Poking around old manuscripts and researching dusty archives helped Natasha Rebry unravel the mysteries of the Victorian era. She sought new insights by blending her study of Gothic literature with the history of modern psychology for her PhD dissertation.
According to a curious, subtle, now largely forgotten writer: "Any event in this world - any human being for that matter - that seems to wear even the faintest cast or warp of strangeness, is apt to leave a disproportionately sharp impression on one's senses."
In contrast, he goes on, "Life's mere ordinary day-to-day - its thoughts, talk, doings - wither and die out of the mind like leaves from a tree. Year after year a similar crop recurs, and that goes too. It is mere debris, it perishes. But these other anomalies survive, even through the cold of age."
I’ve been thinking about genre lately – about the boundaries of the Gothic genre as a whole and about the ongoing currency of definitions of the ‘female Gothic’ in particular. I have never been particularly worried about whether any given text met enough Gothic criteria to ‘count’ as a Gothic novel, but the question of generic definitions is one I’m used to answering. And I have always hated the category of the ‘female Gothic’, for all the usual reasons about its tendency to encourage ahistorical gender essentialism. Overall, I have a strong sense that over-reliance on generic demarcations is confining, but I remain curious as to whether this is countered by the usefulness of such classification.
While Frankenstein is mentioned, what the Parc Byron historical marker could have elaborated upon is that during the summer of 1816, its author, 18-year old Mary Shelley, arrived in Geneva for a second time with her poet-dreamer lover Percy Byshee Shelley, their illegitimate son, William, her step-sister Claire Claremont, and a lot of emotional baggage. She had already been in a relationship with Percy for two years, had traveled Post-Napoleonic Europe, birthed and mourned her first child, dabbled in a somewhat irksome experimentation in free love, and upon her homecoming to London, felt the shame of a tarnished reputation.
A unique re-working of Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is in the making in Bristol. Jekyll 2.0, under the guidance of Dr. Anthony Mandal (University of Cardiff) and SlingShot, is set to provide “a pervasive media adaptation of Stevenson’s novel—a reclamation of Jekyll and Hyde‘s transgressive power and a reframing of its central themes for the age of the bio-hacker. Neither a game nor a story, Jekyll 2.0 is an adaptation of a classic literary book in order to explore whether ‘humanity’ is a stable and meaningful concept or simply a convenient construction. It merges linear fictional ‘narrative’, the interactivity associated with gaming and technologically advanced bio-sensory equipment in various innovative ways.”
One of the greatest paradoxes of the 21st century is the fact that, even though western societies have reached an outstanding scientific and technological development, fear and insecurity continue to be very much alive in public discourse as well as in our private life. Concerns about terrorism, urban criminality, global epidemics, computer piracy and organized crime and, more recently, about the outcomes of the financial and economic crises circulate widely in the media and their highly politicized representations shape much of our everyday life.
To what extent are many of these (in)securities real, exaggerated or constructed? What explains the disparate amount of attention paid to different sources of insecurity? Why do certain forms of “terror” achieve the status of “spectacles” and “memorable events”, while others receive comparatively little attention by the media and popular discourse?
Sheridan Le Fanu and Victorian scholars alike should note that the latest edition of Gothic Press‘s open access journal Le Fanu Studies is now live. Volume 8 issue 1 features a number of interesting reviews and, along with links to the journal’s back catalogue, it can be found here: http://www.lefanustudies.com/.
A brief, long-lost essay by "Treasure Island" author Robert Louis Stevenson will be published on Friday, the Associated Press reports. The essay will appear in the Strand magazine, a mystery fiction quarterly out of Birmingham, Mich. The Strand has previously uncovered famous authors' unpublished works.
These three videos show the chronological progression of Gothic Literature form Horace Walpole, author of The Castle of Otranto, to Anne Rice, Stephen King, and others. Watch in full screen mode to appreciate the video creator’s choices of magnificent artwork.
Watching this progression gives greater insight into the developments of the Gothic genre, from passionate tales of Romance, like Wuthering Heights to the ever increasing darkness of Hell House.
Ireland’s Harry Clarke drew these for some Edgar Allan Poe books in the 20s. Alongside his illustrations, Clarke also worked with his brother making secular and religious stained glass windows, they’re a pretty big deal, but these creepy monotone prints are the best. Ireland put him on a stamp, too.
The 2013 Edgar Award winners were presented by the Mystery Writers of America for the best mystery fiction, non-fiction, and television produced in 2012.
Winners of genre interest include The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters (Quirk), winner for Best Paperback Original; Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego & Redondo Beach CA, awarded the Raven for outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing; and publisher Akashic Books, recipient of the Ellery Queen Award, which honors writing teams and outstanding people in the mystery-publishing industry.
After last week’s blog on the critical category of the ‘female Gothic’, this week I’m going to look at the gendering of genres from a different perspective. After all, twentieth-century critics were not the first to connect gender and genre. Eighteenth-century commentary tends to gender the Gothic, too, and this discourse informs the period’s literature.
Dracula is a pastiche of living historical characters--men who were surrounded by scandals and controversies, larger-than-life personalities who seemed to step from the mists of the nineteenth century and exert their influence, just as Stoker's vampire later seemed to materialize from the shadows of a Transylvanian castle and cast his spell.
As clues, Dracula left a bloody trickle, a trail leading backstage at the Lyceum [Theatre in London] and through the drawing rooms of Victorian London. There was even a distinctive splatter of crimson on American shores.
Read through to discover the seven famous people who influenced Bram Stoker's Count.
The Ghost Diaries now offers the first in a series of book reviews of classic horror novels:Frankenstein and, soon enough, Dracula. Although, admittedly, this is more about the development of the gothic tradition than the plot or characters. You’ll also notice an emphasis on the importance of science fiction in the development of the modern horror novel.
Matthew Lewis, author of The Monk (1796), was never one to shy away from sensationalism. When the Covent Garden Theatre staged his monodrama The Captive on 22 March 1803, however, even Lewis agreed that he had gone too far. Despite the fact that theatre manager Thomas Harris was willing to stage it again, Lewis withdrew the piece. His letters describe the problem: “when it was about half over a Man fell into convulsions in the Boxes; Presently after a Woman fainted away in the Pit; and when the curtain dropped, two or three more of the spectators went into hysterics, and there was such screaming and squalling, that really you could hardly hear the hissing […] it really is not my wish (whatever others may think) to throw half of London into convulsions nightly”. Or, as he wrote to his mother: “It proved much too terrible for representation […] the subject was so uniformly distressing to the feelings, that at last I felt my own a little painful; and as to Mrs. Litchfield [the actress], she almost fainted away” (letters quoted in Margaret Bacon Wilson’s The Life and Correspondence of M. G. Lewis ).
With preoccupations with the body—body horror, the abject, disability studies, medical themes, etc—prevalent within the contemporary Gothic and Gothic studies as a whole, it is little surprise that one of Routledge’s upcoming New Critical Idiom books is devoted to the grotesque. This volume by Justin Edwards and Rune Graulund highlights the importance and potential of locating the power of bodies (and the literature that features them) in the vehicle of the grotesque and its many manifestations: from the manipulation and transgression of boundaries and rules to a critique of institutions and classifications, from the embrace of uncertainty and contradiction to a reinstatement ofnew boundaries and (ab)norms.
Mary Shelley was only 21 years old when she published her first (and greatest) novel, Frankenstein. A small London publishing house quietly issued 500 copies in 1818 of the gothic novel about a scientist who invents a ...
The website (free) version of issue #22 is now online (please cancel the “Lynch Mike Davis” petition). I want to thank all of you for your patience; my illness really got the better of me this past week. The good news, though, is that you don’t have long to wait for issue #23; it will be online in about 2 weeks!