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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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Kingdom of shadows

Kingdom of shadows

fin-de-siècle gothic and early cinema

(p.29) 3 Kingdom of shadows
Monstrous media/spectral subjects

Paul Foster

Manchester University Press

In Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992), Dracula visits the cinematograph upon arrival in London, made plausible by setting the scene in the year of the novel's publication, 1897. The film forcefully reminds us that Dracula and cinema are contemporaneous; fin-de-siècle Gothic and cinema emerge concurrently because they are produced out of the same cultural, social and historical forces. Supernatural claims were made on behalf of cinematic technology: ‘death will no longer be final’, concluded one account of the Lumière Cinématographe premiere. Less enamoured reporters described the new medium in strange and spectral, even deathly, terms; most famously perhaps, Maxim Gorky: ‘Last night I was in the Kingdom of Shadows…’. But if there was something ‘Gothic’ about emergent cinema, there was something ‘cinematic’ about the resurgent Gothic. This chapter identifies and analyses proto-filmic elements in works by Stevenson, Wilde, Wells and Stoker.

Keywords:   Kingdom of shadows, Fin-de-siècle Gothic, Early cinema, Cinematograph, Proto-filmic

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