Gothic Terror(ism) and Post-Devolution Britain in Skyfall
The article examines the phenomenon of terrorism presented in Sam Mendes‘s film Skyfall (2012), with relation to Julia Kristeva‘s concept of the abject, developed further by Robert Miles in the context of nationalism and identity. While exploring the extraterritorial nature of terrorism, which in Skyfall breaches the borders of the symbolic order, threatening the integrity of the British nation-state represented by M, Bond, and MI6, the article also focuses on the relationship between the major characters, whose psychological tensions represent the country‘s haunting by the ghosts of colonialism, as Britain is forced to revisit its imperial past(s) and geographies at the fragile moment of post-devolutionary changes.
Palmer discusses Caeia March‘s Between The Worlds (1996) and Sarah Walter‘s Affinity (1999). Palmer argues that writers of lesbian fiction are drawn to the Gothic because it is a form which has traditionally given space to the representation of transgressive sexualities. The Gothic is also a vehicle through which the interrogation and problematising of mainstream versions of reality and so-called ‘normal’ values is made possible. Palmer argues that these novels parodically rework the grotesque portrayal of character, which is familiar from mainstream Gothic fiction and film, and in doing so they challenge and resignify the category of the abject to which lesbians and gay men are conventionally relegated.
‘The Gothic Aesthetics of Eminem’ examines key videos, lyrics, and performances of the white hip-hop celebrity, noting the reoccurrence of such Gothic tropes and narrational strategies as self-replication, the spectacle of monstrous proliferation, the spread of fakery and the counterfeit, as well as the abjection of women. The authors compare Stoker‘s Dracula to Eminem, whose cultural menace similarly functions to proselytise white young men into clones, refracting the racial and sexual anxieties of Stoker‘s novel. The article moves from a consideration of the rapper‘s songs and videos ‘My Name Is’, ‘The Real Slim Shady,’ and ‘Stan’ to the film, 8 Mile.
This article engages with the discourse of food and eating especially as related to the representation of the abject eating-disordered body. I will be particularly interested in the gothic representation of the anorexic and bulimic body in samples of medical advice literature and NHS websites and how they reinforce popular myths about anorexia by imagining the eating disordered body as a fixed object of abjection. Focusing on the use of gothic devices, tropes and narrative structure, these imaginations will be read against alternative representations of anorexic/bulimic bodies in autobiographical illness narratives, fictional accounts and a psychoanalytical case history in order to explore how gothic discourses can help opening up new understandings and conceptions of illness, healing and corporeality in the dialogue between medical staff and patients.
The diabetic body can be mapped as a profoundly Gothic landscape, referencing theories of the monstrous, the uncanny and the abject. Diabetes is revealed under what Foucault has termed the medical gaze, where the body becomes a contested site, its ownership questioned by the repeated invasion of medical procedures. As an invisible chronic illness, diabetic lifestyle is positioned in relation to issues of control, transformation, and the abnormal normal. Translating the Gothic trope of the outsider into medical and social realms, the diabetic body is seen as the Othered body ceaselessly striving to attain perfection through blood purification rituals. This essay examines how diabetes is portrayed in film and fine art practice from the filmic approach to diabetes as dramatic trope to fine art techniques that parallel ethnographic and sociological approaches to chronic illness.
Neoliberalism, Zombies and the Failure of Free Trade
The popular cultural ubiquity of the zombie in the years following the Second World War is testament to that monster‘s remarkable ability to adapt to the social anxieties of the age. From the red-scare zombie-vampire hybrids of I Am Legend (1954) onwards, the abject alterity of the ambulant dead has been deployed as a means of interrogating everything from the war in Vietnam (Night of the Living Dead, 1968) to the evils of consumerism (Dawn of the Dead, 1978). This essay explores how, in the years since 9/11, those questions of ethnicity and gender, regionality and power that have haunted the zombie narrative since 1968 have come to articulate the social and cultural dislocations wrought by free-market economics and the shock doctrines that underscore the will to global corporatism. The article examines these dynamics through consideration of the figure of the zombie in a range of contemporary cultural texts drawn from film, television, graphic fiction, literature and gaming, each of which articulates a sense not only neo-liberalism itself has failed but simply wont lie down and die. It is therefore argued that in an age of corporate war and economic collapse, community breakdown and state-sanctioned torture, the zombie apocalypse both realises and works through the failure of the free market, its victims shuffling through the ruins, avatars of the contemporary global self.
interpretations and reimaginings. Novelists, filmmakers, comic-book writers and artists in endless other media have been haunted by the Creature-turned-monster. Its composite quality can in many ways be read as an exceptional example of theabject, which, as Julia Kristeva puts it, ‘disturbs identity, system, order’. She argues that theabject ‘does not respect borders, positions, rules’, and remains ‘the in-between, the ambiguous, the composite’ (4). Is it the Creature’s deformed body that repulses or scares Victor, for instance, or its nearly human shape? The monster’s body
suggests that we might frame the question about the Middle
Ages and abjection in a slightly different way. It is not whether the
Middle Ages is necessarily always abject; it is whether theabjection we
feel is a way at getting at the truth. In Freud’s case, he found himself
in the familiarly uncomfortable position analogous to that of the
medieval torturer – one who allegedly wishes to get at the truth, but
Abject bodies and Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy
called into question. Carrier of diseases and transgressor of sexual,
social and physical norms, she horrifies and nauseates, provoking a
violent response. Rather than simply subverting normative forms of
identity, however, depictions of unattractive women frequently shore up
the fragile boundaries of these identities.
Kristeva’s theorisation of theabject sheds light on
(2005b: 105) underlines the corporeal, scatological implications of Schwitters’s Merz assemblages, resonating with Schmerz (pain) and
merde (shit), Dorothea Dietrich (1993: 192) has isolated three types of grottoes
incorporating various types of body fragments: Zivilisationgrottoes, filled with dismembered bodies, belonging to the category of theabject; Kulturgrottoes, where
body fragments, evoking relics, were covered with the patina of memory; and
finally, Freundschaftgrottoes, which housed objects and body-parts fetishistically
linked to their owners. The actual