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All that Gothic


Edited By 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 18 th and 19 th century texts and moves into 20 th 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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The aim of this monograph is to present an overview of the rich range of expression and form the Gothic has taken in Western culture since its emergence in late eighteenth century England. Though at first restricted to literature and to the Old Continent, the genre spread across the Atlantic, finding fertile ground for expression on the New Continent, on the one hand, drawing from the European gothic tradition and on the other, enriching it with new themes and strong local flavours.

In the nineteenth century Gothicism appropriated a new body from folklore, the vampire, thus manifesting the genre’s confident indifference to the high vs. low culture dichotomy. Gothic fiction evolved into ghost and vampire stories, which became a territory for addressing the taboo, themes otherwise inappropriate for this era’s standards of propriety and decorum. Gothicism has always been a highly visual genre and its insistence on the marriage of image with emotion has granted it a permanent presence in cinema from its very beginnings in the early decades of the twentieth century. Gothic imagery and themes have been indispensable elements for cinematography, not only through numerous adaptations of classic gothic and vampire stories but mainly because of the genre’s aesthetic potential, its subversive ideologies and legacy of contestation.

The title and the structure of this volume illustrate that Gothicism is deeply rooted in our culture and creative consciousness, crossing continents, taking on various forms and shapes and becoming a tool of expression for...

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