Sunday, September 14, 2008

Gothic

Danielle asked me what I thought about the Gothic a while back. Well I just found this neat quote from Judith Halberstam's "Skin Shows," where the argument is that the Gothic is a kind of transvestite genre that undermines notions of normalcy and "natural" with its costumey excess.

The quote: “Gothic novels try to condemn the perverted/monstrous, but seem inextricably obsessed with the monstrous - & in the few moments that they are allowed to part – they show the constructedness of monstrosity, undermining the separation all together…”

This seems to fit David Lynch's films pretty perfectly. I just wrote an essay about Lynch for an anthology where I argue that all his films are warnings about the dangers of art.

4 Comments:

Blogger Jeremy Stewart said...

Love to read your essay sometime. I had a dream in 1999 that David Lynch and I were on a rollercoaster together and that he was a frightening oracle telling me that the real meaning of the second commandment is that thou shalt not perceive life where there is none. So that eerie feeling that photographs are looking at you that one perhaps sometimes feels is strictly verboten. Maybe.

But I am just observing that my dream agrees with your thesis. So if possible, I'd like to see the arguments.

11:55 PM  
Blogger Johannes said...

Yes, I think your dream would fit nicely with my essay.

My essay is also partly based on an Aaron Kunin essay about the decoration and cruelty (forthcoming in Modernism/Modernity)) in which he discusses "The Yellow Wallpaper" which suddenly struck me as incredibly Lynchian (except in Lynch it's more velvet curtains and zigzag floor patterns) and behind it you find the dopenganger.

6:34 AM  
Blogger angela said...

Oh, yes! When will the essay/anthology become available, Johannes?

I've also had several dreams about David Lynch, one of the few "public personas" that have ever appeared in my dreams. In one of them, an editor for whom I used to work was embodied as an evil BOB-ish killer, who had put Laura Palmer's blue head, as if it were a wig mannequin head, in a transparent glass box -- some kind of macabre exhibit.

Obviously, in a Jungian interpretation of this, "the editor" is an aspect of myself, as is the head of Laura Palmer. ("Bring me the head of Laura Palmer!")

"Boxing Angela"...

This also definitely fits in with your premise!

8:08 PM  
Blogger Johannes said...

I'm not sure when the book is coming out, I just handed the essay in. Probably it will be a while, but I will announce it on this website.

5:36 AM  

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