The Gothic is so Now


I always find the term ‘Contemporary Gothic’ a bit of an oxymoron. Surely the Gothic is necessarily about a distance past – albeit one that lacks an true authenticity and functions more as a palimpsest of the past. In one of our earliest discussions about the Gothic we wondered whether it was possible to have Science Fiction-Gothic (if you’ve watched Blade Runner the answer is yes).

However, the Gothic is incredibly current at the moment as evidenced by the number of events taking place to celebrate it. Last year, just as we were starting the Reading the Gothic group and blog, the BFI ran a celebration of Gothic films entitled ‘The Dark Heart of Film’. This year there will be a ‘Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination’, a celebration of Gothic literature at the British Library. Just in time for Halloween.

Over the past few months there have also been two ballet productions of Dracula. The West Yorkshire Playhouse showed its production, David Nixon’s Dracula, in September. The videos and stills look wonderful and it is interesting to note what aspects Nixon decided to draw out in his interpretation of the novel; something which was noted in The Guardian‘s review of the piece.

A little further south, the Arts Depot will be hosting Dracula performed by the Mark Bruce Company. This has also received excellent reviews (for comparison here is The Guardian’s review). Given all the hype around the Gothic at the moment it would seem the past is never truly put to rest.

New Year, Old Fear


Whilst I would never complain about the British summertime – especially when it’s been as bright and full of sunshine as this one -, it is nice to turn once again to darker things (including planning my Halloween costume) as the night’s draw in. And, as we return to university, it seems a good time to fire up the furnaces within the dark engine of literature.

The practical information regarding the wheres, whens, and whats of ‘Reading the Gothic’ will be published soon but in the meantime here’s something to get the literary cogs turning. Earlier this year the Guardian published an article entitled ‘How to tell you’re reading a Gothic novel‘ which is both entertaining and educational – ‘edutainment’, I believe is the vernacular.

It’s a great of starting to consider what is ‘Gothic’ literature – a starting point for most of the discussions about our chosen texts. It also proves that the Gothic remains in the public consciousness and is a Zeitgeist. Thus, we continue to have our finger on the pulse (yup, that’s a vampire pun).

More news will be coming shortly, so watch this darkling void of cyberspace.