Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Gothic Reading Group Schedule, Autumn/Winter 2016

Sheffield Gothic presents:

Gothic Reading Group Schedule for 
Autumn/Winter 2016: 
‘But is it Gothic?’

We’ve done the classics, we’ve done performance, we've done themes- what next for the Gothic Reading Group? This semester we’ve decided to take our favourite question to heart. We’ll be looking at a series of texts that may not always be identified as Gothic, but contain familiar elements (or flavours)and conventions.

October 5th: Macbeth (2015)

We’re kicking off the new semester with a screening of Justin Kurzel’s 2015 film adaptation of the Scottish Play, starring Sheffield Gothic favourite Michael Fassbender in the titular role. Drawing on our previous focus on 17th century texts, such as Dr Faustus and The Revengers Tragedy, as ‘proto Gothic’ we’ll be discussing both the text itself and the films stylistic choices.


October 19th: The Handmaids Tale, Margaret Atwood

What more can there be to say about Atwood’s 1985 classic of speculative fiction, The Handmaids Tale? Well, lots hopefully. Perhaps more relevant than ever, (with a 10-part series on the way), we’ll be discussing the novel with particular focus on Atwood’s use of imagery and language as well its dystopian setting.

November 2nd: The ‘Cartoon Cartoons’ era

Anyone who was blessed with satellite or cable television in the 90’s may remember the days of Cartoon Cartoons: from the ‘upsetting when you think about it too much as an adult’ shows like The Powerpuff Girls and Dexter’s Laboratory to the ‘definitely traumatised me as a child’ likes of Cow and Chicken and I am Weasel. In a reliving of our childhoods that we’ll likely regret, we’ll be looking at a selection of cartoons from the 90’s and early 00’s through a Gothic lens.

Look into the cold unnatural whites of their dual-pupils and feel fear!

November 16th: Adventure Time

Since its appearance in 2010, Pendleton Ward’s Adventure Time has steadily become a global sensation. As the series’ has progressed it’s delved deeper into the workings of the weird and wonderful Land of Ooo and its origins as a - spoiler alert - post-apocalyptic wasteland. Whilst some elements are obviously Gothic- such as the show's main antagonist of The Lich and Marceline the Vampire Queen, daughter of a demon king- the shows exploration of morality, environmentalism, mental health and spirituality also tread arguably Gothic ground.

November 30th: The Blood of the Vampire, Florence Marryat

Okay, so we’ll admit: this one is definitely Gothic. We’ve been trying to sneak in this tale of a young woman of ‘unusual’ parentage, complete with voodoo and psychic vampirism, for some time. Marryat’s The Blood of the Vampire appeared the same year as Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) but takes a rather different route. The focus this session will be less ‘but it is it Gothic?’ and more ‘how is it Gothic?’

December 14th: Spirited Away (2001) 

For our final meeting of the semester, we’ll be screening Studio Ghibli’s Oscar award winning animated film Spirited Away. We’ll be asking ourselves about the relationship between the Gothic and the supernatural, but also the films engagement with the notion of greed. As we stuff our faces with cake, of course.

Pictured: typical Gothic Reading Group session

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