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Suicide and the Gothic is the first protracted study of how the act of self-destruction recurs and functions within one of the most enduring and popular forms of fiction. Comprising eleven original essays and an authoritative introduction, this collection explores how the act of suicide has been portrayed, interrogated and pathologised from the eighteenth century to the present. The featured fictions include both the enduringly canonical and the less studied, and the geographical compass of the work embraces not merely British, European and American authors but also the highly pertinent issue of self-destruction in modern Japanese culture. Featuring detailed interventions into the understanding of texts as temporally distant as Thomas Percy’s Reliques and Patricia Highsmith’s crime fictions, and movements as diverse as Wertherism, Romanticism and fin-de-siècle decadence, Suicide and the Gothic provides a comprehensive and compelling overview of this recurrent crisis – a crisis that has personal, familial, religious, legal and medical implications – in fiction and culture. Suicide and the Gothic will prove a central – and provocative – resource for those engaged in the study of the genre from the eighteenth century onwards, but will also support scholars working in complementary literary fields from Romanticism to crime fiction and theoretical disciplines from the medical humanities to Queer Studies, as well as the broader fields of American and European studies. Its contents are as relevant to the undergraduate reader as they are to the advanced postgraduate and the faculty member: suicide is a crucial subject in culture as well as criticism.

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Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock

have established the ‘ground rules’ for how vampires act, Varney can take credit for one of the more curious recurring tropes of vampire narrative: vampire suicide. From Rymer’s un-dead omnibus, considered the first full-length work of vampire fiction, to modern vampire narratives including films such as Blacula (William Crain, 1972), Thirst (Park Chan-wook, 2009) and Only Lovers Left Alive (Jim Jarmusch, 2014); television programs such as True Blood (based on the Southern Vampire Mystery series by author Charlaine Harris) and Angel (the Buffy the Vampire

in Suicide and the Gothic
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The self-destroying Gothic villain in Pauline Hopkins’ Of One Blood
Bridget M. Marshall

This chapter explores how the villains in classic Gothic novels by Ann Radcliffe and Charles Brockden Brown used suicide to evade justice, and how this ‘suicide solution’ is later reworked by Pauline Hopkins in her 1903 Gothic novel Of One Blood . While the suicides of Radcliffe’s and Brown’s villains demonstrate their disregard for justice and judicial processes, Hopkins radically revises the possibility of justice through suicide. In these examples, suicidal Gothic villains present the reader with a complex moral quandary about how to

in Suicide and the Gothic
William Douglas’ funeral elegy on the Second Earl of Lothian
James Doelman

of the circumstances of death or of the dead father himself. This example provides some sense of the limitations for elegizing suicides in the period. In stark contrast to this general hesitation to commemorate poetically the self-killed, William Douglas’ nearly 800-line funeral elegy on Robert Kerr, Second Earl of Lothian (d. 1624), stands apart. This astonishing poem vehemently defends the Earl

in The daring muse of the early Stuart funeral elegy
Shakespeare’s Roman plays, republicanism and identity in Samson Agonistes
Helen Lynch

, especially, I’m going to claim here, Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra (although also Coriolanus and Titus Andronicus , as well as Macbeth, Hamlet, Richard III … of which more elsewhere). 2 This is a negotiation undertaken by a ‘strong reader’ with his own political and related religious preoccupations, concerns which centre on notions of oratory, identity, death and immortality. These are addressed not least through the question of suicide, classical and otherwise, Samson being ‘self-killed/Not willingly but tangled in the fold/Of dire necessity’ ( SA

in Conversations
Paul Wake

3 Lord Jim and the structures of suicide To be busy with material affairs is the best preservative against reflection, fears, doubts – all these things which stand in the way of achievement. I suppose a fellow proposing to cut his throat would experience a sort of relief while occupied in stropping his razor carefully. (Joseph Conrad, Chance) Suicide in Conrad’s novels In Writing as Rescue Jeffrey Berman makes the claim that ‘a higher suicide rate inheres within Conrad’s world than within that of any other major novelist writing in English’, a bold statement

in Conrad’s Marlow
Nicky Coutts

Vets have a tendency towards suicide. Or so Hélène Cixous proposes recounting seven vets who took their own lives over just a three-year period in her local area. 1 In notebooks, not originally intended for distribution, she tells the story of how the dark hair of a 35-year-old vet turned to white overnight following the violent suicide of his

in Perspectives on contemporary printmaking
Mikko Myllykangas

‘In greater nations, where large numbers of people create complicated social situations, where one can find plenty of riches, a lot of suffering, and high intelligence but also many degenerated individuals, the battle against self-murder can at times seem hopeless, and the onlooker is lead to believe it's all caused by grim determinism’. 1 This is how the Finnish physician Fredrik Wilhelm Westerlund (1844–1921) summarised the late nineteenth-century suicide discourse in April 1897. Observing

in Progress and pathology
Anne Marie Losonczy

Since the early 1990s, armed actors have invaded territories in the Chocó and Antioquia departments of Colombia, inhabited by Afro-Colombians and Indians whose collective rights in these territories had recently been legally recognised. Based on long-term fieldwork among the Emberá Katío, this article examines social, cosmological and ritual alterations and re-organisation around violent death. Following a national policy of post-conflict reparations, public exhumations and identifications of human remains reveal new local modes of understanding and administration. In particular, suicide, hitherto completely unknown to the Emberá, broke out in a multitude of cases, mostly among the youth. Local discourse attributes this phenomenon to the number of stray corpses resulting from the violence, who are transformed into murderous spirits which shamans can no longer control. The analysis focusses on the unprecedented articulation of a renewed eschatology, the intricate effects of an internal political reorganisation and the simultaneous inroad into their space of new forms of armed insurrectional violence. Thus the article will shed light on the emergence of a new transitional moral economy of death among the Emberá.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library