Contemporary Gothic

Contemporary Gothic

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by Catherine Spooner
     
 

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ISBN-10: 1861893019

ISBN-13: 9781861893017

Pub. Date: 11/01/2006

Publisher: Reaktion Books, Limited

Modern Gothic culture alternately fascinates, horrifies, or bewilders many of us. We cringe at pictures of Marilyn Manson, cheer for Buffy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and try not to stare at the pierced and tattooed teens we pass on the streets. But what is it about this dark and morbidly morose aesthetic that fascinates us today? In Contemporary Gothic<

Overview

Modern Gothic culture alternately fascinates, horrifies, or bewilders many of us. We cringe at pictures of Marilyn Manson, cheer for Buffy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and try not to stare at the pierced and tattooed teens we pass on the streets. But what is it about this dark and morbidly morose aesthetic that fascinates us today? In Contemporary Gothic, Catherine Spooner probes the reasons behind the prevalence of the Gothic in popular culture and how it has inspired innovative new work in film, literature, music, and art. 

Spooner traces the emergence of the Gothic subculture over the past few decades and examines the various aspects of contemporary society that revolve around the grotesque, abject, and artificial. The Gothic is continually resituated in different spheres of culture, she reveals, as she explores the transplantation of the “street” Goth style to haute couture runway looks by fashion designers. The Gothic also appears in a number of surprisingly diverse representations, and Spoonerconsiders them all, from the artistic excesses of Jake and Dinos Chapman to the fashions of Alexander McQueen, and from the mind-bending films of David Lynch to the abnormal postmodern subjects of Joel-Peter Witkin’s photography.

In an engaging way, Contemporary Gothic argues that this style ultimately balances a number of contradictions—the grotesque and incorporeal, authentic self-expression and campiness, mass popularity and cult appeal, comfort and outrage—and these contradictions make the Gothic a crucial expression of contemporary cultural currents. Whether seeking to understand the stories behind the TV show Supernatural or to extract deeper meanings from modern literature, Contemporary Gothic is a lively and virtually unparalleled study of the modern Gothic sensibility that pervades popular culture today.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781861893017
Publisher:
Reaktion Books, Limited
Publication date:
11/01/2006
Series:
Focus on Contemporary Issues Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
5.75(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.50(d)

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Contemporary Gothic 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
manthatyoufear777 More than 1 year ago
This book is good as an introduction to the gothic, but I was hoping for something more in depth. I learned about the presence of the gothic in advertising, but I did not get as much from this book as I had anticipated. However, it was well written and accessible for anyone interested in this topic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this book on popular culture, Spooner writes about how 'Gothic narratives have escaped the confines of literature and spread across disciplinary boundaries to infect all kinds of media, from fashion to advertising to the way contemporary events are constructed in mass culture.' This is evident in the clothing worn by many punk-rock musicians, the prevalence of tattoos and body piercing, and the popularity of horror movies. But Spooner not only engages in an entertaining inventory of the diverse manifestations of the gothic in contemporary culture, but also delves into the historical and literary roots of the gothic and reasons for its attraction and persistence. In its idiomatic, inimitable way, the gothic represents the potent psychic themes of subconscious memories of the past and ties to the dead, the creation of the 'other' (e. g. Frankenstein's monster), the fragmentary self, the mutability of the body, and one's own death and reincarnation. The gothic does not resolve anxieties 'both personal and collective' attending these, however. Spooner's general perspective is that it is a way of dealing with the anxieties. The periodic reawakening of the gothic usually originate among younger people for its graphic imagery connoting unconventionality and a degree of rebelliousness. Spooner is a lecturer in literature at England's Lancaster University and author of the 2004 book 'Fashioning Gothic Bodies.' Her sure hand with the wide range of subject matter makes for an especially lucid exploration of the vein of the gothic in today's pop and youth cultures.
Guest More than 1 year ago
CONTEMPORARY GOTHIC by Catherine Spooner. London: FOCI Imprint/Reaktion Books, 2006 distributed in U. S. by U. of Chicago Press.. 175 pages. $19.95 trade paper, ISBN 1-861189-301-9. photographs, notes. In this book on popular culture, Spooner writes about how 'Gothic narratives have escaped the confines of literature and spread across disciplinary boundaries to infect all kinds of media, from fashion to advertising to the way contemporary events are constructed in mass culture.' This is evident in the clothing worn by many punk-rock musicians, the prevalence of tattoos and body piercing, and the popularity of horror movies. But Spooner not only engages in an entertaining inventory of the divrse manifestations of the gothic in contemporary culture, but also delves into the historical and literary roots of the gothic and reasons for its attraction and persistence. In its idiomatic, inimitable way, the gothic represents the potent psychic themes of subconscious memories of the past and ties to the dead, the creation of the 'other' (e. g. Frankenstein's monster), the fragmentary self, the mutability of the body, and one's own death and reincarnation. The gothic does not resolve anxieties 'both personal and collective' attending these, however. Spooner's general perspective is that it is a way of dealing with the anxieties. The periodic reawakenings of the gothic usually originate among younger people for its graphic imagery connoting unconventionality and a degree of rebelliousness. Spooner is a lecturer in literature at England's Lancaster University and author of the 2004 book 'Fashioning Gothic Bodies.' Her sure hand with the wide range of subject matter amkes for an especially lucid exploration of the vein of the gothic in today's pop and youth cultures.