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Publication Detail
Romantic-Gothic Sepulchres: Intersections of Death, Memory, and Mourning in Film (1907-1958)
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  • Authors:
    Ramalho JR
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  • Supervisors:
    Blanco MP,Grieveson L
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In this study, I explore the representation of death, memory, mourning, and oneirism in specific transnational cinematic works from 1907 to 1958. Looking beyond psychoanalytic theories, I revise current theorisations of the Gothic through a formal-aesthetic methodological lens and propose new, cross-cultural avenues that have been heretofore neglected. I suggest that Romanticism and the Gothic have become catch-all terms whose usage may seem convenient to speak and write about film, but that nonetheless overlook the unique way the Gothic and Romantic doctrines meet and meld on the screen. I work towards an assessment of this singular relationship in cinema—which I describe as the Romantic-Gothic mode—by providing analyses of both US and European works. In so doing, I propose an interpretive strategy that highlights and investigates the implications of moving the afterlife out of the graveyard and into the space of the cinema. I endeavour to map the geographic, temporal, and psychological dislocations of the characters, which, I argue, are structured upon the contact between the sensing human body and the circumambient life. I examine the mediation of pastness by certain places and objects that insistently actualise gone-by events and thus question the notion of the past as an unequivocal cause for the present and future. I suggest that the encounter of the dwellers with what I call memory-objects in their lonely walks through the foreignness of private and outdoor spaces re/creates identity. A nodal point in the project concerns the idea that the Romantic-Gothic mode is a map of sensory memories where mourning, forgetfulness, and the annihilation of the self in time, space, and mind germinate. Finally, in broad outline, my work offers a starting point for a critical reappraisal of Romantic and Gothic art in film.
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