Dark Scenes from Damaged Earth

The Gothic Anthropocene

2022

Justin D. Edwards, Rune Graulund, and Johan Höglund, Editors

An urgent volume of essays engages the Gothic to advance important perspectives on our geological era

More than just spooky, moonlit castles and morbid graveyards, the Gothic represents a vibrant, emergent perspective on the Anthropocene. In this volume, more than a dozen scholars show that the Gothic offers a unique (and dark) interpretation of events like climate change, diminished ecosystems, and mass extinction.

What can the Gothic teach us about our current geological era? More than just spooky, moonlit castles and morbid graveyards, the Gothic represents a vibrant, emergent perspective on the Anthropocene. In this volume, more than a dozen scholars move beyond longstanding perspectives on the Anthropocene—such as science fiction and apocalyptic narratives—to show that the Gothic offers a unique (and dark) interpretation of events like climate change, diminished ecosystems, and mass extinction.

Embracing pop cultural phenomena like True Detective, Jaws, and Twin Peaks, as well as topics from the New Weird and prehistoric shark fiction to ruin porn and the “monstroscene,” Dark Scenes from Damaged Earth demonstrates the continuing vitality of the Gothic while opening important new paths of inquiry. These essays map a genealogy of the Gothic while providing fresh perspectives on the ongoing climate chaos, the North/South divide, issues of racialization, dark ecology, questions surrounding environmental justice, and much more.

Contributors: Fred Botting, Kingston U; Timothy Clark, U of Durham; Rebecca Duncan, Linnaeus U; Michael Fuchs, U of Oldenburg, Germany; Esthie Hugo, U of Warwick; Dawn Keetley, Lehigh U; Laura R. Kremmel, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology; Timothy Morton, Rice U; Barry Murnane, U of Oxford; Jennifer Schell, U of Alaska Fairbanks; Lisa M. Vetere, Monmouth U; Sara Wasson, Lancaster U; Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock, Central Michigan U.

Justin D. Edwards is professor of English and chair in Gothic studies at the University of Stirling. He is author of, most recently, Tropical Gothic in Literature and Culture: The Americas and coeditor of B-Movie Gothic: International Perspectives.

Rune Graulund is associate professor in American literature and culture at the Center for American Studies and director of the research cluster Anthropocene Aesthetics at the University of Southern Denmark. He is coauthor of Grotesque and Mobility at Large: Globalization, Textuality, and Innovative Travel Writing.

Johan Höglund is professor of English at Linnaeus University. He is coeditor of B-Movie Gothic: International Perspectives and Nordic Gothic.

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Gothic in the Anthropocene

Part I. Anthropocene

1. The Anthropocene

Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock

2. De-Extinction: A Gothic Masternarrative for the Anthropocene

Michael Fuchs

3. Lovecraft vs. VanderMeer: Posthuman Horror (and Hope?) in the Zone of Exception

Rune Graulund

4. Monstrous Megalodons of the Anthropocene: Extinction and Adaptation in Prehistoric Shark Fiction, 1974-2018

Jennifer Schell

5. A Violence “Just Below the Skin”: Atmospheric Terror and Racial Ecologies from the African Anthropocene

Esthie Hugo

Part II. Plantationocene

6. Horrors of the Horticultural: Charles Brockden Brown’s Wieland and the Landscapes of the Anthropocene

Lisa M. Vetere

7. True Detective’s Folk Gothic

Dawn Keetley

8. Beyond the Slaughterhouse: Anthropocene, Animals, and Gothic

Justin D. Edwards

Part III. Capitalocene

9. Gothic in the Capitalocene: World-Ecological Crisis, Decolonial Horror, and the South African Postcolony

Rebecca Duncan

10. Overpopulation: The Human as Inhuman

Timothy Clark

11. Digging up Dirt: Reading the Anthropocene through German Romanticism

Barry Murnane

12. Got a Light? The Dark Currents of Energy in Twin Peaks: The Return

Timothy Morton and Rune Graulund

Part IV. Chthulucene

13. The Anthropocene Within: Love and Extinction in M. R. Carey’s The Girl with All the Gifts and The Boy on the Bridge

Johan Höglund

14. Rot and Recycle: Gothic Eco-Burial

Laura R. Kremmel

15. Queer Erotics and Annihilation: Caitlín R. Kiernan, Queering the Weird, and Challenges to the “Anthropocene”

Sara Wasson

16. Monstrocene

Fred Botting

Contributors

Index