Bottom of the World are both prescient in their critique of the impulse of American communities following 9/11 to monumentalise and concretise the nation-state and in particular the remains at Ground Zero. In this essay I discuss Ground Zero as a suggestive trope for the illusiveness of the nation as an imagined community. These complementary Gothic short stories operate as allegory and offer a way of reading how patriotic communities cohered around what remained at Ground Zero and (re)produced it as a site of patriotic performance. A new Gothic trait in our age of terror(ism) is the anxiety over the absence of a stable centre that anchors national continuity. This article places these short stories in conversation with Benedict Anderson,,Étienne Balibar and other theorists who engage critiques of nation-building in order to draw out what is Gothic about the nation-state and to further substantiate how 9/11 revealed the nation-state as a principally Gothic phenomenon.
Elsewhere, but always subsumed within more general issues, I have argued for paying more attention to the Gothicism in the writings of James Kirke Paulding, whose literary career spanned the first half of the nineteenth century. He is one of those American writers who, like murder, will out, despite more neglect than his accomplishments deserve. By 1830 - to cite but one example of Paulding‘s significance - when Hawthorne and Poe were still apprentices in the craft of short fiction, a span of years had passed during which Paulding‘s productions in this genre clearly justified such labels as ‘the Paulding decade of the short story’ (Amos L. Herold‘s designation). Harold E. Hall, moreover, ranks ‘Cobus Yerks and ‘The Dumb Girl’, two Paulding tales from this period, among the finest early nineteenth-century American short stories. Although personal and career necessities often drew him away from literary pursuits, Paulding should by no means be ignored; his name keeps surfacing, particularly when the topic is literary nationalism, as Benjamin T. Spencer, John Seelye, Michael John McDonough, and I have already indicated. Paulding is also remembered as a pioneer in presenting frontier life in fiction and for his early essays in what we now term Southwestern Humor.1
Money, Commerce, Language, and the Horror of Modernity in ‘The Isle of Voices’
Money, not merely as subject in literature but also in its very form and function, exhibits qualities of spectral evanescence, fetishised power over the imagination, and the uncontrollable transgression of boundaries and limits, which closely parallel the concerns and anxieties of Gothic literature. Yet it is in the writings of economic theorists and commentators on market society like Adam Smith and Karl Marx that these Gothic anxieties about money are most clearly articulated. Stevensons short story ‘The Isle of Voices’, read in the context of his comments on money in his other writings, is one of the few fictional texts which uses these properties of money to create what might be called a ‘financial Gothic’ narrative, which nevertheless has insights and implications for the narratives of capitalist modernity in general.
Elizabeth Stuart Phelps‘s Gothic short story Kentucky‘s Ghost (1868) is amongst the most
distinctive of ghost-child narratives to be published in the nineteenth and early
twentieth centuries. This is owing, foremost, to its unique topographical and social
setting; taking place at sea amongst an all-male crew of mostly lower-class sailors,
rather than in the large suburban or rural house of middle or upper-class families that
were typical of this Anglo-American literary sub-genre. This article considers the
child-figure in Phelpss tale within intersecting frameworks: firstly, within a tradition
of nautical folklore that is integral to producing the tales Gothic tone. Secondly, within
a contemporary context of frequently romanticised depictions of child-stowaways in
literature, but a reality in which they were subjected to horrific abuse. Finally, her
tale is discussed as a reformist piece that, despite its singularities, draws on darker
versions of literary and folkloric dead-child traditions to produce a terrifying tale of
This paper examines how the reconfiguration of embodiment at the end of the nineteenth century provides Charlotte Mew with a powerful trope of disembodiment which she employs to inscribe a new kind of body in her short story, ‘Passed’- a body which allows the expression of lesbian desire. The ‘reconfiguration of embodiment’ discussed in this essay is, more specifically, the result of the emergence of the ‘machinic-human body’ (a precursor to the post-human at this time). This paper discusses how this machinic-human body ‘which is Gothic or ‘abhuman’ as the term is employed by Kelly Hurley in her book, The Gothic Body is linked to Mew‘s use of erasure, silence, death, and out-of-body-experience, and how Mew employs erasure of the printed word, and death of the heterosexual body to encode a new body, with ‘new’ desires. In ‘Passed’, text and body are intimately linked such that within the world of the story erasure of the written word is associated with the erasure of the heterosexual body, and this very erasure enacts an encoding of a homosexual one. At the same time, of course, it is Mew‘s use of print that allows the erasure and encoding that is the work of the story.