Selected New and Forthcoming books
(Reviews of many of these titles will be forthcoming over the next few months)
Anolik, Ruth Bienstock, ed. Demons of the Body and Mind: Essays on Disability in Gothic Literature. Macfarland, 2010.
The Gothic mode, typically preoccupied by questions of difference and otherness, consistently imagined the Other as a source of grotesque horror. Paradoxically, the Other also became a pitiful figure, often evoking empathy. The sixteen critical essays in this collection examine the ways in which those suffering from mental and physical ailments were refigured as Other during the Gothic era, and how they were imagined to be monstrous. Together, the essays highlight the Gothic inclination to represent all ailments as visibly monstrous, even those, such as mental illness, which were invisible. (From Amazon website) To be reviewed by Alan Gregory, Lancaster University
Bloom, Clive Gothic Histories: The Taste for Terror, 1764 to the Present. Continuum, 2010.
This is a comprehensive guide to the history of Gothic from the eighteenth century to the present day that includes original research. In the middle of the eighteenth century, the Gothic became the universal language of architecture, painting and literature, expressing a love not only of ruins, decay and medieval pageantry, but also the drug-induced monsters of the mind. By explaining the international dimension of Gothicism and dealing in detail with German, French and American authors, “Gothic Histories” demonstrates the development of the genre in every area of art and includes original research on Gothic theatre, spiritualism, ‘ghost seeing’ and spirit photography and the central impact of penny-dreadful writers on the genre, while also including a host of forgotten or ignored authors and their biographies. “Gothic Histories” is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of the Gothic and its literary double, the horror genre, leading the reader from their origins in the haunted landscapes of the Romantics through Frankenstein and Dracula to the very different worlds of Hannibal Lecter and Goth culture (from Amazon website). To be reviewed by Xavier Aldana, Lancaster University.
Castricano, Jodey, The Gothic and Psychoanalysis, Literature and Film. University of Wales Press, 2010. This book explores the influence of nineteenth-century spiritualism on the rise and practice of psychoanalysis. It demonstrates the curious affinity between the new science of the mind and Gothic fiction and film in which telepathy, hypnosis, dreaming, automatism and somnambulism can be read as metaphors for social and cultural anxieties regarding the ‘occult’ status of the mind in the face of speculations about the discovery of unconscious mental activities. (From University of Wales Press) To be reviewed by Matt Foley, University of Stirling.
Conrich, Ian, ed. Horror Zone: The Cultural Experience of Contemporary Horror Cinema, IB Tauris, 2010.
Robin Wood has noted that horror ‘has consistently been one of the most popular and, at the same time, the most disreputable of Hollywood genres’. Horror is still immensely popular but its assimilation into our culture continues apace. In Horror Zone, leading international writers on horror take horror into the world outside cinema screens to explore the interconnections between the films and modern media and entertainment industries, economies and production practices, cultural and political forums, spectators and fans. They critically examine the ways in which the horror genre functions in all its multifarious forms, considering, for example, the Friday the 13th films as a contemporary grand guignol, the new series of Mummy and Blade films as blockbusters, and horror film marketing on the Internet. They also examine the relationship between the contemporary horror film and the theme park ride, the horror film as art house cinema, relationships between pornography and the horror film, set and costume design in horror films such as The Silence of the Lambs, and the place of special effects in this most reputable of film genres. (From Amazon website) To be reviewed by Rachel Bowles, University of Stirling.
Franklin, Caroline, intro and ed. The Longman Anthology of Gothic Verse. Longman, 2010.
Gothic verse liberated the dark side of Romantic and Victorian verse: its medievalism, melancholy and morbidity. Some poets intended merely to shock or entertain, but Gothic also liberated the creative imagination and inspired them to enter disturbing areas of the psyche and to portray extreme states of human consciousness. This anthology illustrates that journey.
This is the first modern anthology of Gothic verse. It traces the rise of Gothic in the late eighteenth century and follows its footsteps through the nineteenth century. Gothic has never truly died as it constantly reinvents itself, and this lively, illustrated and annotated anthology offers students the atmospheric poetry that originally studded terror novels and inspired horror films. Alongside canonical verse by Coleridge, Keats and Poe, it introduces readers to lesser-known authors’ excursions into the macabre and the grotesque. A wide range of poetic forms is included: as well as ballads, tales, lyrics, meditative odes and dramatic monologues, a medievalist romance by Scott and Gothic drama by Byron are also included in full. A substantial introduction by Caroline Franklin puts the rise of Gothic poetry into its historical context, relating it both to Romanticism and Enlightenment historicism. (From Amazon website)
Germana, Monica. Scottish Women’s Gothic and Fantastic Writing: Fiction Since 1978. Edinburgh UP, 2010.
Considers four thematic areas of the supernatural: quests, dangerous women, doubles and ghosts. Brings together contemporary women’s writing and the Scottish fantasy tradition, and looks at such authors as Ali Smith, Alice Thompson, Margaret Elphinstone, A.L. Kennedy, Emma Tennant, Muriel Spark. To be reviewed by Neil Syme, University of Stirling.
Hoeveler, Diane Long. Gothic Riffs: Secularizing the Uncanny in the European Imaginary, 1780 – 1820. Ohio State University Press, 2010. Also available in cd rom.
This book 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. (from Ohio UP website) To be reviewed by Steven Craig, University of Stirling.
Joseph Laycock, Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism. Greenwood Press, 2009.
Vampires are not just the stuff of folklore and fiction. This book explores the modern world of vampirism in all its variety. Based upon extensive interviews with members of the Atlanta Vampire Alliance and others within vampire communities throughout the United States, “Vampires Today” looks at the many expressions of vampirism: lifestyle vampires, those who adopt a culture and a gothic ascetic associated with the vampires of art and legend; real vampires, those who believe they are a separate race and must actually consume blood and/or psychic energy in order to survive; or others who self-identify in some way as vampires. Over the years, but particularly in the past decade or so, vampirism has come under increased study, yet most scholarship has portrayed the vampire community at best as a cultural phenomenon and at worst as a religious cult. In this book, author Laycock explores the modern world of vampirism in all its variety. Having interviewed many vampires across the country, he argues that today’s vampires are best understood as an identity group and that vampirism has caused a profound change in how individuals choose to define themselves. (From Amazon website) To be reviewed by Aspasia Stephanou, University of Stirling.
Lerner, Neil, ed. Music in the Horror Film. Routledge, 2010.
Music in Horror Film is a collection of essays that examine the effects of music and its ability to provoke or intensify fear in this particular genre of film. Frightening images and ideas can be made even more intense when accompanied with frightening musical sounds, and music in horror film frequently makes its audience feel threatened and uncomfortable through its sudden stinger chords and other shock effects. The essays in this collection address the presence of music in horror films and their potency within them. With contributions from scholars across the disciplines of music and film studies, these essays delve into blockbusters like The Exorcist, The Shining, and The Sixth Sense together with lesser known but still important films like Carnival of Souls and The Last House on the Left. (From Amazon website)
Mandel, Naomi. Bret Easton Ellis: American Psycho, Glamorama, Lunar Park. Continuum, forthcoming 2010.
This collection of critical essays on the American novelist Bret Easton Ellis examines the novels of his mature period: “American Psycho” (1991), “Glamorama” (1999), and “Lunar Park” (2005). Taking as its starting-point “American Psycho”‘s seismic impact on contemporary literature and culture, the volume establishes Ellis’ centrality to the scholarship and teaching of contemporary American literature in the U.S. and in Europe. Contributors examine the alchemy of acclaim and disdain that accrues to this controversial writer, provide an overview of growing critical material on Ellis and review the literary and artistic significance of his recent work. Exploring key issues including violence, literature, reality, reading, identity, genre, and gender, the contributors together provide a critical re-evaluation of Ellis, exploring how he has impacted, challenged, and transformed contemporary literature in the U.S. and abroad. (From Amazon website). To be reviewed by Chloe Buckley, Lancaster University.
Monnet, Agnieszka Soltysik, The Poetics and Politics of the American Gothic. Ashgate, 2010. Taking as its point of departure recent insights about the performative nature of genre, “The Politics of the American Gothic” challenges the critical tendency to accept at face value that gothic literature is mainly about fear. Instead, Agnieszka Soltysik Monnet argues that the American Gothic, and gothic literature in general, is also about judgment: how to judge and what happens when judgment is confronted with situations that defy its limits. Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, Gilman, and James all shared a concern with the political and ideological debates of their time, but tended to approach these debates indirectly. Thus, Monnet suggests, while slavery and race are not the explicit subject matter of antebellum works by Poe and Hawthorne, they nevertheless permeate it through suggestive analogies and tacit references. Similarly, Melville, Gilman, and James use the gothic to explore the categories of gender and sexuality that were being renegotiated during the latter half of the century. Focusing on “The Fall of the House of Usher”, “The Marble Faun”, “Pierre”, “The Turn of the Screw”, and “The Yellow Wallpaper”, Monnet brings to bear minor texts by the same authors that further enrich her innovative readings of these canonical works. At the same time, her study persuasively argues that the Gothic’s endurance and ubiquity are in large part related to its being uniquely adapted to rehearse questions about judgment and justice that continue to fascinate and disturb. (from Amazon website). To be reviewed by Maria Parrino, Bristol University.
Esther Peeren, Maria del Pilar Blanco, eds. Popular Ghosts: The Haunted Spaces of Everyday Culture. Continiuum 2010.
Located in the ambivalent realm between life and death, ghosts have always inspired cultural fascination as well as theoretical consideration. Ghosts are ubiquitous in contemporary critical theory and in current literary and visual culture. In psychoanalysis, for example, the ghost has been crucial to Freud’s uncanny, Lacan’s discussion of desire and Abraham and Torok’s theory of intergenerational trauma. In literary studies, the ghost is integral to the field of Gothic studies, as its prime genre characteristic. With the appearance of Derrida’s 1994 “Specters of Marx”, moreover, the ghost not only acquired a deconstructive dimension, but was transformed into a methodology in and of itself: hauntology or spectral studies. (taken from Amazon). To be reviewed by Stuart Lindsay, University of Stirling.
Phillips, Lawrence and Anne Witchard, eds. London Gothic: Place, Space and the Gothic Imagination. Continuum. 2010.
A collection of essays exploring Gothic representations of London in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries through a variety of media, from canonic fiction to gastropubs and ghost tours. Includes essays by Fred Botting, Roger Luckhurst, Catherine Spooner and Julian Wolfreys. (from Amazon website) To be reviewed by Xavier Aldana, Lancaster University.
Alison Rudd, Postcolonial Gothic Fictions from the Caribbean, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. University of Wales Press. 2010.
Explores post colonial Gothic in four different locations and provides a comparative analysis of the way in which the Gothic has enabled post colonial writers to express the anxieties of post colonial experience and the traumatic legacies of colonialism through novels, short post colonial and poetry. (From Amazon website) To be reviewed by Sarah Post, Lancaster University.
Six, Abigail Lee, Gothic Terrors: Incarceration, Dupliction and Bloodlust in Spanish Narrative. Bucknell UP, 2010.
Gothic Terrors brings together two discursive fields that have had very little contact hitherto: Gothic Studies and Hispanism. Though widely accepted in English studies, Hispanists seldom invoke the concept of a Gothic mode existing beyond its first appearance in the eighteenth century. Highlighting Gothic elements in mainstream Spanish fiction from the nineteenth century until the present day, Lee Six challenges the view that Spanish writers rejected what the Gothic had to offer. Through close study of texts by Benito Perez Galdos, Emilia Pardo Bazan, Miguel de Unamuno, Camilo Jose Cela, Adelaida Garcia Morales, Espido Freire, and Javier Garcia Sanchez, Lee Six traces the evolution of three staples of the Gothic: the heroine imprisoned on grounds of madness, the doubled or split character, and the use of violent, gory description. Persuasively argued and widely researched, Gothic Terrors reflects on the Gothic presence in Spanish mainstream literature and identifies two important ways in which it crosses cultural divides: the traditional gulf between high and low culture within Spain, and the engagement of Spanish creative writers with transnational literary trends. (from Amazon website) To be reviewed by Enrique Ajuria Ibarra, Lancaster University.
Smith, Andrew, The Ghost Story 1840-1920: A Cultural History. Manchester UP, 2010.
The Ghost Story 1840-1920: A Cultural History examines the British ghost story within the political contexts of the long nineteenth century. By relating the ghost story to economic, national, colonial, and gendered contexts it provides a critical re-evaluation of the period. The conjuring of a political discourse of spectrality during the nineteenth century enables a culturally sensitive reconsideration of the work of writers including Dickens, Collins, Charlotte Riddell, Vernon Lee, May Sinclair, Kipling, Le Fanu, Henry James, and M.R. James. Additionally, a chapter on the interpretation of spirit messages reveals how issues relating to textual analysis were implicated within a language of the spectral. This book is the first full-length study of the British ghost story in over 30 years and it will be of interest to academics, graduate students and advanced undergraduates working on the Gothic, literary studies, historical studies, critical theory and cultural studies. (From Amazon website) To be reviewed by Matt Foley, University of Stirling.
Wasson, Sara, Urban Gothic of the Second World War: Dark London. Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.
This book examines ‘home front’ literature of the Second World War, arguing that Gothic tropes and forms mark moments of fracture in the national mythologies of wartime home, city and fellowship. These works in the Gothic mode subvert mythologies of nation that are still influential today. Anna Kavan, Mervyn Peake, Elizabeth Bowen, Roy Fuller, Henry Green and others present counter-stories to the dominant national mythology of British survival and emotional resilience. In the texts of this monograph, the city grows strange, time distorts, and hallucinatory narrative voices depict a nightmare realm. Doubling, temporal dislocation, narrative disjunction and tropes of haunting gather around shadowy figures on the margin of the nation. This book moves from city streets, to hospitals and prisons, to factories, to homes and finally to morgues. Each location presents a London that is, in the words of Mervyn Peake, “half masonry, half pain.” (From Amazon UK)
Yi, Dongshin, A Genealogy of Cybergothic. Ashgate, 2010.
In his provocative and timely study of posthumanism, Dongshin Yi adopts an imaginary/imaginative approach to exploring the transformative power of the cyborg, a strategy that introduces balance to the current discourses dominated by the practicalities of technoscience and the dictates of anthropocentrism. Proposing the term ‘cyborgothic’ to characterize a new genre that may emerge from gothic literature and science fiction, Yi introduces mothering as an aesthetic and ethical practice that can enable a posthumanist relationship between human and non-human beings. Yi examines the cyborg’s literary manifestations in novels, including “The Mysteries of Udolpho”, “Frankenstein”, “Dracula”, “Arrowsmith”, and “He, She and It”, alongside philosophical and critical texts such as Edmund Burke’s “A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of Our ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful”, Immanuel Kant’s “Critique of Judgment”, John Stuart Mill’s “Utilitarianism and System of Logic”, William James’ essays on pragmatism, ethical treaties on otherness and things, feminist writings on motherhood, and recent studies of posthumanism. Arguing humans imagine the cyborg in ways that are seriously limited by fear of the unknown and current understandings of science and technology, Yi identifies in gothic literature a practice of the beautiful that extends the operation of sensibility, heightened by gothic manifestations or situations, to surrounding objects and people so that new feelings flow in and attenuate fear. In science fiction, which demonstrates how society has accommodated science, Yi locates ethical corrections to the anthropocentric trajectory that such accommodation has taken. Thus, “A Genealogy of Cyborgothic” imagines a new literary genre that helps envision a cyborg-friendly, non-anthropocentric posthuman society. Encoded with gothic literature’s aesthetic embrace of fear and science fiction’s ethical criticism of anthropocentrism, the cyborgothic retains the prospective nature of these genres and develops mothering as an aesthetico-ethical practice that both humans and cyborgs should perform. (from Amazon website). To be reviewed by Neal Kirk.
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