Gothicka: Vampire Heroes, Human Gods, and the New Supernatural
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Gothicka: Vampire Heroes, Human Gods, and the New Supernatural

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  58 ratings  ·  16 reviews
The Gothic, Romanticism's gritty older sibling, has flourished in myriad permutations since the eighteenth century. In "Gothicka, " Victoria Nelson identifies the revolutionary turn it has taken in the twenty-first. Today's Gothic has fashioned its monsters into heroes and its devils into angels. It is actively reviving supernaturalism in popular culture, not as an evil di...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published April 23rd 2012 by Harvard University Press
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Joshua Buhs
This is essentially a sequel to the secret life of puppets, arguing that since around the turn of the 21st century the supernatural has been escaping popular culture and beoming a more active force in america, as well as shedding its association with the demonic and reclaiming a lost (like, for 2000 years) positive association. Like secret life of puppets, the book meanders sometimes, shows off its erudition, and includes chapters that don't really need to be there. But good stuff.

Introduction n...more
Jim Coughenour
Apr 04, 2012 Jim Coughenour is currently reading it
Victoria Nelson's new book arrived last night – and I'm already enjoying it despite the pressing Errands of the Day. Transcendence without religion? Always an intoxicating question. And she is such an engaging writer…
Oct 02, 2012 Ann added it
I would like to call Victoria Nelson out on some shit. One of the phenomena discussed in the book is fan formation of spiritual communities out of genre entertainments. Some of these seem to be based on a really boneheaded understanding of the works in question, and VN fails to point this out, and is so weirdly uncritical, so uncritically enthused.

She writes that Michael Aquino, a Satanist disciple of Anton LaVey, "asserts that rites around Lovecraft's monster gods show an egalitarian advance ov...more
Nelson's basic premise is that the religious spirituality and belief that used to infuse Western society is resurfacing in modern fandom, and the means of that long process is the Gothic. Essentially, when Protestant England and America reaffirmed its separation from Catholicism, it kept the fascination with the supernatural, dark side of the Catholic faith--demons and witches and so forth. That fascination expressed itself in the gothic, and, as time went on, in the supernatural in general, to...more
I very much wanted to dislike this book for two reasons -- 1. The use of the K -- please. 2. This bit from the preface: "I have made no attempt to survey the present of Gothick scholarship [is there any GothicK scholarship?] and position my own thinking within it, thereby omitting mention of many current key thinking in this vast, rick and exciting field" (xii-xiii).
Um, someone should tell this lady how scholarship usually works. I'm going to go with intellectually arrogant to describe the tone....more

Fantastic, in many senses of the word. Picked this up at City Lights in San Francisco, what a great find! Nelson provides a well researched, insightful analysis of the Gothick in today's popular culture. I have added to my "to see" list many movies, and increased my appreciation of comic and fantasy genres.
Catherine Siemann
This book has many merits -- interesting readings on a number of subjects, including a delightfully snarky one of Dan Brown, something about Twilight that had me actually thinking rather than automatically dismissing, a take on Garth Ennis's Preacher, one of the few comics series I actually followed all the way through -- as well as references to a number of texts, films, etc. with which I was unfamiliar and am interested in learning more about. There's a take on Catholicism vs. Protestsantism a...more
Lydia Peever
Though I dug into this with massive optimism, I wasn't ready for the dissection and regular return to Dan Brown's work throughout. Enjoyable and interesting reading for authors, horror readers and film fans, Gothika unfolds the 'gothic' lurking under many contemporary fan faves. Even if I liked the idea more than the contents, it will still be lent to a few academics that will also enjoy the ideas that Nelson mulls over.
I found this book both engrossing and easy to read. Before I read this book, a colleague and and I were discussing the surge in popularity of "monster-of-the-week" tv shows and the obsession with zombies, etc. I found the author's overview interesting. Highly recommended.
After reading a mostly positive review of this ages ago, I finally picked it up intrigued by some of the chapter titles. Bland or idiosyncratic – sometimes both –I didn't find a lot that was helpful to me here. The writing was, however, fluid and assured; the topics could have been fascinating on their own rights. It just wasn't what I wanted to read from the review and the topics listed. Ah well....more
Is horror our new religion? Nelson's fascinating and fabulously erudite work explores the places our urge for the supernatural may be taking us, dancing lightly through points drawn from as delightfully diverse a spread as Walpole, Stephenie Meyer, Dan Brown, and Lovecraft. So good you'll even be reading the footnotes.
A great analysis of the current trend toward all things undead in pop culture.
The point that resonates most with me is that in the loss of institutional religion, audiences are hungry for the supernatural. In their hunger they will devour anything with a hint of forever attached.
Steve Wiggins
For anyone who's entranced by the Gothic spirit. A smart, well-written, and challenging account of supernatural culture. See more at: Sects and Violence in the Ancient World.
Helen Mears
A fascinating book. Victoria Nelson considers the Gothic as a potential location for a new spirituality. A wide ranging study that includes religion, plays, books and films.
Cultural criticism is great, because I feel like it validates my pop culture choices. Also, I know want to watch all the foreign horror films.
Mills College Library
700.415 N431 2012
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