Volume 4, Issue 1

(Summer 2017)

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Cover Image: “Thesis Piece 1 Dark forest concept environment,” by zanoa7, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. http://fav.me/d7zedy8

Editors' Note and Introduction, by Leah Richards and John R. Ziegler (7-9)


A Supernatural Spectacle: Film Style Within the Prologue of Black Swan, by Derek M. Dubois (11-23)


Abstract: Filmmaker Darren Aronofsky is well-known for a dynamic film style that showcases characters who self-destruct in visceral, kinetic ways. His Black Swan (2010) concerns a talented but infantilized ballet dancer whose quest for perfection in her renowned company's performance of Swan Lake leads her down a darkened path of self-mutilation. The film externalizes this threat through the introduction of supernatural elements—most specifically—through the emergence of the double. This essay argues that Aronofsky establishes his key themes and genre elements through the techniques of art cinema immediately within the film’s prologue.

Keywords: art cinema, the double/doppelgänger, film style, narrative

The girlie-wolfgood for nothing: Twilight and the Anti-Feminist She-Wolf, by Stephanie Gallon (24-37)


Abstract: Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga has been an international phenomenon, yielding much debate about the agency of the heroine. Though a minor character, Leah Clearwater is a character worth studying and an ideal lens through which to examine the series, as she occupies a unique space within the world and narrative: she is the only she-wolf in the Quileute pack. This essay argues that an analytical focus on Leah Clearwater reveals that the Twilight saga, by cultural and authorial definitions, fails as a feminist piece.

Keywords: Gothic, female werewolf, feminist post-colonialism, Twilight

"Keeping the Past Present": Time and the Shifting Bog in Bram Stoker's The Snake's Pass, by Nancy Marck Cantwell (38-50)


Abstract: Bram Stoker’s Irish novel, The Snake’s Pass, interrogates the continuity of Irish history and national identity through a legend explaining a Connemara bog’s supernatural influence, a story that portrays the trauma of Ireland’s dispossession as indelible and timeless. This reading of the novel employs Julia Kristeva’s conceptualization of linear and monumental time to argue for the preeminence of the supernatural bog as a totem of Irish identity that persists in cultural memory to counter the forward momentum of the Anglo-Irish assimilation narrative.

Keywords: bog, Bram Stoker, dispossession, Ireland, Julia Kristeva

Cultural Human Sacrifice in Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street Films, by Brittany Caroline Speller (51-68)


Abstract: Wes Craven’s films often feature veiled or outright commentaries on their cultural context. With this trait in mind, a reexamination of his initial two entries in the Elm Street series is warranted. By utilizing a theoretical lens of cultural human sacrifice, combined with traditional film criticism techniques, this essay argues that Craven’s films A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) can be seen as inclusive of instances of human sacrifice that were deemed necessary in order to perpetuate the hegemonic societal norms of the 1980s.

Keywords: Elm Street series, horror genre, human sacrifice, slasher films, Wes Craven

Damsels, Dragons, and Death-girls: Married and Unmarried Foreign Women in The Book of John Mandeville, by Ellis Light (69-87)


Abstract: This article examines the (re)presentations of foreign women in The Book of John Mandeville, arguing that foreign women’s marital status is central in determining their inclusion in the category of the human. Unmarried foreign women appear as dangerous figures whose bodies transform into monstrous forms such as dragons and human-animal hybrids, while married women are seen as commodities whose value depends on performances of status.

Keywords: abjection, gender studies, Mandeville, marriage, medieval, monstrosity, travel writing

Academia, Relativism, and the "Supernatural": What is True, What is Real, and What is Reasonable?, by Elizabeth Lowry (88-98)


Abstract: Considering other people’s esoteric or “supernatural” experiences in a professional capacity can be challenging because, as academics, we are expected to reject such discourses. But while “critical thinking” presupposes a strictly rationalist and positivist standpoint, the act of thinking critically may sometimes require a more relativistic perspective on what is generally accepted as being true and real. Acknowledging the social and political dangers of accepting an overly relativistic view of “truth” and “reality,” this paper explores the plusses and pitfalls of relativism with regard to truth claims associated with the supernatural.

Keywords: esoteric, rational, reason, relativism, truth-claims


Derek Dubois is an award-winning filmmaker and an adjunct professor of Film Studies at Rhode Island College and Clark University where his primary interests are in narrative, film style, and Classical Hollywood Cinema. He has taught courses including: Introduction to Film and Film Analysis, Writing for Film, and a two-semester workshop in Screenwriting. His academic work has previously appeared in the peer-reviewed journals Short Film Studies, Mise-en-Scene, and Senses of Cinema.

Stephanie Gallon has a Master’s degree in English studies from the University of Sunderland. She specializes in Gothic literature, feminist literature, and werecreatures. She has multiple gothic short stories and poems published.

Ellis Light is a PhD student at Fordham University specializing in late medieval devotional literature. Their research focuses on medieval gender and embodiment, mysticism, hagiography, bodily fluids, blood, and queer and feminist theory. They hold an MA from Fordham and a BA in Literary and Religious Studies from The New School.

Elizabeth Lowry received her PhD in Rhetoric and Composition from Arizona State University where she now holds a Lecturer position in the same field. Her work has been published in The Rhetoric Review, Word and Text, CrossCurrents and in edited collections, and her research interests include the long nineteenth century and women’s rhetorics. Her monograph Invisible Hosts: Performing the Nineteenth Century Spirit Medium’s Autobiography is currently under contract with SUNY Press.

Nancy Marck Cantwell is Associate Professor and Chair of the English Department at Daemen College in Amherst, New York, where she teaches British literature. Her scholarly work investigates texts produced by nineteenth-century novelists from England, Scotland, and Ireland. Recent publications include articles in Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies and Études Irlandaisesas well as book chapters in Jane Austen and Philosophy, Biographical Misrepresentations of British Women Writers of the Long Nineteenth Century, and The Contemporary Irish Detective Novel; current projects include an essay on built environments in Jane Austen and a book-length study of nineteenth-century women novelists and nationalism.

Brittany Caroline Speller received her BA (2014) and MA (2016) in American history at Armstrong State University. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in English at Auburn University. Her research interests primarily lie within the field of cinema studies, with a particular emphasis on the horror genre. Her current projects include an article on female heroism and knowledge in Rings (2017), while future endeavours are aimed toward the publication of a book on the A Nightmare on Elm Street series.

*These notes appear on page 99-100 of the print version.