Reviews"There are very few collections of essays on the Gothic and issues of gender and genre that are as cutting-edge and innovative as this one. While other studies have gotten powerfully at the relation of the Gothic to "queer" or alternative sexualities, the pieces here hone in with great analytical power and theoretical rigor on how and why various modes of Gothic render the blurring of and crossing between gender boundaries and even body types, putting in question nearly all definitions of particular sexualities and all standard articulations of the human body’s limits. These discussions even match their depiction of what is transgender with how the trans-generic mode that is the Gothic keeps transforming itself to reconceive of human multiplicity, real and imagined. This book therefore occupies a distinct and valuable niche within Gothic studies, sexuality studies, cultural studies, literature and film studies, and studies of the languages and politics of human self-definition."
--- Jerrold E. Hogle, Department of English, University of Arizona, USA.
The state of play: transgressive caricature and transnational Enlightenment
This essay investigates the dynamic gothic dialectic that exists between civilization and barbarity. Within our transnational culture, the notion of a state of emergency (Walter Benjamin), or a state of exception (Giorgio Agamben) have become familiar terms. The author argues that the gothic also has the potential to employ a state of play (explored through caricature, satire, and the monstrous) that reveals how bodies and nations transition to other ideological states, such as the body politic and the transnational, through a traumatic negotiation of postmodern Enlightenment. The essay reveals the roots of these preoccupations in Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726), Tagore’s Nationalism (1917), and Alasdair Gray’s Poor Things (1992).
Table of Contents
Introduction: "Transing the Gothic"
Part I: Transgothic Gender
Chapter 1. "Beyond Queer Gothic: Charting the Gothic History of the Trans Subject in Beckford, Lewis, Byron"
Chapter 2. "Go to Hell: William Beckford’s Skewed Heaven and Hell"
Chapter 3. "Transgothic Desire in Charlotte Dacre’s Zofloya"
Chapter 4. "That Dreadful Thing That Looked Like A Beautiful Girl": Trans Anxiety/Trans Possibility in Three Late Victorian Werewolf Tales"
Part II: Transgothic Bodies
Chapter 5. "Monster Trans: Diffracting Affect, Reading Rage"
Chapter 6. "More Than Skin Deep: Aliens, Fembots, and Trans-Monstrosities in Techno-Gothic Space"
Chapter 7. "Gothic Gender in Skin Suits, or The (Transgender) Skin I Live In"
Part III: Transgothic Rhetorics
Chapter 8. "The Media of Madness: Gothic transmedia and the Cthulhu mythos"
Chapter 9. "Black Weddings and Black Mirrors: Gothic as Transgeneric Mode"
Chapter 10. "The state of play: transgressive caricature and transnational Enlightenment"
This book contributes to an emerging field of study and provides new perspectives on the ways in which Gothic literature, visual media, and other cultural forms explicitly engage gender, sexuality, form, and genre. The collection is a forum in which the ideas of several well-respected critics converge, producing a breadth of knowledge and a diversity of subject areas and methodologies. It is concerned with several questions, including: How can we discuss Gothic as a genre that crosses over boundaries constructed by a culture to define and contain gender and sexuality? How do transgender bodies specifically mark or disrupt this boundary crossing? In what ways does the Gothic open up a plural narrative space for transgenre explorations, encounters, and experimentation? With this, the volume’s chapters explore expected categories such as transgenders, transbodies, and transembodiments, but also broader concepts that move through and beyond the limits of gender identity and sexuality, such as transhistories, transpolitics, transmodalities, and transgenres. Illuminating such areas as the appropriation of the trans body in Gothic literature and film, the function of trans rhetorics in memoir, textual markers of transgenderism, and the Gothic’s transgeneric
qualities, the chapters offer innovative, but not limited, ways to interpret the Gothic. In addition, the book intersects with but also troubles non-trans feminist and queer readings of the Gothic. Together, these diverse approaches engage the Gothic as a definitively trans subject, and offer new and exciting connections and insights into Gothic, Media, Film, Narrative, and Gender and Sexuality Studies.