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Monstrous media/spectral subjectsImaging gothic fictions from the nineteenth century to the present$
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Fred Botting and Catherine Spooner

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780719089770

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719089770.001.0001

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Gothic wars – media’s lust

Gothic wars – media’s lust

on the cultural afterlife of the war dead

(p.15) 2 Gothic wars – media’s lust
Monstrous media/spectral subjects

Elisabeth Bronfen

Manchester University Press

This chapter illustrates the interconnection between representations of war and Gothic imaginary. It presents a reading of WWI poetry in conjunction with George Romero's Diary of the Dead (2007), Ambrose Bierce's Gothic description of his Civil War experience and the American military involvement in the Caribbean. Romero's distinctively self-referential style is read as a reflection of the monstrosity of the cinematic medium itself, conjoining on the thematic level the return of soldiers as zombies and on the extradiegetic level a visual language returning both as spectral bodies on screen. The war zone is depicted as a realm between life and death, as though the Gothic mode were the only way the truth can be told in a situation of catastrophe. The zombie, poised in this space, functions as a trope used to confront us with the ethical crisis raised by a ubiquity of digital images at the beginning of the 21st century.

Keywords:   Gothic and war, WW1 poetry, Zombies, George Romero, Diary of the Dead, Ambrose Bierce, Digital imaging

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