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Alternative title: Writing Death and the Gothic
Issue Details: First known date: 2016... no. 35 October 2016 of TEXT Special Issue est. 2000 TEXT Special Issue Website Series
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Contents

* Contents derived from the 2016 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Writing Death and the Gothic, Donna Lee Brien , Lorna Piatti-Farnell , single work essay
'Despite being imaged all around us in writing, popular culture and the media, death and dying are, it often seems, the last taboo subjects in modern society. This special issue of TEXT brings together a series of articles on the topic of ‘Writing death and the Gothic’, many of which have been developed from papers presented at the inaugural Australasian Death Studies Network conference, which was held in Noosa, Queensland, in October 2015. This one-day multi-disciplinary conference brought together discussion and investigation from a range of cultural, humanities and social areas that consider death and dying, including creative arts, popular culture, health and community planning. One of the editors of this special issue, Lorna Piatti-Farnell, opened the conference with a keynote speech entitled ‘The Politics of Undying: Vampire Genetics and the Cultural Politics of Immortality’. Through an analysis of health and disease, life and death, mortality and immortality, Piatti-Farnell’s presentation enquired into the representation of the vampire in contemporary fiction, showing how, in an era dominated by scientific experimentation and technological advances, the undying nature of the vampiric body unveils underlying concerns about the current state of humanity − in physical, conceptual, and political terms. This keynote speech set the tone for the conference, and prompted many points of reference and engaged discussion.' (Introduction)
This Phantom Gibbet : Writing Through/as Melancholy, Ross Watkins , single work criticism
'In Black Sun: Depression and Melancholia (1989), Julia Kristeva suggests that melancholy – an experience of ‘object loss’ (effectively, when a sign fails to correspond to its meaning, as established by Freud) – is a language which requires learning in order for this state of being (or ‘nonbeing’) to be understood. Melancholy affect, Kristeva argues, can thus be transposed into art where the ‘symbolic’ is represented through the ‘sign’; she states: ‘Artifice, as sublime meaning for and on behalf of the underlying, implicit nonbeing replaces the ephemeral’ (Kristeva 1989: 99). In other words, in the experience of ‘object loss’ we look toward the imagination and the construction of signs to fill the void and make meaning – absence evoked by a presence. Accepting these ideas, this paper explores the paradoxical nature of narrative writing (via poetry by Keats, memoir by Malouf, and fiction by Banville) as a process which not only removes the melancholic from the object of their experience, but constructs a container for the melancholy object, to which the writer is inherently bound.' (Publication abstract)
Death as a Threshold : Being with a Person as They Are Dying, Kathryn Trees , single work criticism
Dead Men Can Talk : Voicing the Dead in Crime Fiction, Leanne Dodd , single work criticism
'Death is frequently the defining event and consequently an indispensable presence, in most crime fiction narratives. Historically, death in crime fiction is embodied in graphic descriptions of the crime scene and the corpse. In an age of significant advances in technology and unlimited access to information, there has been a shift in the sympathies of readers who want to comprehend not only what death looks like, but also what death feels like through the voice of the victim. Traditionally used as a plot device to initiate the detection and investigation of the crime, the corpse has undergone a resurrection that imposes upon the body its own narrative as a means to explore modern social and cultural anxieties surrounding death. Examining the work of crime writers throughout the history of the genre, this paper investigates the representation of death and the dead body’s changing purpose within the narrative of crime fiction. Various narrative strategies are identified that inform writers how to engage their intended audience in a conversation with the dead. Considering these in conjunction with trauma theory illuminates how crime writers may assuage some of the cultural taboos and anxieties around death while enhancing the appeal of their crime fiction.' (Publication abstract)
Confronting the Dark : Using Practice-led Research to Write about Death, Karen M. Klima , single work essay
'In this article, I describe how my personal experience of death prompted the writing of a novel and how the practice of writing about death led me to develop a critical inquiry into Continental philosophy and other theories of death. I discuss philosophical approaches to living authentically in the face of death and the human tendency to search for meaning. I undertake a close reading of Helen Garner’s The Spare Room (2008) in light of these issues and the changing attitudes to death since modernism, particularly the need for open communication about death and the importance for the dying in feeling that their life has significance for other people.' (Publication abstract)
Deaths That Wound : The Traumatic Potential of Ghost Stories, Samuel Finegan , single work criticism
'Trauma presents any writer with difficulties. Trauma lays outside the realm of representation, by definition something that cannot be expressed and that lies beyond ordinary means of recollection and representation. This article examines the close relationship that exists between trauma and ghost fiction. It highlights the potential ghost fictions, as a form of writing about death, offer writers as translators of historical and social trauma. By reading ghost fiction in tandem with scholarship on trauma fiction and autobiographical trauma writing, the article demonstrates how ghost fiction both prefigures a narrative understanding of memory and history in trauma studies, dramatizes some of the processes and risks of first and second party engagement with trauma and offers a unique opportunity to approach, interrogate and alleviate trauma from the outside. In short, ghost fiction enables creative interventions in social and historical memory not by offering realist ‘precise data’, but by ‘speaking for the ones who did not return’.' (Publication abstract)
Dead or Alive? : The Animism of Artefact in Literature, Jay Kylie Ludowyke , single work criticism
'Writers commonly use animism to transform inanimate objects into assertive ‘things’, in possession of metaphysical qualities. In theorising the effects of applying literary animism to a real historical artefact, this study asserts that once enlivened, an artefact can die twice. It dies once with its real-world destruction and a second time when that destruction echoes through its literary thingness. The discussion is framed by examining the history of literary animism. This includes the eighteenth-century itnarrative with animal and object narrators, the transition to children’s literature, and the resistance to animism that accompanies modern fiction, in this case, particularly Joanne Harris’s Blackberry Wine. Further, it examines the alignment that has emerged between children’s literature and true story as a basis for applying animism to artefacts in nonfiction, facilitating their dual-death.' (Publication abstract)
Making Stories of Our Own Ends : Two Australian Memoirs of Dying, Donna Lee Brien , single work criticism
'An increasing number of end-of-life memoirs have been published over the past two decades. A number of these by American and British authors have received considerable notice and acclaim. There are, however, also a number of book-length published memoirs written by Australian narrators whose texts narrate their own dying. Despite achieving a measure of popularity with readers, few of these Australian works have been explored in detail or categorised as a discrete sub-set of the autobiographical memoir in Australia. This article discusses two Australian memoirs, Dying: A Memoir by Donald Horne and Myfanwy Horne (2007) and Dying: A Memoir by Cory Taylor (2016). Examining these texts contributes to understanding of both this revealing autobiographical practice and practices of writing and publishing popular memoir in Australia more generally. They also add to knowledge of the way individuals face, and deal with, the prospect of their own impending ends.' (Publication abstract)
The Excess of Life and Death in Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 and Horacio Castellanos Moya’s Senselessness, Mark Piccini , single work criticism
'This paper examines two novels, both published in 2004 and later translated into English: 2666 by Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño and Senselessness by HonduranSalvadoran writer Horacio Castellanos Moya. Bolaño and Castellanos Moya write death and dying as a global concern and place readers in the global North at the centre of events that happened, or are happening, in the South. This paper argues that 2666 and Senselessness express the human potential in desire for, and to create, excess, universalising guilt against a tendency to contextualise or localise events of mass murder in Central and South America. Both novels represent death and dying while expressing an uncanny excess of life at the level of form and content. Bolaño and Castellanos Moya bombard the reader with the details of crimes and harrowing witness testimonies in their novels, but deny the reader closure or the ability to mourn the dead. Instead, the excess of life traces a void that, according to French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan and others, is at the centre of the subject of desire. It is at the level of desire that we can locate ourselves in both novels and understand our part in the events of mass murder their writers narrate.' (Publication abstract)
‘The Wolf Bane Is Blooming Again’ : Gothic Desire in R. H. Morrieson’s The Scarecrow, Erin Mercer , single work criticism
'R.H. Morrieson’s fiction has received little scholarly analysis in New Zealand, but when it has, it has been common to consider it as part of a tradition emerging during the middle decades of the twentieth century that sought new modes of writing with which to best express the realities of a post-World War II world. Peter Simpson argues that as a post-provincial novel, Morrieson’s The Scarecrow (1963) ‘turns the typical pattern of provincial fiction – sympathetic individual versus hostile society – upside down. The isolated individual – the Scarecrow – is viewed as a threat to the community from outside’ (1982: 59). Yet the pattern that Simpson notes here as belonging to the post-provincial novel belongs to another mode of fiction: the Gothic, which frequently involves a communal effort to vanquish an evil threat, such as in Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897). By considering The Scarecrow as a Gothic novel, post-provincial writing in New Zealand can be seen as not just building on a local tradition of literary realism, but as engaging with a popular international tradition as well.'' (Publication abstract)
Writing Murder: Elements of Gothic Horror in Matthew Milat’s ‘meat Axe’, Nicole Anae , single work criticism
'Eighteen-year-old Matthew Stephen Milat, the grand-nephew of convicted serial-killer Ivan Milat, wrote a series of poems while in custody for the murder of seventeen-yearold David Auchterlonie in 2010 in the Belanglo State Forest, New South Wales; the same bushland in which Milat’s great-uncle had killed seven backpackers throughout the 1990s. Matthew Milat’s choice to narrate the aftermath of David Auchterlonie’s murder in the genre of poetry quite literally draws this form of writing about death, specifically from the perspective of a real-life teen-killer, toward the macabre fringes of literary and popular culture. This examination of Milat’s verse-writing – ‘Your Last Day,’ ‘Cold Life,’ and ‘Killer Looks And On Evil Side’ – situates an analysis of his poetry against the broader journalistic trend to write the nature of Milat’s crime utilizing elements of both the Gothic family tradition and the monstrous. Shared blood-ties between great-uncle and grand-nephew provided a rich site in framing the perverse convergence of heredity and monstrosity within the teen-killer/serial-killer narrative. In the absence of Gothic literary tradition focussing attention on this form of poetry – by a teen-killer, by a teenkiller with blood ties to a convicted serial-killer – this examination of Matthew Milat’s verse-writing also aims to offer a contribution to this scholarship while simultaneously tracing the contemporary emergence of the Gothic into new sites as an idiosyncratic form of writing murder by a real-life adolescent killer.' (Publication abstract)
Morgue Porn: Writing a Female Gaze in Forensic Television, Toni Risson , single work criticism
'Crime fiction enjoys lasting popularity but in recent decades writers across a range of media have turned their attention to the dark heart of crime fiction – forensic investigation. Advances in forensic technologies, clinical psychology, and computer generated imagery gave rise to new developments in the genre from the late 1990s that caused its popularity to escalate, particularly forensic television drama, where viewers are increasingly invited into the morgue to peer over the shoulder of the pathologist at the body on the slab. A survey of the new generation of forensic detective programmes that began with the debut of CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) in 2000 reveals that a disproportionate number of television pathologists are female. Writing these female pathologists contests the passivity of female characters in traditional crime drama and, crucially, accommodates a female gaze. While this appears to erode dominant representations of gender, in the case of CSI, the increased visibility of women in tandem with its quasi-educational style masks an even deeper level of objectification of women, and what might once have been viewed as R or even X-rated is presented on primetime television as edutainment. This analysis draws on film theory to situate CSI within the violent misogyny in some contemporary crime fiction writing more generally.' (Publication abstract)
‘If the Sky Should Fall’ : An Exploration of How a Novella Can Portray the Grief of Bereavement from a Comparative Worldviews Perspective, Belinda Hopper , single work essay
'This article discusses my research into how our worldview shapes our experience of grief and loss in relation to death and dying and how, using the methodology of practice-led research, I wrote a novella, ‘If the sky should fall’. The purpose of the novella is to explore grief from a comparative perspective of Atheism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism and New Age spirituality, and to explore worldviews through the lens of grief. The novella was submitted as my creative artefact for the degree of Masters of Creative Arts, Creative Writing, at the University of the Sunshine Coast.' (Publication abstract)
Writing Death : a Personal Essay, Irene Waters , single work essay
Searching for Missing Graves : the Agony and the Ecstasy, Bambi Ward , single work essay
Two Neat Boxes, Amy Bennett , single work prose
Crypts of Making, Dominique Hecq , single work prose
Clay Lips and Love, Julia Prendergast , single work prose
Exhuming Voices : Repurposing Historical Texts for Fiction Narratives, Denise Beckton , single work essay

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

Writing Death and the Gothic Donna Lee Brien , Lorna Piatti-Farnell , 2016 single work essay
— Appears in: TEXT Special Issue Website Series , October no. 35 2016;
'Despite being imaged all around us in writing, popular culture and the media, death and dying are, it often seems, the last taboo subjects in modern society. This special issue of TEXT brings together a series of articles on the topic of ‘Writing death and the Gothic’, many of which have been developed from papers presented at the inaugural Australasian Death Studies Network conference, which was held in Noosa, Queensland, in October 2015. This one-day multi-disciplinary conference brought together discussion and investigation from a range of cultural, humanities and social areas that consider death and dying, including creative arts, popular culture, health and community planning. One of the editors of this special issue, Lorna Piatti-Farnell, opened the conference with a keynote speech entitled ‘The Politics of Undying: Vampire Genetics and the Cultural Politics of Immortality’. Through an analysis of health and disease, life and death, mortality and immortality, Piatti-Farnell’s presentation enquired into the representation of the vampire in contemporary fiction, showing how, in an era dominated by scientific experimentation and technological advances, the undying nature of the vampiric body unveils underlying concerns about the current state of humanity − in physical, conceptual, and political terms. This keynote speech set the tone for the conference, and prompted many points of reference and engaged discussion.' (Introduction)
Writing Death and the Gothic Donna Lee Brien , Lorna Piatti-Farnell , 2016 single work essay
— Appears in: TEXT Special Issue Website Series , October no. 35 2016;
'Despite being imaged all around us in writing, popular culture and the media, death and dying are, it often seems, the last taboo subjects in modern society. This special issue of TEXT brings together a series of articles on the topic of ‘Writing death and the Gothic’, many of which have been developed from papers presented at the inaugural Australasian Death Studies Network conference, which was held in Noosa, Queensland, in October 2015. This one-day multi-disciplinary conference brought together discussion and investigation from a range of cultural, humanities and social areas that consider death and dying, including creative arts, popular culture, health and community planning. One of the editors of this special issue, Lorna Piatti-Farnell, opened the conference with a keynote speech entitled ‘The Politics of Undying: Vampire Genetics and the Cultural Politics of Immortality’. Through an analysis of health and disease, life and death, mortality and immortality, Piatti-Farnell’s presentation enquired into the representation of the vampire in contemporary fiction, showing how, in an era dominated by scientific experimentation and technological advances, the undying nature of the vampiric body unveils underlying concerns about the current state of humanity − in physical, conceptual, and political terms. This keynote speech set the tone for the conference, and prompted many points of reference and engaged discussion.' (Introduction)
Last amended 14 Nov 2016 11:36:16
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