Gothic Realities: The Impact of Horror Fiction on Modern Culture

Gothic Realities: The Impact of Horror Fiction on Modern Culture

L. Andrew Cooper

Language: English

Pages: 248

ISBN: 0786448350

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Gothic Realities: The Impact of Horror Fiction on Modern Culture

L. Andrew Cooper

Language: English

Pages: 248

ISBN: 0786448350

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Eighteenth-century critics believed Gothic fiction would inspire deviant sexuality, instill heretical beliefs, and encourage antisocial violence--this book puts these beliefs to the test. After examining the assumptions behind critics' fears, it considers nineteenth-century concerns about sexual deviance, showing how Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dorian Gray, and other works helped construct homosexuality as a pathological, dangerous phenomenon. It then turns to television and film, particularly Buffy the Vampire Slayer and David DeCoteau's direct-to-video movies, to trace Gothicized sexuality's lasting impact. Moving to heretical beliefs, Gothic Realities surveys ghost stories from Dickens's A Christmas Carol to Poltergeist, articulating the relationships between fiction and the "real" supernatural. Finally, it considers connections between Gothic horror and real-world violence, especially the tragedies at Columbine and Virginia Tech.

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could have taken a radically different turn — how what we perceived as necessity was actually a free decision of ours. In other words, what we encounter here is another confirmation of the fact that the time of the subject is never “present”— the subject never “is,” it only “will have been”: we never are free, it is only afterwards that we discover how we have been free. 30 For both Bourdieu and ≥i±ek, the self knows its position within the field of social determinations when it reflects, and that

time. Psychopathia Sexualis, even though it was not yet available in English, had put contradictory ideas about the genesis of homosexuals into circulation by the time of Jekyll and Hyde’s publication: This perverse sexuality appears spontaneously, without external cause, with the development of sexual life, as an individual manifestation of an abnormal form of the vita sexualis, and then has the force of a congenital phenomenon; or it develops upon a sexuality the beginning of which was normal,

subjects must first inherit the “germ” of perversion and then awaken it by acquiring an influence with the power to disguise sexual pleasure as something else. Henry Wotton’s use of literature and conversation to corrupt Dorian Gray becomes the technique that homosexuals, cast in the mold of Oscar Wilde, employ to reproduce their pathology. The inherited germ is not pathogenic by itself. True pathological reproduction does not occur without an influence, without something that corrupts, converts,

which Irwin describes as a “compromise” between “agnostic science” and “a Christianity under siege from Darwin’s theory of evolution.”5 The movement spread across the Atlantic, becoming an international phenomenon and making ghosts perceived as real part of the everyday lives of thousands. While Spiritualism spread, ghosts also entered the everyday worlds of fiction. Robert F. Geary describes how the Victorian ghost fiction, “shorn of its pseudo-medieval trappings … found what the Gothic novel

multiple causation makes absolute prediction of cause-effect relationships between fictional and real violence impossible, so the retrospective model of causality is the only model that indicates the responsibility that supposedly belongs to influence. This temporality frustrates Potter’s assignment of responsibility to the media because it nullifies his distinction between probabilistic and deterministic causation. In retrospect, the probability of history having happened is by definition one

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