In the year that ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ came out, as I have indicated, another novel featuring a murder on a train appeared. ‘Une Semaine de bonté’, first published in Paris by Jeanne Boucher, is an anti-novel composed of one hundred and eighty-two captionless collages in which perfectly respectable depictions of nineteenth-century bourgeois life, taken from cheap publications picked up in flea-markets and second-hand bookstalls, are rendered shocking, phantasmagoric.
The Bloodied Compartment of ‘Murder on the Orient Express’
Agatha Christie’s ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ is in one sense a reinscription of Émile Zola’s naturalist masterpiece ‘La Bête humaine’ (1890). Zola’s novel — to which Christie also alluded in 4:50 from Paddington (1957) — centres on the murder of a gentleman in a train compartment.
Vinyl Freak: Love Letters to a Dying Medium Insights
In some senses, this book is the flipside of John Corbett’s classic 1990 essay on “listening pleasure and the popular music object” (79) and its discussion of “fetishistic audiophilia” (94). This less theoretical and more personal collection of writings consists primarily of entries in Corbett’s ‘Vinyl Freak’ column, which ran from 2000 to 2012 in the jazz magazine, Downbeat.
‘Contemporary Gothic’, by Catherine Spooner
From the Halloween theatricality of Horace Walpole’s ‘The Castle of Otranto’ (1764) and the lurid psychosexual malevolence of Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ (1897) to the backcombed gloom of 1980s British bands The Cure and Fields of the Nephilim and — more recently still — Angelina Jolie’s seemingly incongruous appropriation of a Goth makeover, the amorphous and morbidly persistent fascinations of Gothic culture have unquestionable longevity.
Gothic-Grotesque of ‘Haunted’: Joyce Carol Oates’ Tales
In a recent review for the New York Times, the critic Laura Miller describes Joyce Carol Oates’ novel ‘Blonde’ as “the most ferocious fictional treatise ever written on the uninhabitable grotesqueness of femininity” (2000, 6). Joyce Carol Oates, for whom “the greatest realities are physical and economic” (Oates qtd. in Allen 1987, 61), has chosen the female body to stage many of the social changes of the last fifty years. Contemporary artistic and academic interest in the body is a consequence of the profound transformations of Western industrial societies brought about by a number of related processes such as the new systems of production, consumption, and distribution which characterize post-Fordism as well as the cultural framework of postmodernism.
Haunting and Spectrality in Neo-Victorian Fiction
In 2010, the year of the book under review, we witnessed the publication of Peter Ackroyd’s ‘The English Ghost: Spectres through Time’; Shane McCorristine’s ‘Spectres of the Self: Thinking about Ghosts and Ghost-Seeing in England, 1750-1920’, and Andrew Smith’s ‘The Ghost Story 1840-1920’. ‘A Cultural History’, as well as the collection of essays edited by María del Pilar Blanco and Esther Peeren, ‘Popular Ghosts: The Haunted Spaces of Everyday Culture’. Similarly, proof of scholarly interest in Neo-Victorian studies is found in the proliferation of critical volumes on the topic, which, in the same year, 2010, included: Marie-Louise Kohlke’s and Christian Gutleben’s ‘Neo- Victorian Tropes of Trauma: The Politics of Bearing After-witness to Nineteenth-Century Suffering’; Louisa Hadley’s ‘Neo-Victorian Fiction and Historical Narrative: The Victorians and Us’; Kate Mitchell’s ‘History and Cultural Memory in Neo-Victorian Fiction: Victorian Afterimages’; and Ann Heilman and Mark Llewellyn’s ‘Neo-Victorianism: The Victorians in the Twenty-First Century, 1999-2009’. Rosario Arias and Patricia Pulham, in ‘Haunting and Spectrality in Neo-Victorian Fiction – Possessing the Past’, have successfully combined these trends by bringing together, in the eight chapters of their volume, scholars who apply a variety of perspectives on the trope of the ghost, and on the notions of haunting and spectrality, to the study of Neo-Victorian texts.
‘Gothicka: Vampire Heroes, Human Gods, and the New Supernatural’
‘Gothicka: Vampire Heroes, Human Gods, and the New Supernatural’ (2013) by Victoria Nelson, is an attempt to explain, as accurately and in the simplest terms as one can, the strange, subtle turn that has occurred with the Gothic in the still budding twenty-first-century. Ultimately, though, ‘Gothicka: Vampire Heroes, Human Gods, and the New Supernatural’ stands uniquely in contrast with the brand of similarly “fresh” Gothic studies treating the fin de siècle during the inauguratory decades of the twentieth-century, works which tended to peer darkly, nostalgically into the past from the safe vantage of the present.