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210 × 148 × 12 mm
176 pages
30 illustrations
01 Nov 2006

Contemporary Gothic Catherine Spooner

Gothic images pervade contemporary culture, from popular interior decorating programmes to news stories of vampire-obsessed killers. Darkness and unease have never been more fashionable, as the media repeatedly proclaims that ‘Gothic is back’, heralding its influence in film, music, style and popular culture. Contemporary Gothic seeks to analyse this trend. Why is Gothic perennially undergoing revival? What is its role in modern consumer culture? And is its popularity – or its usefulness – drawing to an end?

Contemporary Gothic provides a sustained investigation of the role of Gothic in contemporary culture, from Buffy to Britart, theme pubs to advertising. It explores a wide range of recent material, including consumer products, fashion, fiction, film and art, within the context of a centuries-old literary and cultural tradition. Gothic walks a narrow line between comfort and outrage, mass popularity and cult appeal, the grotesque and the incorporeal, authentic self-expression and camp performance. Its very contradictions, Catherine Spooner argues, have made it so adaptable to contemporary concerns.

Inventive and accessibly written, the book will appeal to students and academics researching Gothic across a wide range of disciplines, as well as general readers with an interest in the darker side of film, TV and fiction.

‘Why wont Goth die? In Contemporary Gothic, Catherine Spooner performs a critical vivisection of the Goth subculture aesthetic to isolate the reasons why it eternally resurfaces in marginal and mainstream contemporary culture. Cutting through the subcultures conventions and clichés, Spooner examines Goths roots in the gothic literary tradition while deftly deconstructing some of the more visible examples of Gothic pervasiveness . . . Spooner also eloquently demonstrates that even commercially marketed and consumed Goth culture provides a vital intelligent, critical counterpoint to the pop, sparkle and giggle of mass popular culture.’ — Art Review

‘. . . if youre prepared to absorb more pop-cultural references than a Joss Whedon screenplay and youve always wondered what Nick Cave has in common with Corrie, then this is the set text for you.’ — SFX Magazine

‘engaging and accessible throughout . . . Spooners book offers a fascinating cultural snapshot of where Gothic is at . . .’ — Cultural Sociology

Contemporary Gothic is both scholarly and engaging Spooner ably synthesizes critical work on the gothic of the past to generate a definition of its form and function at the present moment, and to shed light on the many corners of the culture in which we can catch the gothic lurking.’ — Journal of American Cultures

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Catherine Spooner is Professor in Literature and Culture at Lancaster University. She is the author of Fashioning Gothic Bodies (2004).