Search Results

Restricted Access

Series:

Christian Gutleben

Starting with the idea that neo-Victorianism’s humour privileges an intertextual form of irony typical of postmodernism, this chapter argues that the association of humour and Gothic produces a critical distance towards Gothic texts and tropes a detached perspective which is also an efficient anti-nostalgic device. What a humorous treatment of Victorian Gothic also allows is an ontological reconsideration of the concepts of otherness, the uncanny and the monstrous, precisely because humour encourages a reflexive attitude. The result of the playful hybridisation of humour and Victorian Gothic is a new novelistic species in keeping with the neo-Victorian cult of heterosis. Humour creating hermeneutic ambiguity and Gothic relying on conceptual uncertainty, the association of the two necessarily increases textual indeterminacy, and it is the challenge of this interpretative plurality that explains critics’ continued interest in the puzzles of neo-Victorian Gothic.

Restricted Access

Nostalgic Postmodernism

The Victorian Tradition and the Contemporary British Novel

Christian Gutleben

Why do so many contemporary British novels revert to the Victorian tradition in order to find a new source of inspiration? What does it mean from an ideological point of view to build a modern form of art by resurrecting and recycling an art of the past? From a formal point of view what are the aesthetic priorities established by these postmodernist novels? Those are the main questions tackled by this study intended for anybody interested in the aesthetic and ideological evolution of very recent fiction.
What this analysis ultimately proposes is a reevaluation and a redefinition of postmodernism such as it is illustrated by the British novels which paradoxically both praise and mock, honour and debunk, imitate and subvert their Victorian models. Unashamedly opportunistic and deliberately exploiting the spirit of the time, this late form of postmodernism cannibalizes and reshapes not only Victorianism but all the other previous aesthetic movements - including early postmodernism.
Restricted Access

Series:

Susana Onega and Christian Gutleben

Restricted Access

Series:

Christian Gutleben and Susana Onega

Restricted Access

Series:

Susana Onega and Christian Gutleben

Restricted Access

Series:

Susana Onega and Christian Gutleben

Restricted Access

Series:

Christian Gutleben and Julian Wolfreys

This chapter sets out to explore the correspondences between Victorian and postmodern situations of trauma. Through its refutation of Enlightenment values postmodernism gave rise to a traumatic sense of loss, which in turn created a need to find sources of solace and also of comparison – since trauma invites compassion for other forms of trauma, just as specific victims are more likely to feel compassion for other types of victim. And because the Victorian (rather than the modernist) period represents, phantasmally and mistakenly of course, the period before the fragmentation of the self and of the novel, it is toward the Victorian tradition that postmodernism turns as a source of comfort. Alternatively, it might be because the imperial losses and crises of Victorianism are still acute today that the contemporary arts ceaselessly return to and work through these unfinished traumas. Whatever the preferred explanation, the (re)integration of a historical comparative paradigm entails a return to ethics in the sense that the self constantly extends to the other. The rediscovery of the historical other as part of the contemporary self creates a sense of exhilaration, which conveys a new vitality to a new ethical form of postmodernism.

Restricted Access

Series:

Edited by Susana Onega and Christian Gutleben

Contemporary works of art that remodel the canon not only create complex, hybrid and plural products but also alter our perceptions and understanding of their source texts. This is the dual process, referred to in this volume as “refraction”, that the essays collected here set out to discuss and analyse by focusing on the dialectic rapport between postmodernism and the canon. What is sought in many of the essays is a redefinition of postmodernist art and a re-examination of the canon in the light of contemporary epistemology. Given this dual process, this volume will be of value both to everyone interested in contemporary art—particularly fiction, drama and film—and also to readers whose aim it is to promote a better appreciation of canonical British literature.
Restricted Access

Neo-Victorian Cities

Reassessing Urban Politics and Poetics

Series:

Edited by Marie-Luise Kohlke and Christian Gutleben

This volume explores the complex aesthetic, cultural, and memory politics of urban representation and reconfiguration in neo-Victorian discourse and practice. Through adaptations of traditional city tropes – such as the palimpsest, the labyrinth, the femininised enigma, and the marketplace of desire – writers, filmmakers, and city planners resurrect, preserve, and rework nineteenth-century metropolises and their material traces while simultaneously Gothicising and fabricating ‘past’ urban realities to serve present-day wants, so as to maximise cities’ potential to generate consumption and profits. Within the cultural imaginary of the metropolis, this volume contends, the nineteenth century provides a prominent focalising lens that mediates our apperception of and engagement with postmodern cityscapes. From the site of capitalist romance and traumatic lieux de mémoire to theatre of postcolonial resistance and Gothic sensationalism, the neo-Victorian city proves a veritable Proteus evoking myriad creative responses but also crystallising persistent ethical dilemmas surrounding alienation, precarity, Othering, and social exclusion.
Restricted Access

Neo-Victorian Tropes of Trauma

The Politics of Bearing After-Witness to Nineteenth-Century Suffering

Series:

Edited by Marie-Luise Kohlke and Christian Gutleben

This collection constitutes the first volume in Rodopi’s Neo-Victorian Series, which explores the prevalent but often problematic re-vision of the long nineteenth century in contemporary culture. Here is presented for the first time an extended analysis of the conjunction of neo-Victorian fiction and trauma discourse, highlighting the significant interventions in collective memory staged by the belated aesthetic working-through of historical catastrophes, as well as their lingering traces in the present. The neo-Victorian’s privileging of marginalised voices and its contestation of master-narratives of historical progress construct a patchwork of competing but equally legitimate versions of the past, highlighting on-going crises of existential extremity, truth and meaning, nationhood and subjectivity. This volume will be of interest to both researchers and students of the growing field of neo-Victorian studies, as well as scholars in memory studies, trauma theory, ethics, and heritage studies. It interrogates the ideological processes of commemoration and forgetting and queries how the suffering of cultural and temporal others should best be represented, so as to resist the temptations of exploitative appropriation and voyeuristic spectacle. Such precarious negotiations foreground a central paradox: the ethical imperative to bear after-witness to history’s silenced victims in the face of the potential unrepresentability of extreme suffering.