PERIPETEIA


                                                        A site for students studying English at 'A' Level/University. Discussion Forums and unique 
                                                  Online Seminars to build confidence, creativity, and individual analytical style.

Forums

Post Reply
Forum Home > The Gothic > Gothic monsters

Graeme Pedlingham
Member
Posts: 61
May 9, 2017 at 2:45 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Graeme Pedlingham
Member
Posts: 61

Degeneration became, in the late 19th century, a reasonable accepted perspective - with criminologist Cesare Lombroso really leading the charge.

May 9, 2017 at 2:46 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Tom Eastment
Member
Posts: 12

carly curry at May 9, 2017 at 2:42 PM

Graeme Pedlingham at May 9, 2017 at 2:40 PM

Apologies got booted...

Another would be The Picture of Dorian Gray, which has been suggested to reflect cultural anxieties around homosexuality (the so-called 'homosexual panic' of the 1890s)

 

 

Is Jekyll and Hyde not also about this. The 'shame' Jekyll feels which fuels him to create Hyde. Enfield coming home from "the end of the world" at three in the morning etc

This is certainly hinted due to Dr Jekyll's "gaiety of disposition" and the fact that he has to "conceal his pleasures" in order to protect his reputation.

May 9, 2017 at 2:46 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Graeme Pedlingham
Member
Posts: 61

Lombroso theorised that people inherited the 'moral' flaws of their parents, as well as diseases, etc. and each generation became iincreasingly 'inhuman' and animalistic (physically)

May 9, 2017 at 2:47 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Graeme Pedlingham
Member
Posts: 61

On J&H - absolutely this blurring could be argued, with Hyde (in a Freudian reading) representing a release of repressed desire...

May 9, 2017 at 2:48 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Graeme Pedlingham
Member
Posts: 61

Just by way of example, this is from one of Lombroso's books in which he identified particular physical characteristics with a propensity towards criminality: http://crimescandalspectacle.academic.wlu.edu/files/2014/04/criminal.jpg

May 9, 2017 at 2:49 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Graeme Pedlingham
Member
Posts: 61

I'd suggest that we can look at a large range of late-19th c gothic texts as reflecting this cultural anxiety (e.g. J&H), but also Dracula

May 9, 2017 at 2:51 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Griff
Member
Posts: 45

Was this a popular theory at the time? Would people have known about it?

May 9, 2017 at 2:51 PM Flag Quote & Reply

carly curry
Member
Posts: 29
So the next generation were equal to the portrait of Dorian?
May 9, 2017 at 2:51 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Graeme Pedlingham
Member
Posts: 61

e.g. the Count's hands are described as 'broad, with squat fingers. Strange to say, there were hairs in the centre of the palm. The nails were long and fine, and cut to a sharp point.' Which sits oddly with his capacity for sexual attraction (emphasis in later adaptations).

May 9, 2017 at 2:52 PM Flag Quote & Reply

carly curry
Member
Posts: 29

Graeme Pedlingham at May 9, 2017 at 2:48 PM

On J&H - absolutely this blurring could be argued, with Hyde (in a Freudian reading) representing a release of repressed desire...

The repression felt by Jekyll could parallel the repressive religion Stevenson endured during childhood
May 9, 2017 at 2:52 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Griff
Member
Posts: 45

The anti-semitic anxieties being portrayed through Count Dracula then?


May 9, 2017 at 2:53 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Graeme Pedlingham
Member
Posts: 61

Ultimately, Carly, yes - that was the fear. Lombroso suggested that to avoid the collapse of civilization, people with 'flaws' (which he defined) had to be prevented from reproducing... we can see how this line of thought leads into disturbing ideas of eugenics and racial profiling....

May 9, 2017 at 2:53 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Rob Marshall
Member
Posts: 56

Is this not the sort of thing that Twitchell (1996) meant: “Ironically, Dracula, the greatest vampire novel, is the work of literature that takes the vampire out of fiction and returns him to folklore”?

May 9, 2017 at 2:54 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Graeme Pedlingham
Member
Posts: 61

Absolutely - it has been argued that the Count is an anti-semitic figure, again linking to racial stereotypes prevalent at the time.

May 9, 2017 at 2:54 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Tom Eastment
Member
Posts: 12

Graeme Pedlingham at May 9, 2017 at 2:53 PM

Ultimately, Carly, yes - that was the fear. Lombroso suggested that to avoid the collapse of civilization, people with 'flaws' (which he defined) had to be prevented from reproducing... we can see how this line of thought leads into disturbing ideas of eugenics and racial profiling....

I'm interested to know - what did people make of Lombroso and his racial profiling? Was there a backlash at the time or were people in general consensus?

May 9, 2017 at 2:56 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Graeme Pedlingham
Member
Posts: 61

And degeneration was a very popular theory in the late 19th c (although quite widely discredited in medical circles) - it had a popular and populist appeal. Which is what I'd suggest many gothic authors are picking up on (partly with a commerical intention...!)

May 9, 2017 at 2:56 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Graeme Pedlingham
Member
Posts: 61

Interesting, Rob, to think abotut that idea - there is a connection to be made here. But we can also think of Dracula as being a threat to scientific progress (i.e. as an entity from folklore that defies science). Pitting the man of reason against the creature from myth, is one of characterising this.

May 9, 2017 at 2:58 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Griff
Member
Posts: 45

Victorians were also scared of the rise in female power. Can this be seen clearly anywhere in the gothic?

May 9, 2017 at 2:59 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Neil Bowen
Administrator
Posts: 837

Plenty of sources of fear for Victorian Gothic novelists - science, insights of what will become psychology, reverse colonisation, the New Woman, slum monsters...

May 9, 2017 at 3:00 PM Flag Quote & Reply

You must login to post.