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All that Gothic


Agnieszka Lowczanin and Dorota Wisniewska

This book provides a comprehensive introduction to the history, aesthetics and key themes of Gothic, the main issues and debates surrounding the genre along with the approaches and theories that have been applied to Gothic texts and films. The volume discusses a wide range of 18th and 19th century texts and moves into 20th century literature and film. It explores the cultural resonances created by the genre and raises a variety of issues, including the ways in which Gothic monstrosity mimics same-sex desire and social transgression. The texts included in the volume argue that Gothic film and fiction animated the darker shadows of the dominant culture.
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“I’ve seen bodies shining like stars”: Making a Case for Necrophilia in Lynne Stopkewich’s Kissed


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“I’ve seen bodies shining like stars”: Making a Case for Necrophilia in Lynne Stopkewich’s Kissed

Katarzyna Małecka

In the preface to his 2011 study of forensic and medico-legal aspects of necrophilia, Anil Aggrawal states, “Necrophilia is one of the most bizarre behaviors one can think of. Thankfully it is quite uncommon” (xvii). The first chapter of Aggrawal’s book opens with an equally undetached judgment, reminding the reader that, “Necrophilia, sexual gratification by having sex with the dead, is one of the weirdest, most bizarre and revolting practices of abnormal and perverse sensuality” (1). Aggrawal’s assessment appears unquestionable in the context of the real, the common and the socially prescribed. Thankfully, the realm of art is free to show the abnormal in a light that at times helps modify one’s perception of it. Lynne Stopkewich’s 1996 film Kissed is the story of Sandra Larson, an attractive and unapologetic necrophile who embraces life through the prism of death in a manner so poetic and captivating that one is almost willing, at least temporarily, to overlook the troubling aspects of her socially unsanctioned transgression. Stopkewich’s aim was “to seduce the viewer as much as possible” (Ferraro), which resulted not only in the film’s unique portrayal of necrophilia but also in the rejuvenation of certain Gothic hallmarks. According to one critic, “Kissed does more to modernize the vampire genre in 80 minutes …than Anne Rice has accomplished in a literary lifetime of pedantry and heavy breathing....

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