Archive for October, 2012


Shakespeare’s Curse

“Don’t even think about it, punk”

Happy Halloween!

Inscribed on Shakespeare’s gravestone is the following:

Good frend for Jesus sake forebeare,/ To digg the dust encloased heare;/ Bleste be the man that spares thes stones,/ And curst be he that moves my bones

I’ve just completed a draft for an edited collection on burial sites in Renaissance poetry, and given the occassion it seems appropriate to meditate for a moment on some Gothic epigrams.

My personal favourite is the oft quoted line from Lovecraft:

That is not dead which can eternal lie. And with strange aeons even death may die. 

And here is an interesting one from Walpole himself:

This world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel

This one from Poe doesn’t really qualify as an epigram, but I think it is cool anyway:

That the play is the tragedy “Man,” And its hero the Conqueror Worm.

Happy Halloween once again, and remember:

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn


CHE Research Weekend

I’m heading to Adelaide for the better part of next week to participate in a research panel / collaboratory organised by the  Centre For the History of Emotions.

It will be a great opportunity to workshop some ideas and to acquire some feedback from a group of seasoned academics. Hopefully this will shed more light onto possible methodologies, sources and approaches in examining the representation of emotions in early modern verse.

The personal challenge for me is to accomplish the following within 5 minutes:

– Explaining my thesis topic

– Identifying and elucidating the relevance of my topic to the study of emotions

– Breaking the monotony

This last point, to me, is one of the most important. Because each researcher is only given 5 minutes to talk about their interests, my presentation will basically be structured as a “Three Minute Thesis Challenge“.

Challenge Accepted!


“Timeless” Shakespeare

Read an interesting article on Shakespeare last week. This of course, was telling me something I already knew. But it is interesting to see how misunderstood Shakespeare still is in this day and age, even amongst schoolteachers who, really should know better than to call his work “timeless”.

Unless “timeless” is preceded with the necessary caveats, of course.

Yes, at this point of time he is revered as one of the most outstanding dramatists/poets of all time. He might be a household name now, but he certainly did not mean for that to be the case. This image says it all:

Why would the man move from the country to the city? How would the man have paid his rent? Shakespeare has been described as an author who possessed an uncanny flair for tapping into the subtle nuances of the human condition, but why was that so? He had to – it was a sure-fire way of reaching out to audiences so as to fill up as many seats as he could in the theatres!

To really know how the Bard meant for his work to be received, we only have to look at the publication history of his plays. The only reason why his plays survive today is due to the efforts of two of his colleagues, Heminges and Condell. These two gentlemen took it upon themselves to compile his work, and if not for their efforts, Shakespeare would never have been regarded as the cultural icon we know him as today.

This tells us something.

The fact that Shakespeare did not bother to take his plays to a publisher suggests one thing to us: that he really did not care about them enough to regard them as literary works! The plays were printed and circulated, but never by a major publisher.

Shakespeare wrote to entertain! Not to sell books (at least as far as his plays are concerned)! Thus, the contemporary equivalent of studying Shakespeare’s plays would be studying the oeuvre of a film director such as Martin Scorsese or Quentin Tarantino. Like these directors, Shakespeare wrote for the purposes of entertainment.

And he did really well.


Gothic Association of New Zealand and Australia: Conference 2013

Unfortunately I will not be able to attend this conference next year due to funding constraints. Here’s a link for anyone who might be interested.


International Gothic Association Biennial Conference 2013

Just placed a post on H Net and the Upenn notice boards. I am seeking a collaborative effort in creating a panel for the IGA conference in 2013. Hit me up if you are interested in swapping notes/collaborating on this panel!

The International Gothic Association is holding its Biennial Conference in August 2013, with Roger Luckhurst and Fred Botting as confirmed keynote speakers. Details of the conference are as follows:

The origins of science fiction narratives that have artifacts as a central premise, Gary Wolfe (2011) proposes, has its roots in the Gothic tradition. But artifacts are more than just a mainstay of science fiction narratives; they feature prominently in many Gothic works. Examples are Jacobs’ “Monkey’s Paw”, Poe’s “Oblong Box” and “Amontillado’s Cask”, Lovecraft’s infamous Necronomicon, and to a certain extent, Dracula’s casket.

I am looking to form a panel that looks at the significance of artifacts in the Gothic tradition. In line with the conference theme of “Gothic Technologies”, I am interested in the significance of how artifacts contribute to a Gothic aesthetic. How do these objects function in narratives of terror? Is it possible to come up with a “taxonomy” of the Gothic object?

If this topic suits your research interests and if you have an interest in forming a collaborative panel for the conference, feel free to touch base at (yes, that is beyond without an e) and we can work something out.


Using his own blood, New York artist paints “Resurrection” exhibit

Interesting article about a man who paints with his own blood.

'horror': Middle English: via Old French from Latin horror, from horrere ‘tremble, shudder’.

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