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  1. #1
    Registered User Ponerology's Avatar
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    Question "Gothicized London" in horror... meanings anyone?

    So, looking at the modern 'gothicization' of London for a paper. I'm using King Rat, Neverwhere, King's short story Crouch End, Barker's The Midnight Train. Also casting about for graphic novels set in London in the urban gothic theme.

    BUT... querying the term 'gothicization'. Meaning the traditional themes- the grotesque, the repressed, the divided, the dark places, etc? Meaning the city as a place? The people? In the texts or in real life; in one as representing the other?

    This seems to be a really vague concept- the gothic itself is much contested, so when defining gothicization my brain rebelled, turned in a letter of 2 weeks notice and is now not really doing its job properly, because it's going on holiday soon anyway. Any other applicants?


  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Ponerology View Post
    So, looking at the modern 'gothicization' of London for a paper. I'm using King Rat, Neverwhere, King's short story Crouch End, Barker's The Midnight Train. Also casting about for graphic novels set in London in the urban gothic theme.

    BUT... querying the term 'gothicization'. Meaning the traditional themes- the grotesque, the repressed, the divided, the dark places, etc? Meaning the city as a place? The people? In the texts or in real life; in one as representing the other?

    This seems to be a really vague concept- the gothic itself is much contested, so when defining gothicization my brain rebelled, turned in a letter of 2 weeks notice and is now not really doing its job properly, because it's going on holiday soon anyway. Any other applicants?

    "Vague" is a pretty good word for it. You'll probably find my post pretty vague, too: I'm just tossing out ideas.

    Anyway, this 'gothicization' of London started quite awhile ago. You can find passages in Dickens (say, A Christmas Carol) that would be applicable. Also in the works of ghost story writers -- maybe Algernon Blackwood, if not others before him.

    More recently, besides the ones you mention, there are passages in the early part of the fantasy novel Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susannah Clarke that lean in this direction. The graphic novel From Hell by Alan Moore certainly applies. Indeed, most anything referencing or springing off of the Jack the Ripper murders would likely fit and J-the-R may be one of the major reasons for the portrayal of London as dark and dangerous; "The Hands of Mr. Ottermole" by Thomas Burke comes to mind as a short story springing from those murders and, along with his other Limehouse stories, portrays a certain section of London in rather Gothic terms. (Maybe a mystery like Marie Belloc Lowndes' The Lodger? Haven't read it, so I'm not sure if it fits or not.)

    Peter Ackroyd's Hawksmoor and several novels by Iain Sinclair might be worth looking into -- again, haven't read them, but I'm going by their reputations.

    One thing to consider: When approaching the Gothic at this point in time, I think you have to account for 'noir'. My own belief is that 'noir' as it developed from the late 1930s through the 1940s is an outgrowth of Gothic that in turn influences later deployment of Gothic settings, atmospherics and the like. I'm sorry, but I have to use a movie for an example to keep somewhere near the subject: Bedlam, a 1940s black & white film from RKO, produced by Val Lewton (pretty famous among film buffs) based on the mental institution of that name. It's shot in what was becoming the signature style of noir, dim lighting, lots of shadows, etc., but using sets for London and for the institution that may not in and of themselves be all that Gothic. To some degree, 'Gothic,' like noir may have as much or more to do with style and approach to a subject as with substance.


    Gotta go. If I think of anything more or rethink any of this, I'll touch it up later.

    Randy M.

  3. #3
    Registered User Ponerology's Avatar
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    Absolutely, journey through noir is essential in my opinion. Thank you for the advice

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