Weekend Classes 21st/22nd August

This week we’re joined by two new expert speakers to talk about two very different topics related to the Gothic and horror! You can sign up here

On Saturday, Mitra will be returning to give us a talk on ‘Genetics in Horror’

In cinematic and literary horror, the topic of genetics has been used to great effect to represent a powerful force of nature that eludes our command. This class will address the dramatic potential of genetics that stems from the sense of destiny created by the immense, undeniable importance of our genomes, chafing against our utter inability to change these biological ‘cookbooks’ – under normal circumstances. In horror, genes can be used to explore intergenerational relations, serving as a tool to show how children escape the full control of their parents. Genes may embody desirable or undesirable traits of a character, of their partner, or of their ancestors, which the character had hoped to promote or suppress in their offspring. Mutation, one of the primary forces of evolution, can serve as an especially vivid showcase for the unpredictability of inheritance. Additionally, because your genome is unique, and because your genome is also a technically quantifiable dataset, the field of horror has probed anxieties about the genome when viewed as a cut-and-dried, replicable representation of your personal identity. Furthermore, horror can reflect unease about developments in real-life genetic research: fictional advances in genetic understanding often depict an ‘unnatural’ thwarting of destiny and an ominous expedition into the realm of ‘forbidden knowledge’, including the blurring of human and non-human identities.

Splice (film) - Wikipedia

On Sunday we’re joined by Helen Oliver will be talking about ‘Every Brutal Choice has Elegance, Grace: Decoding Dress in NBC’s Hannibal

NBC’s Hannibal has a distinctive visual style in a class of its own. This distinctiveness extends to the wardrobe choices, which are not only carefully selected for characterization by costume designer Christopher Hargadon, but are a communicative textual element in their own right, deserving of as much attention as the dialogue, acting, cinematography and soundtrack. The costumes of NBC’s Hannibal not only foreground elements of the wearers’ characterization, but encode an internally consistent symbolic system that signals their state of mind, both in individual scenes and overall character arcs. While this symbolic system incorporates some intertextual allusion, it is decodable by anyone familiar with early 21st century Western popular culture and an interest in the filmography of the cast. In this presentation, I will explain the symbolic meanings of the colours and patterns used in the costumes of NBC’s Hannibal.

Hannibal TV Series Fan Art: Hannibal + clothes | Hannibal tv series,  Hannibal suit, Mads mikkelsen

Published by SamHirst

This started off as a story blog to share the little fictions that I like to write but it's turned into something a bit more Goth! I'm Dr Sam Hirst and I research the Gothic, theology and romance and at the moment I'm doing free Gothic classes online! We also have readalongs, watchalongs and reading groups. And I post fun little Gothic bits when I have the chance. Find me on twitter @RomGothSam

2 thoughts on “Weekend Classes 21st/22nd August

  1. What I find particularly intriguing in terms of Gothic genetics is the temporal allusions carried. To be fair, I am a bit biased (I did my PhD on Gothic temporality), but I’d argue there are clearly temporal elements in Gothic genetics, in a Hegelian, synthetic manner: the fusion of past (one only nominally “past”) and a probabilistic future, through the charged temporal figure of the creation, which, really, stands for a vague, eternal present.

    If we think of the child as a symbol in the Gothic (from “children” like Frankenstein’s creation to children in modern horror narratives; The Exorcist and The Shining come to mind), then what we have is a personification of the ambiguous area between past and future; a linkage (that, like all linkages, both separates and unites) between the old and the new. I mean, children carry the past within them; literally (as the continuation of the parents’ genetic code) as well as metaphorically, as the continuation of cultural, social, or simply family tradition.


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