Literature and Theatre

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Laura Beadling

Older than America (2008), by Georgina Lightning (Cree), and Imprint (2007), directed by Michael Linn, who is non-Native, but who worked with producer Chris Eyre (Cheyenne/Arapaho), both use and revise Gothic elements to explore Indigenous history and contemporary issues. Both films use various Gothic elements to draw non-Native audiences into Native-centered movies that deal with Indigenous history and culture. Older than America simultaneously works to promote healing as well as addresses difficult but underrepresented history, while Imprint only uses Native history as a plot device and does not engage with setting, history, or trauma in effective or complex ways.

Gothic Studies
Eleanor Dobson

This essay proposes that a number of the concerns expressed in Dracula can be read through Bram Stoker’s employment of the imagery of precious metals and jewels. Focusing on the materiality of place – the treasure-laced landscape of Transylvania and the cliffs of Whitby famous for their reserves of jet – and the association between these materials and vampirism, I argue that analysing the symbolism of precious materials leads to a fuller understanding of many of the novel’s key anxieties. Not only does this analysis demonstrate Stoker’s elaborate use of jewel imagery in developing the notion of the female vampire as a hard, penetrative woman, it identifies the imperial implications of the trade in precious materials. In doing so, it claims that Stoker employs a ‘language of jewels’ in Dracula, through which he critiques the imperialistic plundering of Eastern lands, and demonstrates how these monsters – intimately entwined with these materials – attempt a rejection of Western appropriation.

Gothic Studies
Olivia Ferguson

This article considers the allusions to classical statuary in Matthew G. Lewis’s novel The Monk (1796) and his Journal of a West India Proprietor Kept during a Residence in the Island of Jamaica (1816). Drawing on John Barrell’s account of civic discourse on the fine arts after Shaftesbury, I explain and contextualise the centrality of the Venus de’ Medici statue to Lewis’s representations of male desire and male virtue. Images of Venus, both in The Monk and in the Journal, function as tests of civic virtue and articulate the conditions of Lewis’s entitlement to hold and govern slaves in Jamaica. Lewis’s colonial inheritance underpins the narratives of desire in The Monk, and inflects his authorship more generally.

Gothic Studies
Lovecraft‘s Sea Monsters
Antonio Alcalá González

This article proposes a nautical perspective as a new branch for Lovecraft studies. To achieve this, I analyse the irruption of monsters from sublime ocean depths in three sea stories of the author: Dagon, The Call of Cthulhu and The Shadow over Innsmouth. Lovecrafts particular method draws on the legacy left by Edgar Allan Poe in relation to horrors at the sea and by Arthur Machen and Algernon Blackwood in terms of presenting nature as the origin of undefeatable horrors. His style results in what I propose to call Lovecraft‘s nautical Gothic. In it, the arrival of monstrous sea entities horrifies his protagonists who, because of their encounters, must accept the minor role of humanity in the vastness of the natural order.

Gothic Studies
Exploring Nineteenth-Century Polar Gothic Space
Katherine Bowers

This article considers a unified polar Gothic as a way of examining texts set in Arctic and Antarctic space. Through analysis of Coleridge‘s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Shelleys Frankenstein, and Poe‘s The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket , the author creates a framework for understanding polar Gothic, which includes liminal space, the supernatural, the Gothic sublime, ghosts and apparitions, and imperial Gothic anxieties about the degradation of civilisation. Analysing Verne‘s scientific-adventure novel The Adventures of Captain Hatteras (1866) with this framework, the author contextualises the continued public interest in the lost Franklin expedition and reflects on nineteenth-century polar Gothic anxieties in the present day. Polar space creates an uncanny potential for seeing ones own self and examining what lies beneath the surface of ones own rational mind.

Gothic Studies
Jimmy Packham and David Punter

In a recent edition of Atlantic Studies, Hester Blum outlined the methodological approaches appropriate to the emergent field of oceanic studies, arguing that such work should prioritise the oceans material conditions, their nonhuman scale and depth andmulti-dimensional flux. Our aims in this essay are twofold: to consider the implications oceanic studies has for scholars of the Gothic while also considering the ways in which there is already a decidedly Gothic dimension to a critical framework championing nonhuman scale and depth and multi-dimensional flux. The literary analysis for this essay is rooted in a range of Gothic sea poetry. The poems explorations of depth, we argue, assert the prominence and pre-eminence of the uncanny nonhuman forms inhabiting the ocean, while the deep is shown to be a site haunted by the accumulation of history in which past blends with present, and where spatiality and temporality become unmoored from and exceed their traditional (or terrestrial) qualities.

Gothic Studies
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The Chronotope of the Ghost Ship in the Atlantic World
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.

Gothic Studies
Monstrosity, Ecocriticism and Socio-Political Anxieties in Two Sea Narratives
Mariaconcetta Costantini

This article analyses two recent American rewritings of the Leviathan myth: Dan Simmons‘s The Terror (2007) and Tim Curran‘s Leviathan (2013). Belonging to a tradition that has fruitfully elaborated the sea monster paradigm, both novels respond to current concerns about the spiritual and ethical decline of Western culture, the perils of anarchy, the monetarization of relations, and the impending ecological disasters. Besides exploring the biblical and Hobbesian intertextuality of the two novels, the article investigates various meanings coalescing into the scary creatures represented by Simmons and Curran. Two other objects of scrutiny are the increasing spectacularization of horror in todays literature and the potentiality of nautical Gothic, a form of writing that connotes the sea as a perturbing generator of psychoontological distress.

Gothic Studies
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Felicia Hemans and Burial at Sea in the Nineteenth-Century Imaginary
Jessica Roberson

This article identifies sea-burial as a topos of the early nineteenth-century imaginary that draws on both Gothic tropes and Romantic reformulations of Gothic aesthetics in order to signal a sea changed poetics of shifting dislocation, decay, and denial in the work of Felicia Hemans. The loss of a corpse at sea makes visible the extent to which any act of posthumous identification relies upon a complex network actively maintained by the living. This article will also develop our understanding of the ways in which Gothic tropes of burial might extend into specifically maritime literary cultures of the early nineteenth century. This strand of a nautical Gothic reflects not only nineteenth-century anxieties about nautical death but the corporeality of both individual and cultural memory. Such representations of sea-burial negotiate a nautical Gothic aesthetic that might propel new understanding of the relationship between poetry and the material dimensions of affective memorialization.

Gothic Studies
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Elizabeth Stuart Phelps‘s Kentucky‘s Ghost (1868)
Jen Baker

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 retribution.

Gothic Studies