An urgent volume of essays engages the Gothic to advance important perspectives on our geological era
What can the Gothic teach us about our current geological era? More than just spooky, moonlit castles and morbid graveyards, the Gothic represents a vibrant, emergent perspective on the Anthropocene. In this volume, more than a dozen scholars move beyond longstanding perspectives on the Anthropocene—such as science fiction and apocalyptic narratives—to show that the Gothic offers a unique (and dark) interpretation of events like climate change, diminished ecosystems, and mass extinction.
Embracing pop cultural phenomena like True Detective, Jaws, and Twin Peaks, as well as topics from the New Weird and prehistoric shark fiction to ruin porn and the “monstroscene,” Dark Scenes from Damaged Earth demonstrates the continuing vitality of the Gothic while opening important new paths of inquiry. These essays map a genealogy of the Gothic while providing fresh perspectives on the ongoing climate chaos, the North/South divide, issues of racialization, dark ecology, questions surrounding environmental justice, and much more.
Contributors: Fred Botting, Kingston U; Timothy Clark, U of Durham; Rebecca Duncan, Linnaeus U; Michael Fuchs, U of Oldenburg, Germany; Esthie Hugo, U of Warwick; Dawn Keetley, Lehigh U; Laura R. Kremmel, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology; Timothy Morton, Rice U; Barry Murnane, U of Oxford; Jennifer Schell, U of Alaska Fairbanks; Lisa M. Vetere, Monmouth U; Sara Wasson, Lancaster U; Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock, Central Michigan U.
Introduction: Gothic in the Anthropocene
Part I. Anthropocene
1. The Anthropocene
Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock
2. De-extinction: A Gothic Masternarrative for the Anthropocene
3. Lovecraft vs. VanderMeer: Posthuman Horror (and Hope?) in the Zone of Exception
4. Monstrous Megalodons of the Anthropocene: Extinction and Adaptation in Prehistoric Shark Fiction, 1974–2018
5. A Violence “Just below the Skin”: Atmospheric Terror and Racial Ecologies from the African Anthropocene
Part II. Plantationocene
6. Horrors of the Horticultural: Charles Brockden Brown’s Wieland and the Landscapes of the Anthropocene
Lisa M. Vetere
7. True Detective’s Folk Gothic
8. Beyond the Slaughterhouse: Anthropocene, Animals, and Gothic
Justin D. Edwards
Part III. Capitalocene
9. Gothic in the Capitalocene: World-Ecological Crisis, Decolonial Horror, and the South African Postcolony
10. Overpopulation: The Human as Inhuman
11. Digging Up Dirt: Reading the Anthropocene through German Romanticism
12. Got a Light? The Dark Currents of Energy in Twin Peaks: The Return
Timothy Morton and Rune Graulund
Part IV. Chthulucene
13. The Anthropocene Within: Love and Extinction in M. R. Carey’s The Girl with All the Gifts and The Boy on the Bridge
14. Rot and Recycle: Gothic Eco-burial
Laura R. Kremmel
15. Erotics and Annihilation: Caitlín R. Kiernan, Queering the Weird, and Challenges to the “Anthropocene”
Justin D. Edwards is professor of English and chair in Gothic studies at the University of Stirling. He is author of, most recently, Tropical Gothic in Literature and Culture: The Americas and coeditor of B-Movie Gothic: International Perspectives.
Rune Graulund is associate professor in American literature and culture at the Center for American Studies and director of the research cluster Anthropocene Aesthetics at the University of Southern Denmark. He is coauthor of Grotesque and Mobility at Large: Globalization, Textuality, and Innovative Travel Writing.
Johan Höglund is professor of English at Linnaeus University. He is coeditor of B-Movie Gothic: International Perspectives and Nordic Gothic.
"All of the essays connect the subjective potency of the texts under discussion — the affects and moods that they inspire in the reader or viewer — to the ways that such works also give us a deeper understanding of the ongoing ecological transactions that are putting our very existence at risk. Dark Scenes from Damaged Earth both reclaims the gothic as an urgently relevant mode of fiction-making and suggests that aesthetic approaches are able to bring us a kind of understanding that scientific studies on their own could not."—Los Angeles Review of Books
"It is impossible for me to do complete justice to this book in a review, but I will say that the sixteen essays included in it are all illuminating, thoughtful, and interesting."—Gothic Wanderer