Defiant Damsels: Gothic Space and Female Agency in Emmeline, The Mysteries of. Udolpho, and Secresy. In , an anonymous column titled “Terrorist Novel. caveaux de châteaux," and other prime examples of Gothic scenery and atmosphere. The play were to formulate a poetics of space for the gothic experience. Gothic Writers and Key Terms. AINSWORTH, W. ARCHITECTURE see GOTHIC REVIVAL .. The murky flux of the formless mass of Gothic space becomes.
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Gothic science fiction, also known as space goth, is a subgenre of science fiction that involves .. Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version. This thesis interrogates the Gothic literary genre of the eighteenth and .. A space like the Gothic – defined as it is by its psychological attributes like terror. Mar 25, PDF | On Mar 29, , Patricia Ferreira Lopes and others published Understanding the Andalusia´s Late Gothic heritage in space and time.
Missing person figures haunt the Australian cultural imagination. In literature and in life, explorers are swallowed by the desert, children are lost in the bush, schoolgirls vanish at picnics, hitchhikers are abducted by serial killers, and a prime minister mysteriously disappears while swimming. Keywords: Australian Gothic, liminality, hinterland, missing person In the Australian cultural imagination, the missing person exercises a peculiar fascination.
In literature and in life, explorers are swallowed by the desert, children are lost in the bush, schoolgirls vanish from picnics, hitchhikers are abducted off highways, and even a prime minister mysteriously disappears while swimming.
Analyses of Australian missing person narratives have also neglected the connections between the figure of the missing person and the Gothic, although concepts of liminality, the uncanny, and hybridity are raised. This is the case even when the texts under analysis are written by authors associated with the Australian Gothic tradition.
The usual processes of mourning, funerary arrangements, and legal settlements cannot be undertaken. Instead, the missing person exists in a liminal state, an uncanny figure mediating the boundary between life and death. Mysterious disappearances—some temporary, some indefinite—are a staple of classic Gothic literature, feeding evocations of dread, uncertainty, and suspense. Her fears lead her into flights of fancy in which she, as Terry Castle points out, imagines death all around, even mistaking a pile of old clothes for a corpse Castle , Likewise, Emily imagines that her absent lover, Valancourt, may be dead and haunting the parapet outside her room with ghostly wails ibid.
Often, acts of disappearance function as a catalyst for change. Even Jane Eyre deliberately goes missing from Thornfield Hall following her aborted wedding to Rochester, and in her absence becomes an heiress.
Each of these missing characters is represented as a liminal figure, a transitional being situated between social categories, or between life and death. As such, she can only be described via metaphors, usually of death, hybridity, and rebirth.
In the Gothic, the liminal often emerges via monstrous or hybrid figures, such as the vampire or ghost.
This article examines Gothic representations of the missing person as a liminal figure in two recent Australian novels, Salt Rain by Sarah Armstrong and Darkness on the Edge of Town by Jessie Cole. Each of these novels represents the missing person as a liminal figure through metaphoric language of death, hybridity, and rebirth, aligning the missing person with the vampire, zombie, ghost, and even the mermaid.
High-profile cases, such as the disappearance of Azaria Chamberlain or the doomed Burke and Wills expedition , remain in the cultural imagination for decades, even across centuries, returning again and again in public discourse and fictional representations. This cultural preoccupation with the missing person has been widely recognised by scholars, although often it is the figure of the child lost in the bush rather than the lost or missing adult that is the focus of attention.
Pierce recognises similarities between lost child and lost adult narratives ibid. Elspeth Tilley, however, has criticised the tendency to separate texts about the lost child from those about missing adults, arguing that they ought to be read alongside one another, as part of an overarching tradition.
She argues that this assumption colours the readings of all metaphors and possibilities of the trope. In a number of cases, this appears to be true. Most readings of the lost child trope consider colonial guilt and anxieties over land tenure and belonging to be among the reasons for its recurrence. Other discussions of the Australian lost child trope in visual art, literature, film, and real life have been carried out by Kim Torney , Susan Dermody , Alan Lawson , Roslynn Haynes , Alison Rudd , and many others.
This tendency means that the full range of possibilities and significance behind the missing person trope in Australian literature has not yet been explored, including its affinity with the Gothic.
The Gothic is rarely mentioned in analyses of Australian lost child and missing person texts, even when concepts of the uncanny, liminality, and hybridity are raised, or when the texts under analysis are written by authors usually associated with the Australian Gothic tradition.
Works by Marcus Clarke, Barbara Baynton, and Patrick White, for example, are routinely analysed as lost or missing person texts, yet the Gothic aspects of the missing person figure are not considered.
I argue that Australian missing person and lost child narratives can be read as part of the Australian Gothic tradition. While there is no room herein for a comprehensive re-reading of the Gothic aspects of such narratives, two points are worth addressing.
Firstly, the spatial pattern distinguished by many critics as common to lost child narratives is the same as that which Manuel Aguirre identifies as the basic geometry of Gothic texts Aguirre , 2. Secondly, the figure of the lost child often evinces uncanny aspects associated with liminality and hybridity. Both Tilley and Pierce place a particular emphasis on the liminal moment of threshold crossing—commonly a creek crossing Pierce , 50; Tilley , Liminality and hybridity The concept of liminality arises from studies of rites of passage in tribal societies conducted in the field of cultural anthropology by Arnold van Gennep and later developed by Victor Turner Garner , Later, he returns to European society but he is irrevocably changed.
In both these readings, Gemmy is represented as a liminal figure—hybrid, monstrous, demonic, tainted, otherworldly, inhuman—yet the Gothic aspects of such a characterisation are not raised. In recent decades, the concept of liminality has been applied across a variety of fields, including postcolonialism, feminism, psychoanalysis, Marxism, narratology, and cultural studies Klapcsik , 1. In each instance, liminality has been adapted and re- theorised until it has assumed a range of connotations and applications.
I also argue that in Australian lost child and missing person novels, the liminal operates within a particularly Gothic mode.
The Gothic World
Both Salt Rain and Darkness demonstrate this interdependence and entanglement of new and old. Although set in present-day Australian hinterlands, each novel follows a familiar Gothic plot. Following clues […] she penetrates the obscure recesses of a dark, labyrinthean space and discovers a secret room sealed off by its association with death. In this dark, secret center of the Gothic structure, the boundaries of life and death seem confused.
Who died? Has there been a murder? Or merely a disappearance? In Darkness, Rachel chooses to disappear. She is on the run from her abusive boyfriend when she crashes her car on the road outside the hinterland home of Vince and his stepdaughter, Gemma. In both cases, the figure of the missing person is represented via the metaphorical language of liminality: as uncanny, hybrid, and undead. Mae and Rachel are associated by turns with the vampire, the zombie, the mermaid, and the ghost.
Their missing status seems to overflow its bounds of human-ness, affecting and infecting both those surrounding them, and those left behind. In each case, the familiar central space is Sydney and the peripheral Othered space that of the northern New South Wales hinterland. The lush, fertile landscape of the hinterland is not often associated with the Gothic mode in Australian literature. Studies of Australian Gothic tend to focus on the iconic Australian landscapes of dry Outback and rough Bush as the unlikely but effective settings of a distinctly Australian Gothic mode see, for example, Gelder ; Rudd ; Turcotte In these and other representations, the Australian landscape is read as hostile, inhospitable, and alien to European settlers.
The landscape of the northern New South Wales hinterland is at odds with such representations as the subtropical climate and abundant rainfall create a luxuriant, green landscape where dense stands of native rainforest border fertile farmland.
In this way, the hinterlands of Salt Rain and Darkness more closely resemble the European Gothic landscapes of Ann Radcliffe and Horace Walpole—with their mountains, dark forests, and labyrinthine roads Railo , 12 —than the iconic landscapes of Australian Gothic.
This is a landscape of lush excess, and a liminal space where boundaries are constantly erased and transgressed. In fact, literally speaking, the hinterland is a quintessential liminal space. In the language of Imperialism, the hinterland is also the uncertainly-possessed territory between the borders of two or more expanding powers Davis , ; Kerr , It is associated with boundaries, frontiers, peripheries, and the in-between.
Like the missing person, the hinterland mediates between realms. Various critics have commented on the uncanny capacity of frontier or border spaces to incorporate aspects of both the threshold and the other space around, or adjacent to, it. The hinterland in Salt Rain and Darkness functions in this manner: it is both threshold and Other space, a liminal space of suspension and, ultimately, transition. Later, the same location is used to entrap, rape, and murder Antonia, in which case the entrapment could be read as a metaphor for man's ability to entrap a woman in an unwanted marriage by raping her see entry for rape.
Mental entrapment, on the other hand, is about being confined to a certain state of mind. The Gothic trope of madness, for example, is a form of mental entrapment. In a way, the insane are trapped in their own mental universe, into which no one else can penetrate.
Renfield in Dracula , is doubly entrapped; physically locked up in an asylum, he is also limited to the confines of his mental universe, doomed to be continually misunderstood by Seward, or simply dismissed as insane. Lastly, there is also existential entrapment, which takes the form of social entropy and ontological or epistemological entrapment. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ; Dr. Jekyll feels trapped by societal notions of respectability, by a constant pressure of having to uphold his reputation as a gentleman in the eyes of the Victorian public.
Jekyll invents the figure of Hyde. Jekyll can truly express himself, unbound by considerations of maintaining his respectability. K and Savoy, E. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press. The mutual contagion of their simulacral and spectral character interrogates the possibility of an exit from the hyperreality of Suburbia. Typically Gothic, what haunts and eventually disrupts the setting is the sexual unknown.
Denied by their parents any sexual development the girls are permanently grounded after the oldest daughter Lux loses her virginity at the homecoming ball , the girls reject their environment and align themselves with the most Gothic motif: death.
Looking at these old and new examples, it becomes clear not only that the Gothic mode transcends and transgresses historical periodisation, but also that the study of the Gothic is essentially a study of the uncanny.
As we have seen, this is done spatially, through the depiction of mental and physical space. Yet, Freud notes that the uncanny, embodied or not, is always within us, as seen in the Suburban Gothic, wherein the uncanny is inescapable, even after the supposed removal of the Gothic fetish.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. New York: Routledge, p. Davenport-Hines, R. London: Fourt Estate Limited.! Gans, H. New York: Pantheon.! Grunenberg, C. Hendershot, C. Ann Arbour:! University of Michigan.! Hopkins, L. Austin, Texas: University of Texas! Martin, R. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press.!
Markman, E. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University! Moretti, F. London: Verso Books.!Lady Madeline and Lord Roderick also share a unique connection being twins and possibly lovers. Mysterious disappearances—some temporary, some indefinite—are a staple of classic Gothic literature, feeding evocations of dread, uncertainty, and suspense.
Whether intentional or not, the representational gestures, costuming and props embodied the same meanings as they represented. Whether begun in earnest or as a game, a session with an Ouija board suggests the possibility of haunting and raises the question, if not the belief, in the continued presence of the dead and devilish.
Gothic — Documents of Contemporary Art. New York: Continuum. Some feature entire planets of vampires, or vampire-like creatures such as the comic book Vampirella. New York: Peter Lang Publishing. The philosopher as novelist.