Gothic Literature at Large—October


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Photo Credit: weather.com

I love Fall. I love the food (who doesn’t like pumpkin everything?!) and, of course, for the focus on all things Gothic! Thanks to Halloween/All Souls Day/Dia De Los Muertos, things really ramp up all over the place once you get to October. This year, I even found some events happening in Kansas City! So, if you’re local and you love all things Gothic, then you are in for a treat. In this installment of Gothic Literature at Large, you can also find references to online exhibitions, articles and other things happening around the globe! As always, if you have/see an event/article/show/movie that would fit with this blog, please let me know and I’ll add it to the list for my next installment!

Articles

Farmer Creates ‘Pumpkinstein’ in Time for Halloween

A farmer in California has come up with an ingenious plan. Have you heard of farmers growing square-shaped watermelon in Japan? Well this guy took that idea to a whole new level. He created a mold of Frankenstein’s head and grew the pumpkins inside of the molds. What do you get? Pumpkinsteins of course!

I know this is only very vaguely related to Gothic literature. But it’s just plain awesome and it deserved a moment of recognition. Would you spend $75 or even $125 on a pumpkin this year? I’m not willing to shell out that kind of money on something that will rot away in a short time. Money issues aside, the concept is great and the farmer truly found an ingenious way to set himself apart in the world of Fall pumpkin sales.

Exhibitions/Events

Edgar Allan Poe in Music

Ok, this isn’t your traditional exhibition. It’s actually a concert. If you happen to be a Kansas City local and a lover of Edgar Allan Poe, then this may be the event for you. The Midwest Chamber Ensemble in conjunction with the chorus from William Jewell College is doing a concert inspired by Edgar Allan Poe on October 26th! Finally a local Gothic event I can attend!

Screenland at the Symphony: “Nosferatu”

The Kansas City Symphony is getting in on the Gothic literature vibe with an upcoming show on October 29th featuring the film Nosferatu. The film is accompanied by an organ. Tickets start at $20. I will definitely be putting this event on my calendar too!

Sublime Anxiety: Gothic Family and the Outsider

This is an exhibit that originally took place at the University of Virginia library from October 1998 to March 1999 and was then preserved online. At a first glance, the online exhibition seems to be an excellent overview of the Gothic genre. The exhibit is massive and covers topics from the Shelleys to vampires and the role of the outsider as the anti-hero. A particularly intriguing section of the exhibit is based around the “Northanger Canon” which involves the famous Gothic novel parody Northanger Abbey wherein one of the characters provides a list of what books she considers to be a part of the Gothic canon. I like this idea for an exhibit. It’s fun and playful.

The curator’s introduction is interesting and I learned from it that the famous group who hung about in a cabin in the woods telling ghost stories that led to the development of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein also included Polidori, the man who among literary scholars is credited with beginning the vampire craze with his early novel The Vampyre. According to the curator’s introduction, his story also came from that intriguing wintry rendezvous. This is an exhibit that I certainly plan on spending more time with as I search for inspiration. It would be great to have seen all of these works in person, but the idea of sitting at my computer and seeing images is a lot easier than spending the money to travel. If I had the money, I absolutely would, though.

Philadelphia Gothic Murders, Mysteries, Monsters and Mayhem Inspire American Fiction 1798 – 1854

This exhibition was put on by the Library Company of Philadelphia from October 2008 – April 2009 and is also now available online. This exhibit features the many Gothic stories that were set in the city of Philadelphia. It’s a really fun idea for an exhibit and is great for both Gothic lovers and for people who may not be familiar with the Gothic genre who are just natives or residents of the city. It’s a great way to appeal to people outside the normal circle. The authors featured in this exhibit are: George Lippard, Robert Montgomery Bird and Charles Brockden Brown. Brown is the man credited as being the first natural-born American Gothic writer. Depicted throughout the site are paintings of the authors and images of their works. Despite my extensive relationship with the genre, I am not the least bit familiar with Robert Montgomery Bird and his writing, so I am rather intrigued by this exhibit and am interested in learning more about this writer.

 

Television/Film

How to Get Away With Murder

I have been really looking forward to watching this show. I’m hopeful that once I finish moving, I will have time. You may be wondering how this show relates to Gothic literature. Well, in case you are, this is how. The growth of the Gothic genre led to the development of the murder or detective story. It can be argued, however, that murder stories are considered to be horror rather than Gothic. But, in my opinion, its progenitor is the same: Gothic literature. Plus, this show features a strong female lead and who doesn’t love a kick-ass woman in charge?


(I am reposting the information about the following movies which release this month.)

Dracula Untold

Okay so this forthcoming movie wanders way outside the realm of Bram Stoker’s tale. But I’m up for anything Gothic and I love to see how filmmakers warp and remake these old tales! I don’t usually give a lot of credit to the writers of movies for the titles that end up getting applied to films. But I actually really like this title and find it to be rather intriguing. See the trailer below if you haven’t checked it out yet. And also be on the lookout for a review of this film once it releases in the U.S. in October.

Gone Girl

Gone Girl is not distinctly Gothic, but it comes from the tradition of the detective story which IS inherently of the Gothic. Plus, Gillian Flynn is a native of Kansas City, so I have to pause and pay some props to her. If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it. I’m curious to see how the movie experience will be because it is one of those stories that has a such a surprise ending, you can’t really ever read it again because the twist was the whole point. How many people watched The Sixth Sense more than once? Why would you? I sure didn’t. So maybe recommending that you read the book before you see the movie isn’t such a great idea. Regardless, it’s a fantastic read and I am excited to see what they do with the movie. Here’s a peek at one of the trailers.

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