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This interdisciplinary collection brings together world leaders in Gothic Studies, offering dynamic new readings on popular Gothic cultural productions from the last decade. Topics covered include, but are not limited to: contemporary High Street Goth/ic fashion, Gothic performance and art festivals, Gothic popular fiction from Twilight to Shadow of the Wind, Goth/ic popular music, Goth/ic on TV and film, new trends like Steampunk, well-known icons Batman and Lady Gaga, and theorizations of popular Gothic monsters (from zombies and vampires to werewolves and ghosts) in an age of terror/ism.
978-1-13-801650-7 (paperback) / 978-0-415-80676-3 (hardback)
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Taking as its point of departure recent insights about the performative nature of genre, The Poetics and 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.
The essays in Writing American Women offer a sustained investigation of what writing has meant for North American women authors from the earliest captivity narratives to Kym Ragusa’s acclaimed recent memoir, The Skin Between Us (2006). By focusing on women rather than the more porous category of gender, contributors offer a meaningful survey ofthe issues that have shaped women’s writing in America. Some of the questions that emerge with particular force include the fraught relationship of women authors to the institutions of literary production, their complex geographical and cultural self-definition, and the special place of autobiography in their work. Combining historical, literary, institutional, and theoretical considerations, this volume brings into focus the rich nuances and heterogeneity of contemporary American studies as well as the vital contributions of women writers to American literature. Writers discussed in this book include Mary Rowlandson, Lucy Larcom, Amy Lowell, Louisa May Alcott, Edith Wharton, Kay Boyle, Nancy Huston and Lois-Ann Yamanaka.