The unquenchable thirst of Dracula. The animal lust of Mr. Hyde. The acquiescence of Lewis Carroll's Alice. Victorian literature--with its overtones of prudishness, respectability, and Old World hypocrisy--belies a subverted eroticism. The Victorian Gothic is monstrous but restrained, repressed but perverse, static but transformative, and preoccupied by gender and sexuality in both regressive and progressive ways.
Laura Helen Marks investigates the contradictions and seesawing gender dynamics in Victorian-inspired adult films and looks at why pornographers persist in drawing substance and meaning from the era's Gothic tales. She focuses on the particular Victorianness that pornography prefers, and the mythologies of the Victorian era that fuel today's pornographic fantasies. In turn, she exposes what porning the Victorians shows us about pornography as a genre.
A bold foray into theory and other forbidden places, Alice in Pornoland reveals how modern-day Victorian Gothic pornography constantly emphasizes, navigates, transgresses, and renegotiates issues of gender, sexuality, and race.
What, exactly, did tea, sugar, and opium mean in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain? Alimentary Orientalism reassesses the politics of Orientalist representation by examining the contentious debates surrounding these exotic, recently popularized, and literally consumable things. It suggests that the interwoven discourses sparked by these commodities transformed the period’s literary Orientalism and created surprisingly self-reflexive ways through which British writers encountered and imagined cultural otherness. Tracing exotic ingestion as a motif across a range of authors and genres, the book considers how, why, and whither writers used scenes of eating, drinking, and smoking to diagnose and interrogate their own solipsistic constructions of the Orient. As national and cultural boundaries became increasingly porous, such self-reflexive inquiries into the nature and role of otherness provided an unexpected avenue for British imperial subjectivity to emerge and coalesce.
In America as in Britain, the rise of the Gothic represented the other—the fearful shadows cast upon Enlightenment philosophies of common sense, democratic positivism, and optimistic futurity. Many critics have recognized the centrality of these shadows to American culture and self-identification. American Gothic, however, remaps the field by offering a series of revisionist essays associated with a common theme: the range and variety of Gothic manifestations in high and popular art from the roots of American culture to the present.
The thirteen essayists approach the persistence of the Gothic in American culture by providing a composite of interventions that focus on specific issues—the histories of gender and race, the cultures of cities and scandals and sensations—in order to advance distinct theoretical paradigms. Each essay sustains a connection between a particular theoretical field and a central problem in the Gothic tradition.
Drawing widely on contemporary theory—particularly revisionist views of Freud such as those offered by Lacan and Kristeva—this volume ranges from the well-known Gothic horrors of Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne to the popular fantasies of Stephen King and the postmodern visions of Kathy Acker. Special attention is paid to the issues of slavery and race in both black and white texts, including those by Ralph Ellison and William Faulkner. In the view of the editors and contributors, the Gothic is not so much a historical category as a mode of thought haunted by history, a part of suburban life and the lifeblood of films such as The Exorcist and Fatal Attraction.
Unearthing the fearful flesh and sinful skins at the heart of gothic horror, Jack Morgan rends the genre’s biological core from its oft-discussed psychological elements and argues for a more transhistorical conception of the gothic, one negatively related to comedy. The Biology of Horror: Gothic Literature and Film dissects popular examples from the gothic literary and cinematic canon, exposing the inverted comic paradigm within each text.
Morgan’s study begins with an extensive treatment of comedy as theoretically conceived by Suzanne Langer, C. L. Barber, and Mikhail Bakhtin. Then, Morgan analyzes the physical and mythological nature of horror in inverted comic terms, identifying a biologically grounded mythos of horror. Motifs such as sinister loci, languishment, masquerade, and subversion of sensual perception are contextualized here as embedded in an organic reality, resonating with biological motives and consequences. Morgan also devotes a chapter to the migration of the gothic tradition into American horror, emphasizing the body as horror’s essential place in American gothic.
The bulk of Morgan’s study is applied to popular gothic literature and films ranging from high gothic classics like Matthew Lewis’s The Monk, Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho, Charles Maturin’s Melmoth the Wanderer, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, to later literary works such as Poe’s macabre tales, Melville’s “Benito Cereno,” J.S. Le Fanu’s Uncle Silas, H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Shadow over Innsmouth,” Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hillhouse, Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot, and Clive Barker’s The Damnation Game. Considered films include Nosferatu, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Friday the 13th, Halloween, Night of the Living Dead, Angel Heart, The Stand, and The Shining.
Morganconcludes his physical examination of the Gothic reality with a consideration born of Julia Kristeva’s theoretical rubric which addresses horror’s existential and cultural significance, its lasting fascination, and its uncanny positive—and often therapeutic—direction in literature and film.
Samuel Johnson’s life was situated within a rich social and intellectual community of friendships—and antagonisms. Community and Solitude is a collection of ten essays that explore relationships between Johnson and several of his main contemporaries—including James Boswell, Edmund Burke, Frances Burney, Robert Chambers, Oliver Goldsmith, Bennet Langton, Arthur Murphy, Richard Savage, Anna Seward, and Thomas Warton—and analyzes some of the literary productions emanating from the pressures within those relationships. In their detailed and careful examination of particular works situated within complex social and personal contexts, the essays in this volume offer a “thick” and illuminating description of Johnson’s world that also engages with larger cultural and aesthetic issues, such as intertextuality, literary celebrity, narrative, the nature of criticism, race, slavery, and sensibility.
Contributors: Christopher Catanese, James Caudle, Marilyn Francus, Christine Jackson-Holzberg, Claudia Thomas Kairoff, Elizabeth Lambert, Anthony W. Lee, James E. May, John Radner, and Lance Wilcox.
Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
Modern Gothic culture alternately fascinates, horrifies, or bewilders many of us. We cringe at pictures of Marilyn Manson, cheer for Buffy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and try not to stare at the pierced and tattooed teens we pass on the streets. But what is it about this dark and morbidly morose aesthetic that fascinates us today? In Contemporary Gothic, Catherine Spooner probes the reasons behind the prevalence of the Gothic in popular culture and how it has inspired innovative new work in film, literature, music, and art.
Spooner traces the emergence of the Gothic subculture over the past few decades and examines the various aspects of contemporary society that revolve around the grotesque, abject, and artificial. The Gothic is continually resituated in different spheres of culture, she reveals, as she explores the transplantation of the “street” Goth style to haute couture runway looks by fashion designers. The Gothic also appears in a number of surprisingly diverse representations, and Spoonerconsiders them all, from the artistic excesses of Jake and Dinos Chapman to the fashions of Alexander McQueen, and from the mind-bending films of David Lynch to the abnormal postmodern subjects of Joel-Peter Witkin’s photography.
In an engaging way, Contemporary Gothic argues that this style ultimately balances a number of contradictions—the grotesque and incorporeal, authentic self-expression and campiness, mass popularity and cult appeal, comfort and outrage—and these contradictions make the Gothic a crucial expression of contemporary cultural currents. Whether seeking to understand the stories behind the TV show Supernatural or to extract deeper meanings from modern literature, Contemporary Gothic is a lively and virtually unparalleled study of the modern Gothic sensibility that pervades popular culture today.
The Gothic novel emerged out of the romantic mist alongside a new conception of the home as a separate sphere for women. Looking at novels from Horace Walpole's Castle of Otranto to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Kate Ferguson Ellis investigates the relationship between these two phenomena of middle-class culture--the idealization of the home and the popularity of the Gothic--and explores how both male and female authors used the Gothic novel to challenge the false claim of home as a safe, protected place. Linking terror -- the most important ingredient of the Gothic novel -- to acts of transgression, Ellis shows how houses in Gothic fiction imprison those inside them, while those locked outside wander the earth plotting their return and their revenge.
The dangerous lover has haunted our culture for over two hundred years; English, American, and European literature is permeated with his erotic presence. The Dangerous Lover takes seriously the ubiquity of the brooding romantic hero—his dark past, his remorseful and rebellious exile from comfortable everyday living. Deborah Lutz traces the recent history of this figure, through the melancholy iconoclasm of the Romantics, the lost soul redeemed by love of the Brontës, and the tormented individualism of twentieth-century love narratives. Arguing for this character’s central influence not only in literature but also in the history of ideas, this book places the dangerous lover firmly within the philosophy of Martin Heidegger, the Modernism of Georg Lukács, and Roland Barthes’s theories on love and longing. Working with canonical authors such as Ann Radcliffe, Charles Maturin, Lord Byron, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and Oscar Wilde, and also with non-canonical texts such as contemporary romance, The Dangerous Lover combines a lyrical, essayistic style with a depth of inquiry that raises questions about the mysteries of desire, death, and eroticism.
The Dangerous Lover is the first book-length study of this pervasive literary hero; it also challenges the tendency of sophisticated philosophical readings of popular narratives and culture to focus on male-coded genres. In its conjunction of high and low literary forms, this volume explores new historical and cultural framings for female-coded popular narratives.
The Sheik—E. M. Hull’s best-selling novel that became a wildly popular film starring Rudolph Valentino—kindled “sheik fever” across the Western world in the 1920s. A craze for all things romantically “Oriental” swept through fashion, film, and literature, spawning imitations and parodies without number. While that fervor has largely subsided, tales of passion between Western women and Arab men continue to enthrall readers of today’s mass-market romance novels. In this groundbreaking cultural history, Hsu-Ming Teo traces the literary lineage of these desert romances and historical bodice rippers from the twelfth to the twenty-first century and explores the gendered cultural and political purposes that they have served at various historical moments.
Drawing on “high” literature, erotica, and popular romance fiction and films, Teo examines the changing meanings of Orientalist tropes such as crusades and conversion, abduction by Barbary pirates, sexual slavery, the fear of renegades, the Oriental despot and his harem, the figure of the powerful Western concubine, and fantasies of escape from the harem. She analyzes the impact of imperialism, decolonization, sexual liberation, feminism, and American involvement in the Middle East on women’s Orientalist fiction. Teo suggests that the rise of female-authored romance novels dramatically transformed the nature of Orientalism because it feminized the discourse; made white women central as producers, consumers, and imagined actors; and revised, reversed, or collapsed the binaries inherent in traditional analyses of Orientalism.
In this fascinating book, Brian J. Frost presents the first full-scale survey of werewolf literature covering both fiction and nonfiction works. He identifies principal elements in the werewolf myth, considers various theories of the phenomenon of shapeshifting, surveys nonfiction books, and traces the myth from its origins in ancient superstitions to its modern representations in fantasy and horror fiction.
Frost’s analysis encompasses fanciful medieval beliefs, popular works by Victorian authors, scholarly treatises and medical papers, and short stories from pulp magazines of the 1930s and 1940s. Revealing the complex nature of the werewolf phenomenon and its tremendous and continuing influence, The Essential Guide to Werewolf Literature is destined to become a standard reference on the subject.
Evidence of Things Not Seen: Fantastical Blackness in Genre Fictions is an interdisciplinary study of blackness in genre literature of the Americas. The “fantastical” in fantastical blackness is conceived by an unrestrained imagination because it lives, despite every attempt at annihilation. This blackness amazes because it refuses the limits of anti-blackness. As put to work in this project, fantastical blackness is an ethical praxis that centers black self-knowledge as a point of departure rather than as a reaction to threatening or diminishing dominant narratives. Mystery, romance, fantasy, mixed-genre, and science fictions’ unrestrained imaginings profoundly communicate this quality of blackness, specifically here through the work of Barbara Neely, Colson Whitehead, Nalo Hopkinson, and Colin Channer. When black writers center this expressive quality, they make fantastical blackness available to a broad audience that then uses its imaginable vocabularies to reshape extra-literary realities. Ultimately, popular genres’ imaginable possibilities offer strategies through which the made up can be made real.
Charles E. Robinson, Professor Emeritus of English at The University of Delaware, definitively transformed study of the novel Frankenstein with his foundational volume The Frankenstein Notebooks and, in nineteenth century studies more broadly, brought heightened attention to the nuances of writing and editing. Frankenstein and STEAM consolidates the generative legacy of his later work on the novel's broad relation to topics in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM). Seven chapters written by leading and emerging scholars pay homage to Robinson's later perspectives of the novel and a concluding postscript contains remembrances by his colleagues and students. This volume not only makes explicit the question of what it means to be human, a question Robinson invited students and colleagues to examine throughout his career, but it also illustrates the depth of the field and diversity of those who have been inspired by Robinson's work. Frankenstein and STEAM offers direction for continuing scholarship on the intersections of literature, science, and technology.
Published by the University of Delaware Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
The Global Wordsworth charts the travels of William Wordsworth’s poetry around the English-speaking world. But, as Katherine Bergren shows, Wordsworth’s afterlives reveal more than his influence on other writers; his appearances in novels and essays from the antebellum U.S. to post-Apartheid South Africa change how we understand a poet we think we know. Bergren analyzes writers like Jamaica Kincaid, J. M. Coetzee, and Lydia Maria Child who plant Wordsworth in their own writing and bring him to life in places and times far from his own—and then record what happens. By working beyond narratives of British influence, Bergren highlights a more complex dynamic of international response, in which later writers engage Wordsworth in conversations about slavery and gardening, education and daffodils, landscapes and national belonging. His global reception—critical, appreciative, and ambivalent—inspires us to see that Wordsworth was concerned not just with local, English landscapes and people, but also with their changing place in a rapidly globalizing world. This study demonstrates that Wordsworth is not tangential but rather crucial to our understanding of Global Romanticism.
Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
In the nineteenth century, the island of Cuba was a popular site for US travelers, who wrote dozens of travelogues about their experiences. At the same time, Cuban exiles living in the United States, escaping from Spanish colonial repression, wrote about their island and about their US experiences. Within the trove of writings about Cuba in relation to slavery and a rising US empire in the region, Ivonne M. García’s Gothic Geoculture: Nineteenth-Century Representations of Cuba in the Transamerican Imaginary shows how a group of writers, on both sides, used the language of fear to construct gothicizations of the island (and of the United States) through tropes of corruption, doubleness, and monstrosity. García coins the term “gothic geoculture” to show Cuba’s identity in the nineteenth century as existing at the crossroads between colonialism, slavery, and transamericanity. Specifically looking at a period of colonial anxiety between 1830 and 1890, García exposes the ways some writers code Cuba as dangerous and destructive, demonstrating how these transamerican figurations created a series of uncanny simultaneities that expand on and complicate the ways we understand how Cuba and the hemisphere were imagined at that time.
Gothic Riffs: Secularizing the Uncanny in the European Imaginary, 1780–1820 by Diane Long Hoeveler provides the first comprehensive study of what are called “collateral gothic” genres—operas, ballads, chapbooks, dramas, and melodramas—that emerged out of the gothic novel tradition founded by Horace Walpole, Matthew Lewis, and Ann Radcliffe. The role of religion and its more popular manifestations, superstition and magic, in the daily lives of Western Europeans were effectively undercut by the forces of secularization that were gaining momentum on every front, particularly by 1800. It is clear, however, that the lower class and the emerging bourgeoisie were loath to discard their traditional beliefs. We can see their search for a sense of transcendent order and spiritual meaning in the continuing popularity of gothic performances that demonstrate that there was more than a residue of a religious calendar still operating in the public performative realm. Because this bourgeois culture could not turn away from God, it chose to be haunted, in its literature and drama, by God’s uncanny avatars: priests, corrupt monks, incestuous fathers and uncles. The gothic aesthetic emerged during this period as an ideologically contradictory and complex discourse system; a secularizing of the uncanny; a way of alternately valorizing and at the same time slandering the realms of the supernatural, the sacred, the maternal, and the primitive.
The Gothic World of Anne Rice
Edited by Gary Hoppenstand and Ray B. Browne University of Wisconsin Press, 1996 Library of Congress PS3568.I265Z68 1996 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
This anthology argues for the serious study of the literary oeuvre of Anne Rice, a major figure in today’s popular literature. The essays assert that Rice expands the conventions of the horror genre’s formula to examine important social issues. Like a handful of authors working in this genre, Rice manipulates its otherwise predictable narrative structures so that a larger, more interesting cultural mythology can be developed. Rice searches for philosophical truth, examining themes of good and evil, the influence on people and society of both nature and nurture, and the conflict and dependence of humanism and science.
Stephen King’s popularity lies in his ability to reinterpret the standard Gothic tale in new and exciting ways. Through his eyes, the conventional becomes unconventional and wonderful. King thus creates his own Gothic world and then interprets it for us. This book analyzes King’s interpretations and his mastery of popular literature. The essays discuss adolescent revolt, the artist as survivor, the vampire in popular literature, and much more.
The Gothic, Romanticism's gritty older sibling, has flourished in myriad permutations since the eighteenth century. In Gothicka, Victoria Nelson identifies the revolutionary turn it has taken in the twenty-first. Today's Gothic has fashioned its monsters into heroes and its devils into angels. It is actively reviving supernaturalism in popular culture, not as an evil dimension divorced from ordinary human existence but as part of our daily lives.
To explain this millennial shift away from the traditionally dark Protestant post-Enlightenment Gothic, Nelson studies the complex arena of contemporary Gothic subgenres that take the form of novels, films, and graphic novels. She considers the work of Dan Brown and Stephenie Meyer, graphic novelists Mike Mignola and Garth Ennis, Christian writer William P. Young (author of The Shack), and filmmaker Guillermo del Toro. She considers twentieth-century Gothic masters H. P. Lovecraft, Anne Rice, and Stephen King in light of both their immediate ancestors in the eighteenth century and the original Gothic-the late medieval period from which Horace Walpole and his successors drew their inspiration.
Fictions such as the Twilight and Left Behind series do more than follow the conventions of the classic Gothic novel. They are radically reviving and reinventing the transcendental worldview that informed the West's premodern era. As Jesus becomes mortal in The Da Vinci Code and the child Ofelia becomes a goddess in Pan's Labyrinth, Nelson argues that this unprecedented mainstreaming of a spiritually driven supernaturalism is a harbinger of what a post-Christian religion in America might look like.
An innovative collection of essays examining the sometimes paradoxical alignment of Realism and Naturalism with the Gothic in American literature to highlight their shared qualities
Following the golden age of British Gothic in the late eighteenth century, the American Gothic’s pinnacle is often recognized as having taken place during the decades of American Romanticism. However, Haunting Realities explores the period of American Realism—the end of the nineteenth century—to discover evidence of fertile ground for another age of Gothic proliferation.
At first glance, “Naturalist Gothic” seems to be a contradiction in terms. While the Gothic is known for its sensational effects, with its emphasis on horror and the supernatural, the doctrines of late nineteenth-century Naturalism attempted to move away from the aesthetics of sentimentality and stressed sobering, mechanistic views of reality steeped in scientific thought and the determinism of market values and biology. Nonetheless, what binds Gothicism and Naturalism together is a vision of shared pessimism and the perception of a fearful, lingering presence that ominously haunts an impending modernity. Indeed, it seems that in many Naturalist works reality is so horrific that it can only be depicted through Gothic tropes that prefigure the alienation and despair of modernism.
In recent years, research on the Gothic has flourished, yet there has been no extensive study of the links between the Gothic and Naturalism, particularly those which stem from the early American Realist tradition. Haunting Realities is a timely volume that addresses this gap and is an important addition to scholarly work on both the Gothic and Naturalism in the American literary tradition.
In Impossible Stories, John Murillo offers bold new readings of recent and canonical Black creative works within an Afro-pessimistic framework to excavate how time, space, and blackness intersect—or, rather, crash. Building on Michelle Wright’s ideas about dislocation from time and space as constitutive to being Black in America, as well as on W. E. B. DuBois’s theories of temporalization, he reconsiders the connections between physical phenomena and principles, literature, history, and the fragmented nature of Black time and space.
Taking as his lens the fragment—fragmented bodies, fragments of memories, fragments of texts—Murillo theorizes new directions for Black identity and cultural production. Combining a critical engagement of physics and metaphysics with innovative readings of Gayl Jones’s Corregidora, Octavia Butler’s Kindred, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Kiese Laymon’s Long Division, Dionne Brand’s A Map to the Door of No Return, and Paul Beatty’s The Sellout, he offers new ways to think about anti-Black racism and practice Black creativity. Ultimately, in his equally creative and analytical responses to depictions of Black people left out of history and barred from spaces, Murillo argues that through Afro-pessimism, Black people can fight the anti-Black cosmos.
In Improbability, Chance, and the Nineteenth-Century Realist Novel, Adam Grener advances a new approach to evaluating realism in fiction by arguing that nineteenth-century literary realism shifted attention to the historical and social dimensions of probability in the period’s literature. In an era in which probability was increasingly defined by statistical concepts of aggregation and abstraction, the realist writers discussed here turned to chance and improbability to address representational problems of contingency, difference, and scale.
Contemporary thinking about probability came to recognize the variability and even randomness of the world while also discovering how patterns and order reemerge at scale. Reading chance as a tension between randomness and order, Grener shows how novels by Jane Austen, Sir Walter Scott, Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, and Thomas Hardy resist the demands of probabilistic representation and develop strategies for capturing cultural particularity and historical transformation. These authors served their visions of realism by tactically embracing improbability in the form of coincidences, fatalism, supernaturalism, and luck. Understanding this strategy helps us to appreciate how realist novels work to historicize the social worlds and experiences they represent and asks us to rethink the very foundation of realism.
What did Wordsworth wear, and where did he walk? Who was Byron’s new mistress, and how did his marriage fare? Answers—sometimes accurate, sometimes not—were tantalizingly at the ready in the Romantic era, when confessional poetry, romans à clef, personal essays, and gossip columns offered readers exceptional access to well-known authors. But at what point did familiarity become overfamiliarity? Widely recognized as a social virtue, familiarity—a feeling of emotional closeness or comforting predictability—could also be dangerous, vulgar, or boring. In The Limits of Familiarity, Eckert persuasively argues that such concerns shaped literary production in the Romantic period. Bringing together reception studies, celebrity studies, and literary history to reveal how anxieties about familiarity shaped both Romanticism and conceptions of authorship, this book encourages us to reflect in our own fraught historical moment on the distinction between telling all and telling all too much.
“Invention … does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos”—Mary Shelley
In the two hundred years since its first publication, the story of Frankenstein’s creation during stormy days and nights at Byron’s Villa Diodati on Lake Geneva has become literary legend. In this compelling and innovative book, Daisy Hay stitches together the objects and manuscripts of the novel’s turbulent genesis in order to bring its story back to life.
Frankenstein was inspired by the extraordinary people surrounding the eighteen-year-old author and by the places and historical dramas that formed the backdrop of her youth. Featuring manuscripts, portraits, illustrations, and artifacts, The Making of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” explores the novel’s time and place, the people who inspired its characters, the relics of its long afterlife, and the notebooks in which it was created. Hay strips Frankenstein back to its constituent parts to reveal an uneven novel written by a young woman deeply engaged in the process of working out what she thought about the pressing issues of her time: from science, politics, religion, and slavery to maternity, the imagination, creativity, and community. Richly illustrated throughout, this is an astute and intricate biography of the novel for all those fascinated by its essential, brilliant chaos.
Brian Frost chronicles the history of the vampire in myth and literature, providing a sumptuous repast for all devotees of the bizarre. In a wide-ranging survey, including plot summaries of hundreds of novels and short stories, the reader meets an amazing assortment of vampires from the pages of weird fiction, ranging from the 10,000-year-old femme fatale in Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Conqueror to the malevolent fetus in Eddy C. Bertin’s “Something Small, Something Hungry.” Nostalgia buffs will enjoy a discussion of the vampire yarns in the pulp magazines of the interwar years, while fans of contemporary vampire fiction will also be sated.
Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein is its own type of monster mythos that will not die, a corpus whose parts keep getting harvested to animate new artistic creations. What makes this tale so adaptable and so resilient that, nearly 200 years later, it remains vitally relevant in a culture radically different from the one that spawned its birth?
Monstrous Progeny takes readers on a fascinating exploration of the Frankenstein family tree, tracing the literary and intellectual roots of Shelley’s novel from the sixteenth century and analyzing the evolution of the book’s figures and themes into modern productions that range from children’s cartoons to pornography. Along the way, media scholar Lester D. Friedman and historian Allison B. Kavey examine the adaptation and evolution of Victor Frankenstein and his monster across different genres and in different eras. In doing so, they demonstrate how Shelley’s tale and its characters continue to provide crucial reference points for current debates about bioethics, artificial intelligence, cyborg lifeforms, and the limits of scientific progress.
Blending an extensive historical overview with a detailed analysis of key texts, the authors reveal how the Frankenstein legacy arose from a series of fluid intellectual contexts and continues to pulsate through an extraordinary body of media products. Both thought-provoking and entertaining, Monstrous Progeny offers a lively look at an undying and significant cultural phenomenon.
Neurasthenia, rail shock, hysteria. In Narrating Trauma, Gretchen Braun traces the nineteenth-century prehistory of those mental and physical responses that we now classify as post-traumatic stress and explores their influence on the Victorian novel. Engaging dialogues between both present-day and nineteenth-century mental science and literature, Braun examines novels that show the development of the mental dysfunction known as nervous disorder, positing that it was understood not as a failure of reason but instead as an organically based, crippling disjunction between the individual mind and its social context—with sufferers inhabiting spaces between sanity and madness.
Spanning from the early Victorian period to the fin de siècle and encompassing realist, Gothic, sentimental, and sensation fiction, Narrating Trauma studies trauma across works of fiction by Charlotte Brontë, Emily Jolly, Wilkie Collins, George Eliot, Charles Dickens, and Thomas Hardy. In doing so, Braun brings both nineteenth-century science and current theories of trauma to bear on the narrative patterns that develop around mentally disordered women and men feminized by nervous disorder, creating a framework for novelistic critique of modern lifestyles, stressors, and institutions.
Narrative Mourning explores death and its relics as they appear within the confines of the eighteenth-century British novel. It argues that the cultural disappearance of the dead/dying body and the introduction of consciousness as humanity’s newfound soul found expression in fictional representations of the relic (object) or relict (person). In the six novels examined in this monograph—Samuel Richardson's Clarissa and Sir Charles Grandison; Sarah Fielding's David Simple and Volume the Last; Henry Mackenzie's The Man of Feeling; and Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho—the appearance of the relic/relict signals narrative mourning and expresses (often obliquely) changing cultural attitudes toward the dead.
Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
The Necromantics dwells on the literal afterlives of history. Reading the reanimated corpses—monstrous, metaphorical, and occasionally electrified—that Mary Shelley, Robert Browning, Charles Dickens, W. B. Yeats, Bram Stoker, and others bring to life, Renée Fox argues that these undead figures embody the present’s desire to remake the past in its own image. Fox positions “necromantic literature” at a nineteenth-century intersection between sentimental historiography, medical electricity, imperial gothic monsters, and the Irish Literary Revival, contending that these unghostly bodies resist critical assumptions about the always-haunting power of history.
By considering Irish Revival texts within the broader scope of nineteenth-century necromantic works, The Necromantics challenges Victorian studies’ tendency to merge Irish and English national traditions into a single British whole, as well as Irish studies’ postcolonial efforts to cordon off a distinct Irish canon. Fox thus forges new connections between conflicting political, formal, and historical traditions. In doing so, she proposes necromantic literature as a model for a contemporary reparative reading practice that can reanimate nineteenth-century texts with new aesthetic affinities, demonstrating that any effective act of reading will always be an effort of reanimation.
Around 1800, print culture became a particularly rich source for metaphors about thinking as well as writing, nowhere more so than in the German tradition of Dichter und Denker. Goethe, Jean Paul, and Hegel (among many others) used the preface in order to reflect on the problems of writing itself, and its interpretation. If Sterne teaches us that a material book enables mind games as much as it gives expression to them, the Germans made these games more theoretical still. Weaving in authors from Antiquity to Agamben, Williams shows how European–and, above all, German–Romanticism was a watershed in the history of the preface. The playful, paradoxical strategies that Romantic writers invented are later played out in continental philosophy, and in post-Structuralist literature. The preface is a prompt for playful thinking with texts, as much as it is conventionally the prosaic product of such an exercise.
Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
Kathy Eden reveals the unexplored classical rhetorical theory at the heart of iconic Renaissance literary works.
Kathy Eden explores the intersection of early modern literary theory and practice. She considers the rebirth of the rhetorical art—resulting from the rediscovery of complete manuscripts of high-profile ancient texts about rhetoric by Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Quintilian, and Tacitus, all unavailable before the early fifteenth century—and the impact of this art on early modern European literary production. This profound influence of key principles and practices on the most widely taught early modern literary texts remains largely and surprisingly unexplored.
Devoting four chapters to these practices—on status, refutation, similitude, and style—Eden connects the architecture of the most widely read classical rhetorical manuals to the structures of such major Renaissance works as Petrarch’s Secret, Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier, Erasmus’s Antibarbarians and Ciceronianus, and Montaigne’s Essays. Eden concludes by showing how these rhetorical practices were understood to work together to form a literary masterwork, with important implications for how we read these texts today.
For most of the eighteenth century, automata were deemed a celebration of human ingenuity, feats of science and reason. Among the Romantics, however, they prompted a contradictory apprehension about mechanization and contrivance: such science and engineering threatened the spiritual nature of life, the source of compassion in human society. A deep dread of puppets and the machinery that propels them consequently surfaced in late eighteenth and early nineteenth century literature. Romantic Automata is a collection of essays examining the rise of this cultural suspicion of mechanical imitations of life.
Recent scholarship in post-humanism, post-colonialism, disability studies, post-modern feminism, eco-criticism, and radical Orientalism has significantly affected the critical discourse on this topic. In engaging with the work and thought of Coleridge, Poe, Hoffmann, Mary Shelley, and other Romantic luminaries, the contributors to this collection open new methodological approaches to understanding human interaction with technology that strives to simulate, supplement, or supplant organic life.
Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
Glenn O’Malley’s Shelley and Synesthesia examines a little-known aspect of Percy Shelley’s poetry, offering a history of synesthesia and engaging in close readings of Shelley’s poetry, focusing primarily on his longer works. O’Malley explores the internal structure of Shelley’s poems to concentrate on patterns of imagery and symbolism, bringing attention to Shelley’s resourcefulness and responsibility in his use of synesthesia and his development of it into a powerful creative tool. The work advances the conversation on literary synesthesia and brings fresh insights to Shelley’s poems and to poetic theory in Romanticism.
In-depth and refreshingly readable, Splattered Ink is a bold analysis of postfeminist gothic, a literary genre that continues to jar readers, reject happy endings, and find powerful new ways to talk about violence against women.
Sarah E. Whitney explores the genre's challenge to postfeminist assumptions of women's equality and empowerment. The authors she examines--Patricia Cornwell, Jodi Picoult, Susanna Moore, Sapphire, and Alice Sebold--construct narratives around socially invisible and physically broken protagonists who directly experience consequences of women's ongoing disempowerment. Their works ask readers to inhabit women's suffering and to face the uncomfortable, all-too-denied fact that today's women must navigate lives fraught with risk. Whitney's analysis places the authors within a female gothic tradition that has long given voice to women's fears of their own powerlessness. But she also reveals the paradox that allows the genre to powerfully critique postfeminism's often sunshiney outlook while uneasily coexisting within the same universe.
Karen Pinkus University of Minnesota Press, 2023 Library of Congress PN3499.P63 2022 | Dewey Decimal 809.3034
A bold new consideration of climate change between narratives of the Earth’s layers and policy of the present
Long seen as a realm of mystery and possibility, the subsurface beneath our feet has taken on all-too-real import in the era of climate change. Can reading narratives of the past that take imaginative leaps under the surface better attune us to our present knowledge of a warming planet?
In Subsurface, Karen Pinkus looks below the surface of texts by Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, George Sand, E. T. A. Hoffmann, and Jules Verne to find the buried origins of capitalist fantasies in which humans take what they want from the earth. Putting such texts into conversation with narrative theory, critical theory, geology, and climate policy, she shows that the subsurface has been, in our past, a place of myth and stories of male voyages down to gain knowledge—but it is also now the realm of fossil fuels. How do these two modes intertwine?
A highly original take on evocative terms such as extraction, burial, fossils, deep time, and speculative futurity, Subsurface questions the certainty of comfortable narrative arcs. It asks us to read literature with and against the figure of the geological column, with and against fossil fuels and the emissions warming our planet. As we see our former selves move into the distance, what new modes of imagination might we summon?
Literary scholars largely agree that the Romantic period altered the definition of tragedy, but they have confined their analyses to Western European authors. Maksim Hanukai introduces a new, illuminating figure to this narrative, arguing that Russia’s national poet, Alexander Pushkin, can be understood as a tragic Romantic poet, although in a different mold than his Western counterparts.
Many of Pushkin’s works move seamlessly between the closed world of traditional tragedy and the open world of Romantic tragic drama, and yet they follow neither the cathartic program prescribed by Aristotle nor the redemptive mythologies of the Romantics. Instead, the idiosyncratic and artistically mercurial Pushkin seized upon the newly unstable tragic mode to develop multiple, overlapping tragic visions. Providing new, innovative readings of such masterpieces as The Gypsies, Boris Godunov, The Little Tragedies, and The Bronze Horseman, Hanukai sheds light on an unexplored aspect of Pushkin’s work, while also challenging reigning theories about the fate of tragedy in the Romantic period.
How did Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein give rise to the iconic green monster everyone knows today? In 1823, only five years after publication, Shelley herself saw the Creature come to life on stage, and this performance shaped the story’s future. Suddenly, thousands of people who had never read Shelley’s novel were participating in its cultural animation. Similarly, early adaptations magnified the reception and renown of all manner of nineteenth-century literary creations, from Byron and Keats to Dickens and Tennyson and beyond. Yet, until now, adaptation has been seen as a largely modern phenomenon.
In Transmedia Adaptation in the Nineteenth Century, Lissette Lopez Szwydky convincingly historicizes the practice of adaptation, drawing on multiple disciplines to illustrate narrative mobility across time, culture, and geography. Case studies from stage plays, literature, painting, illustration, chapbooks, and toy theaters position adaptation as a central force in literary history that ensures continued cultural relevance, accessibility, and survival. The history of these forms helps to inform and put into context our contemporary obsessions with popular media. Finally, in upending a traditional understanding of canon by arguing that adaptation creates canon and not the other way around, Szwydky provides crucial bridges between nineteenth-century literary scholarship, adaptation studies, and media studies, thus identifying new stakes for all.
On the 200th anniversary of the first edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Transmedia Creatures presents studies of Frankenstein by international scholars from converging disciplines such as humanities, musicology, film studies, television studies, English and digital humanities. These innovative contributions investigate the afterlives of a novel taught in a disparate array of courses - Frankenstein disturbs and transcends boundaries, be they political, ethical, theological, aesthetic, and not least of media, ensuring its vibrant presence in contemporary popular culture. Transmedia Creatures highlights how cultural content is redistributed through multiple media, forms and modes of production (including user-generated ones from “below”) that often appear synchronously and dismantle and renew established readings of the text, while at the same time incorporating and revitalizing aspects that have always been central to it. The authors engage with concepts, value systems and aesthetic-moral categories—among them the family, horror, monstrosity, diversity, education, risk, technology, the body—from a variety of contemporary approaches and highly original perspectives, which yields new connections. Ultimately, Frankenstein, as evidenced by this collection, is paradoxically enriched by the heteroglossia of preconceptions, misreadings, and overreadings that attend it, and that reveal the complex interweaving of perceptions and responses it generates.
Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
Nearly a hundred years after its debut in 1897, Dracula is still one of the most popular of all Gothic narratives, always in print and continually adapted for stage and screen. Paradoxically, David Glover suggests, this very success has obscured the historical conditions and authorial circumstances of the novel’s production. By way of a long overdue return to the novels, short stories, essays, journalism, and correspondence of Bram Stoker, Vampires, Mummies, and Liberals reconstructs the cultural and political world that gave birth to Dracula. To bring Stoker’s life into productive relationship with his writing, Glover offers a reading that locates the author within the changing commercial contours of the late-Victorian public sphere and in which the methods of critical biography are displaced by those of cultural studies. Glover’s efforts reveal a writer who was more wide-ranging and politically engaged than his current reputation suggests. An Irish Protestant and nationalist, Stoker nonetheless drew his political inspiration from English liberalism at a time of impending crisis, and the tradition’s contradictions and uncertainties haunt his work. At the heart of Stoker’s writing Glover exposes a preoccupation with those sciences and pseudo-sciences—from physiognomy and phrenology to eugenics and sexology—that seemed to cast doubt on the liberal faith in progress. He argues that Dracula should be read as a text torn between the stances of the colonizer and the colonized, unable to accept or reject the racialized images of backwardness that dogged debates about Irish nationhood. As it tracks the phantasmatic form given to questions of character and individuality, race and production, sexuality and gender, across the body of Stoker’s writing, Vampires, Mummies, and Liberals draws a fascinating portrait of an extraordinary transitional figure. Combining psychoanalysis and cultural theory with detailed historical research, this book will be of interest to scholars of Victorian and Irish fiction and to those concerned with cultural studies and popular culture.
The White Trash Menace and Hemispheric Fiction uncovers a rich archive of “white trash” fiction in the Caribbean and its surrounding regions. After the abolition of slavery, affluent white planters underwent a period of identity crisis where wealth no longer maintained their privileges, and yet they did not belong to the group of newly freed peoples. Ramón E. Soto-Crespo analyzes the literary legacy of those who came under the label of “white trash.” This book argues that during the mid-twentieth century, “white trash” started off as a trope in pulp fiction and subsequently became absorbed into what we now think of as canonical literature. In The White Trash Menace, Soto-Crespo pairs novels from William Faulkner and Jean Rhys with pulp authors such as Edgar Mittelholzer and Kyle Onstott in order to provide an alternate account of the literary development of race and class in the Americas. Together these works constitute a circum-Atlantic, white-trash world of letters: a hemispheric network of decapitalized whiteness that challenges how we imagine literary history by departing from nation-based models of aesthetic development. By providing a genealogy of literary circulation, The White Trash Menace likewise challenges conventional understandings of “white trash,” and more broadly challenges our understanding of literature, class, and race in the Americas.