Disgust and Desire: The Paradox of the Monster
 900435073X, 9789004350731

Table of contents :
Table of Contents
Introduction • Kristen D. Wright
Part I: Searching for Monsters
How Ignorance Made a Monster, Or: Writing the History of Vlad the Impaler without the Use of Sources Leads to 20,000 Impaled Turks • Peter Mario Kreuter
Unveiling the Truth through Testimony: The Argentinean Dirty War • Adriana Spahr
Fanatics and Absolutists: Communist Monsters in John le Carré’s Cold War Fiction • Toby Manning
Part II: Desiring the Monstrous
Queer Race Play: Kinky Sex and the Trauma of Racism • Dejan Kuzmanovic
Absolute Beasts? Social Mechanics of Achieved Monstrosity • William Redwood
Part III: Writing Monsters
Utopian Leprosy: Transforming Gender in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and History in the Strugatsky Brothers’ The Ugly Swans • Elsa Bouet
Monstrosity and the Fantastic: The Threats and Promises of Monsters in Tommaso Landolfi’s Fiction • Irene Bulla
Part IV: Gazing at Monsters
‘This Thing of Darkness I Acknowledge Mine’: Man's Monstrous Potential in The Tempest and Titus Andronicus • Kristen D. Wright
Paedophilic Productions and Gothic Performances: Contending with Monstrous Identity • Jen Baker
Creeper Bogeyman: Cultural Narratives of Gay as Monstrous • Sergio Fernando Juárez
Full Metal Abs: The Obscene Spartan Supplement of Liberal Democracy • Carlo Comanducci

Citation preview

Disgust and Desire

At the Interface/Probing the Boundaries Series Editor Rob Fisher (Interdisciplinarian, Oxford, United Kingdom) Advisory Board Peter Bray (Programme Leader for Counsellor Education, School of Counselling, Human Services and Social Work Education and Social Work, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand ) Robert Butler (Professor/Chair, Department of History, Elmhurst College, usa) Ioana Cartarescu (Independent Scholar, Bucharest, Romania) Ann-Marie Cook (Principal Policy and Legislation Officer, Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney General, Brisbane, Australia) Seán Moran (Waterford Institute of Technology) Stephen Morris (Author and Independent Scholar, New York, usa) John Parry (Edward Brunet Professor of Law and Associate Dean of Faculty, Lewis & Clark Law School, Portland, Oregon, usa) Karl Spracklen (Professor of Music, Leisure and Culture, Music Subject Group Research Co-ordinator, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, United Kingdom) Natalia Kaloh Vid (Associate Professor, Department of Translation Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Maribor, Slovenia)

VOLUME 91

The titles published in this series are listed at brill.com/aipb

Disgust and Desire The Paradox of the Monster Edited by Kristen Wright

LEIDEN | BOSTON

Cover illustration: Illustration from the frontispiece of the 1831 edition of Theodore Von Holst’s Frankenstein. Steel engraving (993 × 71mm) to the revised edition of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, published by Colburn and Bentley, London 1831. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Frontispiece_ to_Frankenstein_1831.jpg Library of Congress Control Number: 2017960526

Typeface for the Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic scripts: “Brill”. See and download: brill.com/brill-typeface. issn 1570-7113 isbn 978-90-04-35073-1 (paperback) isbn 978-90-04-36015-0 (e-book) Copyright 2018 by Koninklijke Brill nv, Leiden, The Netherlands. Koninklijke Brill nv incorporates the imprints Brill, Brill Hes & De Graaf, Brill Nijhoff, Brill Rodopi, Brill Sense and Hotei Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, translated, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher. Authorization to photocopy items for internal or personal use is granted by Koninklijke Brill nv provided that the appropriate fees are paid directly to The Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Suite 910, Danvers, ma 01923, usa. Fees are subject to change. This book is printed on acid-free paper and produced in a sustainable manner.

Table of Contents Introduction Kristen D. Wright Part I

Searching for Monsters How Ignorance Made a Monster, Or: Writing the History of Vlad the Impaler without the Use of Sources Leads to 20,000 Impaled Turks Peter Mario Kreuter

Part II

vii

3

Unveiling the Truth through Testimony: The Argentinean Dirty War Adriana Spahr

21

Fanatics and Absolutists: Communist Monsters in John le Carré’s Cold War Fiction Toby Manning

43

Desiring the Monstrous Queer Race Play: Kinky Sex and the Trauma of Racism Dejan Kuzmanovic

71

Absolute Beasts? Social Mechanics of Achieved Monstrosity William Redwood

89

Part III Writing Monsters

Part IV

Utopian Leprosy: Transforming Gender in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and History in the Strugatsky Brothers’ The Ugly Swans Elsa Bouet

113

Monstrosity and the Fantastic: The Threats and Promises of Monsters in Tommaso Landolfi’s Fiction Irene Bulla

143

Gazing at Monsters ‘This Thing of Darkness I Acknowledge Mine’: Man's Monstrous Potential in The Tempest and Titus Andronicus Kristen D. Wright

171

Paedophilic Productions and Gothic Performances: Contending with Monstrous Identity Jen Baker

197

Creeper Bogeyman: Cultural Narratives of Gay as Monstrous Sergio Fernando Juárez

226

Full Metal Abs: The Obscene Spartan Supplement of Liberal Democracy Carlo Comanducci

250

Introduction Kristen D. Wright I had desired with an ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart.1 Unlike the movie depictions, the moment in Frankenstein when Victor brings his monstrous creation to life is notably understated. He toils for weeks, collecting parts from abattoirs and graveyards, carefully assembling his new creature, and then, utilizing a process that the narrator keeps secret, Victor brings the monster to life. There is no flashing lightening or crescendo of activity, yet somehow, in this instant when Victor’s weeks of obsessive toil are finally rewarded, his excitement turns to horror. More than the monster’s violent revenge and Victor’s pursuit, this brief moment that reveals Victor’s sudden transition from desire to disgust has always fascinated me, and it provided inspiration for this volume. On their surface it would seem that disgust and desire are opposite emotions; we withdraw from that which disgusts us, and we move toward that which is desirable. Yet, as Victor Frankenstein discovers in the above quote, the line between fervent longing for a thing and horror at achieving that thing is very fine indeed. But how can something that we desire suddenly become disgusting? And how can something that is monstrous elicit both of these opposing emotions? To understand this, it is useful to look at what monster means. The word monster is derived from the Latin monstrum meaning ‘portent, prodigy, monstrous creature, wicked person, monstrous act, [or] atrocity.’2 Furthermore, it has its base in the verb monere, ‘to warn,’3 but it also bears a striking resemblance to the Latin verb monstrare meaning ‘to show.’ This etymological background reflects what the monster’s role has always been in society: the monster shows us that which we must not do or that which we must not become. As Jeffrey Jerome Cohen notes: The monster is continually linked to forbidden practices, in order to normalize and to enforce. The monster also attracts. The same creatures who terrify and interdict can provoke escapist fantasies; the linking of monstrosity with the forbidden makes the monster all the more appealing as a temporary egress from constraint. The simultaneous repulsion and attraction at the core of the monster’s composition accounts greatly for its continued cultural popularity.4 The monster shows us the things that we secretly want to do anyway, and it shows that outside of the bounds of civilization and the comforting rules of our societies lies chaos and terror, fears made flesh in the body of the monster. As noted by

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__________________________________________________________________ medieval mapmakers, beyond the comforting and ordered regions that have been mapped out there are terrible dangers: hic sunt dracones.5 However, as their name would suggest, monsters do not simply show where the physical boundaries of the safe human world exist, they also warn about the danger of forbidden actions. Monsters eat what is forbidden (the werewolf, vampire, and zombie are all monstrous in part for their cannibalism), they live in dark and often chthonic places (Python and Grendel are sought underground by Apollo and Beowulf respectively), and they look strange or unpleasant (long before Frankenstein, medieval bestiaries were full of strange anthropophagi, cynocephali, and panotii to name a few).6 It seems then that there would be little reason to desire to be near or even to look upon these creatures; yet, we do. From ancient to modern times, the monster has always drawn an eager audience. This desire to see and embrace the forbidden and even the disgusting is clear in Victor Frankenstein’s obsessive creation of his monster: The dissecting room and slaughter-house furnished many of my materials; and often did my human nature turn with loathing from my occupation, whilst, still urged on by an eagerness which perpetually increased, I brought my work near to a conclusion.7 Victor loathes the work that he is doing, yet he is driven on by some terrible eagerness to continue. He believes that he can outdo nature and God, even while he is revolted by his grisly endeavour. However, the dreadfulness of his monster’s origin cannot entirely explain Victor’s reaction. He knew what his creation looked like before he gave it life, and Victor clearly believes that he can breathe life into something beautiful. He chooses pieces carefully, and unlike Boris Karloff’s iconic portrayal of the monster with a square head and bolts in its neck, Mary Shelley’s monster looks almost human; the monster inhabits the ‘uncanny valley’8 where the collection of beautiful features that Victor chooses are somehow collectively horrible: His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful! – Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; the hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion, and straight black lips.9 All of Victor’s careful selection of pieces and desire to create something beautiful turns to ugliness at the moment that he brings the monster to life. This nearness is

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__________________________________________________________________ where the true horror lies for Victor; he creates a thinking, feeling, almost human creature, but the monster’s ugly form reminds Victor of his own sins in playing God. Victor comes close to success, but the monster visually represents Victor’s crimes and failures, from which he cannot simply run away. Although it may seem that this story is just about one man’s hubris and failed attempt to play God, Frankenstein and his monster reveal much deeper relationships between man and monster generally. Man has always had, and probably will always have, a love/hate relationship with the monstrous because the monsters that we create reflect our deepest forbidden desires. This connection between man and monster is also why many of the most frightening and lasting monsters look largely human. A horrible alien creature or a giant beast may scare us momentarily, but it is the thinking, plotting monster in whom we can see our own worst impulses that truly haunts our nightmares. This is apparent in more modern monsters such as Dracula or zombies, but also in the medieval and early modern fascination with monstrous births. In their works on the popularity of descriptions and images of these deformed babies, Daston and Parks describe how these ‘monsters elicited wonder at its most iridescent, linked sometimes to horror, sometimes to pleasure, and sometimes to repugnance.’10 But, no matter what the reaction, depictions of these monstrous children were incredibly popular and there was great interest in what the births meant and how the monstrous forms could be interpreted as signs of God’s displeasure over sin.11 A monstrous animal is something outside of ourselves that can be defeated, but the monster that looks like us reminds us much more effectively of our own forbidden desires. However, the ability of monsters to reflect our forbidden desires goes more than skin deep, and the behaviour of these monsters also offers a lesson. While the body of Victor’s monster visually displays Victor’s crime in playing God, the monster’s mind and determination for vengeance are a horrible reflection of Victor’s own intelligence and obsessive nature. We tend to recall that Frankenstein’s monster is ugly, yet he is also keenly intelligent, and when Victor plays God but fails to provide the monster with a companion, it is not just the monster’s body but also his mind that allows him to seek revenge against Victor and his family; just as Victor’s incredible intelligence leads him to create a monster, the monster’s intelligence and form are the tools of Victor’s destruction. The monster, therefore, both reminds the audience about the boundaries of acceptable human behaviour and demonstrates that there are consequences when forbidden things are sought and social responsibilities are neglected. Victor’s egomaniacal obsession with creating life eventually costs him the same family and friends whom he ignored during the months of his research and construction. Frankenstein’s monster, therefore, warns about playing God and intellectual dangers, and other monsters serve similar functions. Medieval depictions of Africans as monstrous reinforced their religious and cultural differences. Werewolves are often used to represent man’s base, bestial nature ready to spring

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__________________________________________________________________ forth from underneath our veneer of civility. Zombies are usually interpreted as a commentary on consumerism and social disconnect as they mindlessly devour everything in their grasp. The list continues, and other monsters have been used to represent and warn against minority race, religion, sexual orientation, political beliefs or any number of other behaviours or practices deemed deviant.12 Socially unacceptable desires are portrayed as monstrous and therefore disgusting; we feel disgust towards ourselves for our own forbidden, monstrous desires thus preventing us from acting on them, and then we push that feeling of disgust onto the monstrous other or scapegoat. However, rather than just warning us about the forbidden things that we desire by making them objects of disgust, the monster can fulfil a reverse role as well. The fact that we still love to talk about and look at monsters shows that the attempt to make forbidden behaviour disgusting does not always work. When things are depicted as monstrous, we not only secretly desire them, but our ability to look at that thing gives us more chance to assess why we view it as monstrous in the first place; we attempt to make things frightening, but we risk making them familiar. In Frankenstein, when we hear the monster’s story, we cannot help but feel sympathy for him even as we recoil from his bloody acts of revenge. He is not just a mindless creature of destruction, but a thinking, feeling being. But this boundary between man and monster, us and other, is a place of great anxiety. In Beyond Good and Evil Friedrich Nietzsche famously says: Anyone who fights with monsters should take care that he does not in the process become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes back into you.13 This serves as a warning that we can become monstrous ourselves through our battle with monsters, that in fighting the thing that frightens us we risk succumbing to our own worst urges. Yet maybe this is not always to be feared. It is much easier to condemn others as monsters and to push our disgust onto something that is other than it is to turn that gaze inward and examine why we believe that certain desires are disgusting in the first place. Monsters are effective as warnings because they show the danger of common desires and urges, but by showing the forbidden, the monster risks making the forbidden seem common or normal; the monster may even show that the thing we feared was not disgusting after all. If there is one thing that monsters have shown us, it’s that the definition of what is monstrous constantly changes, and by fighting with monsters, we may eventually assimilate them into our society. Thus we must question why we have made certain traits or behaviours monstrous, and whether or not absorbing them back into our culture is always bad. Some monsters may in fact travel back from disgust to desire. Drawing from contributors across disciplines and backgrounds, the chapters in this volume all grapple with the problem of where the line between disgust and

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__________________________________________________________________ desire lies and what that can tell us about our cultural relationship with monsters. The first section, ‘Searching for Monsters,’ examines how certain people have been historically labelled as monstrous and why we have such a strong social urge to find and label these monsters in the first place. Section two, ‘Desiring the Monstrous,’ examines people who choose to engage in activities or behaviour that society has already deemed monstrous, considering why a person would want to engage in societally proscribed acts and the public reaction to their choices. The third section, ‘Writing Monsters,’ looks at how monsters are written into literature, what characteristics are chosen as monstrous, and the cultural significance of these works. Finally, the fourth section of the book, ‘Gazing at Monsters,’ examines performances or exhibitions of the monstrous and the social function of these often deeply unsettling images. While the reading of literature is a largely private experiencing of the monster, the performance of the monster is a more public ritual of scapegoating and cleansing; therefore, this section will examine how monsters are presented simultaneously for public enjoyment and public condemnation. This book, therefore, examines the role of the monster across genres, periods, and subjects and what our own conflicted reactions to monstrosity tell us about human culture.

Notes 1

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2012), 36. ‘monster, n., adv., and adj,’ OED Online, Third Edition (Oxford University Press, 2012), viewed 30 April 2015. http://www.oed.com.proxycu.wrlc.org/view/Entry/121738?rskey=T3SPi0&result= 1. 3 Ibid. 4 Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, ‘Monster Culture (Seven Theses),’ Monster Theory: Reading Culture, ed. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), 16-17. 5 This translates most closely as ‘here there are dragons,’ with dragons standing in for any number of unknown and terrifying sea monsters. 6 The anthropophagi featured heads growing in their chests, the cynocephali had dogs’ heads, and the panotii had huge ears under which they could hide from the heat of the sun. 7 Shelley, Frankenstein, 35. 8 The ‘uncanny valley’ is that place where something appears almost human, a quality that many people find to be upsetting or repulsive. This idea was first proposed in Masahiro Mori, ‘The Uncanny Valley,’ Energy 7.4 (1970): np. Mori applied the term specifically to robots, but it seems particularly applicable to monsters that look almost human as well. 2

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Shelley, Frankenstein, 35 Lorraine Daston and Katherine Parks, Wonders and the Order of Nature (New York: Zone Books, 1998), 20. 11 Ibid., 51. 12 This is also mentioned in Cohen, ‘Monster Culture (Seven Theses),’ 20. 13 Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future, ed. and trans. by Marion Faber (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 68. 10

Bibliography Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome. ‘Monster Culture (Seven Theses).’ Monster Theory: Reading Culture, edited by Jeffrey Jerome Cohen. 3-25. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996. Daston, Lorraine and Katherine Parks. Wonders and the Order of Nature. New York: Zone Books, 1998. Mori, Masahiro. ‘The Uncanny Valley.’ Energy 7.4 (1970): np. Nietzsche, Friedrich. Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future. Translated and edited by Marion Faber. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2012.

Part I Searching for Monsters



How Ignorance Made a Monster, Or: Writing the History of Vlad the Impaler without the Use of Sources Leads to 20,000 Impaled Turks Peter Mario Kreuter Abstract There are only few personalities out of the history of Romania (or the political entities that can be named its predecessor), which gained the attention of a larger public outside the country itself. Nicolae Ceaușescu is one of them, of course. The first king of Romania, Charles I, may be another one. Some other names like Dimitrie Cantemir or Alexandru Ioan Cuza could be added, but the larger part of Romania’s history did not make it even into the manuals of history for students of East European history. Another notable exception nevertheless exists: Vlad III the Impaler, ruler of Wallachia in the 15th century and best known for his second sobriquet ‘Drăculea.’ His pretended cruelty, but also the fact that he is often presented as the historical model for Bram Stoker’s famous novel Dracula, made him into a much-observed object of well-studied historians as well as of would-be ones. The literature about Vlad III is hard to overlook, not only in English, but also in other languages great and small. Intriguingly enough, nearly none of the authors of books about this Wallachian prince either spent some time in the archives in Bucharest or Vienna or used the sources we still have about the life and times of Vlad the Impaler. The famous broadsheets and woodcuts of the Transylvanian Saxons are well known…but the Slavonic texts are hardly used, and the rich tradition in Greek or the Ottoman Turkish language gained no greater attention. As a result, most of the so-called biographies of Vlad III have a very small common base of sources – themselves. The aim of this chapter is to show how ignorance led to a monster – the bloodthirsty Vlad the Impaler – and to follow one of the most common misconceptions about this prince which today is still very vivid and persistent: the ‘Forest of the Impaled.’ Key Words: ‘Corpus Draculianum,’ Dracula, ‘Forest of the Impaled,’ historiography, Skanderbeg, Vlad III Țepeș ***** 1. Stereotypes about Vlad III Țepeș In 1996, by a chain of interesting coincidences, a student of the University of Bonn, driven by his professor of Early Modern History, began to write his M.A. thesis about the popular belief in vampires in Southeastern Europe. As he had to start with something, that student first collected the actual scientific literature about that belief, and having several philologies, he quickly managed to collect a nice

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__________________________________________________________________ bunch of books and articles, both in languages of the Balkans like Albanian or Romanian as well as in languages such as German, French, and of course English. Amongst those English studies was a quite recently published book by Paul Barber. Vampires, Burial, and Death was its title, and indeed, it turned out to be an informative and useful tool to enter the universe of English written studies dealing with that topic. Intriguingly enough, even a detailed view into the bibliography showed no sign of a deeper use of sources from Southeastern Europe, neither of printed books nor of manuscripts from archives or national libraries. The reason for that is hidden in the introduction, read by that student (and yes, it’s me) only at the end of his personal reading of the book: If a reader were to glance through the first chapters of this book, he might reasonably conclude that he had come upon a book on the folklore of the European vampire. The vampire, however, is only a local manifestation – albeit a particularly dramatic one – of a worldwide phenomenon, and I have chosen him as an example merely because it is convenient to do so: not only do we have a great deal of data on the folklore of the European vampire, but that data is published in languages familiar to a Western scholar.1 Two things are remarkable about that quote. Firstly, that specific use of European and Western – the gap of the perception can be felt quite intensively. Could a Western scholar not be from Europe itself? In addition, what about an Eastern scholar, or even a Southeastern one? Are they from Europe, or is the meaning of the word Europe – as Barber uses it in that specific case – a more restricted one? Does the word mean here something like Western Europe? And finally, we simply should not forget that the vampire is not a common European phenomenon, but a Southeast European one. Yes, the vampire is a special variation of the revenant but the very special combination of folkloristic elements result in a variation that could be found only in Southeastern Europe. There are several elements that separate the vampire from Bulgaria or Romania from a revenant corpse in Germany or England. Just to mention one: the vampire of the Balkans is always a harmful and dangerous thing, whereas a revenant in Middle or Western Europe could be a helpful or sometimes even pitiful entity. A story like that of Saint Fridolin, the patron and protector of the Swiss canton Glarus, would be impossible in the world of the Christian-Orthodox faith: Fridolin spent considerable time in what we know today under the name of ‘Switzerland.’ Here, in a region that later formed itself to the canton of Glarus, he converted a certain Ursus, a wealthy landowner, to the Catholic faith. On his death Ursus left an enormous piece of land to Fridolin, who founded on it numerous churches and monasteries. But then Landolf, the brother of Ursus, denied the legitimacy of the gift and brought Fridolin before a court to

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__________________________________________________________________ prove his title. Fridolin did so by calling Ursus back on earth from the dead to confirm the gift in person. After the confirmation in front of the court, Ursus went back to the cemetery for eternal rest in his grave.2 Fridolin is thus often represented with a decomposing corpse or a skeleton, in reference to this story.3 So we come to the second point: the ignorance of the culture. Choosing a topic because of its linguistic accessibility seems to me to be odd. Even odder seems the obvious unwillingness to learn the languages of the area one is dealing with. This builds up not only a wall between the researcher and the written material that could only be mastered by the use of translations. It also means that no direct contact with the people from the respective area is possible, something that is especially annoying when the researcher deals with a folkloristic topic that is still alive today. The result of this: a Western scholar working on a Southeast European topic chooses it because he can use materials in English, French and German. Slavonic documents, Romanian studies, articles in Bulgarian, interviews in Albanian – all those kinds of sources or written material were to be ignored as was the oral component. Paul Barber is not the only one with that kind of cultural snobbism. At the same time Barber wrote his book, German author Ralph Peter Märtin published his biography of the Wallachian prince Vlad III the Impaler (1431-1476).4 Maybe biography is not the correct word – it is more a panoramic overview of Europe in general and the Balkans in particular in the second half of the 15th century linked with information from mostly secondary sources about Vlad III. Following the bibliography at the end of the book, Märtin used a large printed collection of contemporary sources. He even cites Romanian studies about that prince, but with his background in studying Ancient History and German Studies and being the author of books about Moses, Akhenaten, and Genghis Khan, some doubts about the depth of his knowledge about Wallachia in the 15th century may be spoken out loudly. Moreover, he obviously never went to the archives in Bucharest to have a look into the collections of materials that could be found there. However, the paperback about Vlad III written by Meirion James Trow, shows to what extent cultural snobbism can lead.5 The avid reader can find in the middle of the book a collection of 14 black-and-white images, and the tenth image of the collection shows the tower of the ‘Black Church’ in Kronstadt / Brașov, one of the cultural centres of the Saxon community in Transylvania. Funnily enough, Trow’s book labels the church as being found in Hermannstadt / Sibiu. And that’s not the end of awkward remarks – Trow writes that this church was ‘a landmark of the “Saxon” city in the Impaler’s time.’6 Leaving aside the quotation marks with the word Saxon – it simply is a Saxon city – it seems to me quite dazzling that a church that was finished about 1480 could already be such a landmark in the times when Vlad III ruled, i.e. 20 years earlier. In addition, image 13 shows ‘the sword of Sigismund, Emperor of Austria,’7 an identification which makes it hard to believe that Trow really studied history since Sigismund of Luxemburg (1368-1437) was

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__________________________________________________________________ Prince-elector of Brandenburg, King of Hungary and Croatia, King of Germany from 1411, King of Bohemia from 1419, King of Italy from 1431, and finally Holy Roman Emperor from 1433, but certainly never ever Emperor of Austria. The reason for that is quite simple: there was no Emperor of Austria prior to 1804. Without exaggeration, we can state that Vlad III always fascinated. Already in his lifetime, he was the object of an intensive coverage of his actions. As Wallachia had some exclaves in Transylvania near Fogorasch / Făgăraș and intensive economic exchange with the Saxon merchants from Kronstadt / Brașov, Vlad was involved in the local politics and became, in particular, an adversary of the merchants in Kronstadt / Brașov. His intentions to get control over their economic activities in Wallachia (especially to cut down their privileges for transportation on the roads of Wallachia and on the river Alt / Olt) led to a series of broadsheets, woodcuts, and poems in German about his cruelty and his tyranny. Among those are such famous productions as Geschichte Dracole Waide (‘The Story of Dracula Voivode’), written by an unknown author in 14638 or the famous poem Von ainem wutrich der hiess Trakle Waida von der Walachei (‘Story of a Hothead Named Dracula Voivode of Wallachia’) by Michael Beheim, written also in the very same year.9 His quarrels with the Saxons, his gruesome actions against the noblemen of Wallachia, his terror against the poor, his persecutions of the Gypsies, his more than undiplomatic behaviour towards foreign merchants as well as ambassadors – all that could be found in those propagandistic broadsheets and led to his image in the Western world of a bloodthirsty and cruel ruler.10 Some stereotypes still in use today have already been mentioned here, the most famous of which may be his lunch while dozens of victims were impaled around him. Wallachia was far away, under a despotic rule, close to the Ottoman Empire with whom the powers of Middle and Eastern Europe struggled over centuries – nothing could be better for the development of stereotypes than that combination. The result of such stereotypes about the land and its history had finally entered the world of a broader audience. The Rough Guide to Romania states in its chapter about Wallachia that some Romanian places like Poienari are linked ‘[…] with Vlad Țepeș, better known as Dracula, who was once ruler of Wallachia even though modern myth links him with Transylvania,’ which is not incorrect at all, but then, one can read that Wallachia was ‘[…] a distant outpost of Christendom, it succumbed to the Turks in 1417 and was then largely forgotten until the nineteenth century.’11 It did not fall to the Turks, but to the Ottomans, and even that is incorrect as Wallachia never was a province of the Ottoman Empire. Wallachia had to pay tribute and to send auxiliary troops for the military campaigns of the Ottoman rulers, and over the years its economy produced more and more for the Ottoman market. But it remained always an autonomous state with its own rulers (up to the 18th century mostly from autochthonous princely families), and even the Ottoman state saw Wallachia like this – there was neither any settlement of ethnic Turks or Muslims nor any permanent representation of the Sublime Porte or even

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__________________________________________________________________ garrisons in that country. Moreover, Wallachia was never forgotten – it always played its (really minor, but still existing) role in European politics. 2. Ad fontes… Unfortunately, for centuries the stereotypes about Vlad III have dominated all biographical access to his personality. This is especially obvious for the biographies written by Western scholars, but the older historiographical tradition in Romania was not free of such mistaken approaches either. The biography written by Nicolae Stoicescu can serve as an example.12 Despite its apologising tendency, it is still a readable and informative book, but it remains an intriguing fact that for it Stoicescu either used sources already printed in large volumes or the works of other historians. As a Romanian, it would not have been impossible for him to visit the archives in Bucharest or the collection of manuscripts in the library of the Romanian Academy of Science. No, Stoicescu did what was somehow the state of the art: he used the sources others had already used themselves, just his interpretation was different. Intriguingly enough, the sheer number of sources about Vlad III is much bigger than the usual stuff one can find in the books already mentioned. The central point is not a lack of sources, but a lack of knowledge about them. As a result, most works about Vlad III are based on a relatively similar corpus of texts and poems and fill the gaps by the use either of secondary material that draws on the same bunch of texts and poems, pure interpretation, or even imagination. In doing so, Western, but also Romanian scholars, produced in the last decades again and again the masterpiece of the heroic prince who made out of his land a bulwark, an Antemurale Christianitatis, similar to that of the Albanian nobleman Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu or Skanderbeg (1405-1468).13 At first glance, this may seem correct; however, the idea of a Christian fighter named Vlad, an idea known in the whole of Europe, is a kind of short circuit. There are massive differences between those two rulers. To take just one example – Skanderbeg maintained during his whole life an intensive correspondence with princes and powers in Europe. In particular, his diplomatic letter exchange with Venice and Naples was immense, but he also had close contacts to the Holy See and to Hungary.14 Vlad III was far more provincial in this area – the only important diplomatic correspondence he had with a country outside the Balkans was with Hungary, and all of his other contacts with the world outside the Balkans went through that filter of the court of the Hungarian king; from the rest of Europe, he was diplomatically isolated.15 While Skanderbeg’s reputation was, to some extent, based on his personal letter exchange with central powers of Italy, Vlad III was mostly known by information from the court of the Hungarian king as nearly all of his correspondence to the world outside his principality made its way via Hungary, and the broadsheets about – and against – his person.

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__________________________________________________________________ And Vlad III’s reputation faded throughout the centuries. When William Wilkinson wrote An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia and published it in 1820, he was not able to make any difference between Vlad III and his father Vlad II (1395-1447). There are three paragraphs where he tells us something about a ‘Voievode Dracula’ who fought against the Turks,16 and Bram Stoker used those paragraphs for the historical background of his famous novel. Wilkinson writes: Wallachia continued to pay it [the tribute] until the year 1444; when Ladislas King of Hungary, preparing to make war against the Turks, engaged the Voïvode Dracula to form an alliance with him.17 There is no doubt that the voïvode mentioned here is Vlad II Dracul, the father of our hero. Two pages later, we find the following statement: ‘[Sultan Mahomet II] afforded them [the Wallachians] a new opportunity of shaking off the yoke. Their Voïvode, also named Dracula, did not remain satisfied with mere prudent measures of defence.’18 ‘Also named Dracula’ – there was no also, there was a clear distinction between Vlad II Dracul and Vlad III Drăculea. But that distinction was unclear for Wilkinson, and as a result, he mixed up father and son. Stoker, then, had no chance to get deeper in the family history of the Impaler: These three references to ‘Dracula’ along with the footnote [on page 19] are the only occurrences of the name in all of the sources we know Stoker consulted. Note that Wilkinson is vague about which Dracula is which. The first paragraph refers to Vlad’s father, Vlad Dracul. Wilkinson refers to ‘Dracula’ and ‘Voïvode’, but never to ‘Vlad’, ‘Vlad Țepeș’ or ‘the Impaler’ and he does not bring up any of Vlad’s atrocities.19 Nevertheless, there are actually many sources about Vlad III. The point is that most of them have not been used until now because they are in quite inaccessible languages like Greek, Ottoman Turkish, Arabian, Persian, or Church Slavonic. However, a remedy now exists for this problem: Corpus Draculianum, a project by three German based scholars to publish all known sources about Vlad the Impaler.20 For now, the third volume, dealing with the sources of Ottoman and Post-Byzantine provenance, is on bookstore shelves. The usefulness of such a tool shall be demonstrated by the analysis of a very gruesome event. 3. The Real Vlad and the Reel Vlad… 20,000 Corpses on Pales Within his own lifetime, a lot of stories and anecdotes circulated in Western Europe about the cruelty of Vlad the Impaler and reinforced again and again his

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__________________________________________________________________ notorious reputation. Roasting children and feeding them to their mothers; roasting several members of a Gypsy group and feeding them to their relatives and friends; inviting homeless and poor people to a reunion, then locking the barn and setting fire to it; mass impalements of whole aristocratic families; permanent quarrels with the Saxon merchants in Transylvania; atrocities against critical clerics or boyars; impalement of a woman who made a shirt for her husband that was not long enough – reading the pamphlets about and against Vlad III is always an onerous task as they are a sequence of very unpleasant actions. Even the texts from Orthodox authors are full of cruelties; just the interpretation is different.21 Several stories appear in both traditions;22 others are limited to one text tradition.23 There are stories that seem to be purely invented, and others that may have their point of origin in a historical event. One of the most prominent stories about the reign as well as the character of Vlad III is that of the ‘Forest of the Impaled.’ It is said that during the Ottoman campaign in Wallachia of 1462, Vlad III allegedly impaled about 20,000 prisoners. The details may vary – sometimes this freaky forest is located just outside the walls of the capital of Tîrgoviște,24 other authors locate it on the way to Tîrgoviște,25 which is still quite far away. In their book, Radu Florescu and Raymond T. McNally set the ‘forest’ even further away: ‘A distance of roughly 60 miles’ from Tîrgoviște.26 In addition, the origin of the victims is not certain. Authors such as Nicolae Stoicescu pretend that the victims were members of the army of Mehmed II. In his biography about Vlad the Impaler, he stated that at a distance of several kilometres from Tîrgoviște, Mehmed II and his troops arrived at a plain field of three kilometres in length and one kilometre in depth covered with about 20,000 corpses staked on pales. Among those rotting corpses were a great number of soldiers from Mehmed’s army and even that of Hamza Pasha of Giurgiu,27 so Stoicescu concluded that Vlad III prepared this forest deliberately to frighten the sultan.28 Others underline the multinational character of that forest of corpses, claiming that the ‘executed adversaries of the prince, [included] Turks, Bulgarians, Germans, Hungarians, and noblemen,’ which also implies that it took several years to arrive finally at that high number of impaled victims.29 A direct link to the Ottomans and the sultan was therefore never intended. It is unnecessary to say that the ‘Forest of the Impaled’ is a famous motive whenever Vlad III is the focus of interest. Already the woodcuts of the 15th century show the Wallachian prince dining among the impaled corpses of his victims.30 Nevertheless, especially for TV and cinema, such a gruesome and yet colourful scene is a perfect trigger to underline both the prince’s ruthlessness and cruelty and the harsh conditions of the late medieval times. Therefore, Bram Stoker’s Dracula from 1992 opens with such an impalement scene,31 but already more than ten years earlier, Romanian director Doru Năstase showed sultan Mehmed II riding thorough the pales of that freaky forest in his famous historical drama Vlad Țepeș (1979).32

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__________________________________________________________________ 4. So what do We Really Know about that ‘Forest of the Impaled’? The whole story is indeed hard to believe, and already some first reflections are sufficient to come to that conclusion. Just the sheer number of victims – 20,000 – is a big deal for the 15th century considering that large cities like Brussels or Cologne had in the midst of that century around 40,000 inhabitants, that a naval hub like Hamburg counted about 15,000 people, and that important cities like Frankfurt am Main only had about 10,000.33 The same situation was to be found in Transylvania – Kronstadt / Brașov had at the end of the 16th century between 8,000 and 9,000 inhabitants; Hermannstadt / Sibiu is believed to have had about 6,000, and the other Saxon cities seem to have had between 2,000 and 3,000 residents each.34 Just those few numbers show that Vlad III would have impaled the equivalent of two or three complete Transylvanian cities to create such a forest of executed people. In addition, 20,000 impalements would consume 20,000 pales. That is a whole forest, and it would have required a huge number of lumberjacks to cut down that number of trees in an appropriate time and manner. And then there would have still been the need to prepare all those trees in order to make pales for use in that mass execution. If we presume that the forest was made up on purpose to shock the Ottoman enemies, then all that had to be done in an uncomfortable pressure of time, amidst a war against a well-organised Ottoman army. This is just impossible. But even if we suppose that this forest was more an ordinary execution site and had grown for several years, its dimensions and the numbers of pales remain beyond anything similar we know from 15th century Europe. This logistical element is another detail putting the ‘Forest of the Impaled’ under more than just a slight suspicion of being exaggerated if not invented altogether. We should also not forget that impalement is a time and manpower consuming way of killing a man if it is properly done by the rectum. Just raising up and fixing the pale in the ground requires several strong men and a certain amount of time. And impalement by the rectum has to be done slowly and carefully because the main idea of this method was a certain but slow death that could take hours. So the pale has to be inserted in the victim very carefully in order to prevent heavy injuries of the internal organs leading to an immediate death.35 Here is a quite explicit description of it: There are varying suggestions on the method of impalement, but the most common way was to pin down or fasten the victim to the ground and attach a rope to each leg. These ropes could then be attached to a horse, for example, or be pulled by one or two other people. A sharpened stake is then inserted into the anus of the victim and their body forcibly pulled onto the stake by the ropes attached to the legs. The stake would then be hoisted up and inserted into the ground, leaving the victim trapped on the

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__________________________________________________________________ stake. Over time (perhaps several hours or sometimes days) the body would slowly slip further onto the stake with the sharpened end working its way up through the abdominal region, into the chest and eventually puncturing through the chest, or exiting via the throat or the mouth.36 Even when improperly done by driving the stake through the body, this style of execution takes time. But since time was a factor that was too important to fritter away by killing people that slowly, it seems again quite unlikely that the forest really existed. Furthermore, as mentioned above, there are inconsistencies about the location of that forest. Close to the town, nearby, 60 miles away – even when we take into account the fact that geographical accuracy was only a soft skill for those who pretend to give an account about that mass impalement – the gaps between the different locations of the forest are hard to ignore. In addition, such an execution site would infest a large area near a town with rotten corpses and an incredible stench. Taking together all this data and reflections, the ‘Forest of the Impaled’ is likely nothing more than a propaganda story that may be based on some real events, such as well-known occurrences of smaller scale executions by impalement and the cruelties of war. Finally, there is another interesting hint: Hans Edelmaier, author of a recently published biography of Vlad the Impaler,37 points out that on the propagandistic woodcuts of Saxon / German origin, Vlad III is depicted sitting among a group of impaled people and eating his lunch. However, those victims are just on pales driven through their bodies in various ways. None of them was impaled by the rectum. This could be a clue to a post mortem impalement – the aim was then not an execution, but to act as a deterrence by exposing killed people in a clearly visible manner.38 This way of deterrence is similar to that of putting a head on a stake to fix it at the city’s gate or leaving the hanged delinquent on the rope at the gallows. It is still a terrible scene, but it is not that barbaric, ‘oriental’ brutality Vlad III was generally blamed for. But where does the ‘Forest of the Impaled’ come from? Is it pure invention of some Saxon / German authors to villainise the Wallachian prince? Well, for the Orthodox and then Ottoman tradition, the Corpus Draculianum may help us to give an answer. Laonikos Chalkokondyles (before 1430 – after 1464) was the author of the Ἀποδείξεις Ἱστοριῶν (‘Proofs of History’), a history of the world from 1298 to 1463 in 10 volumes; Vlad the Impaler and his war with the Ottomans of 1462 hardly slipped into the last volume. Chalkokondyles was then obviously the source for other later(?) Ottoman authors as he mentioned a kind of forest of 20,000 wooden pales found by Ottoman troops near Tîrgoviște, on which Vlad III allegedly fixed men, women, and even children. Chalkokondyles even gives gruesome details like toddlers impaled together with their mothers or of birds

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__________________________________________________________________ building their nests in the abdomens of some of the impaled people.39 The details he gives may explain why Vlad III was known among the Ottomans as Kazıklı Voyvoda (the Impaler Voievode). But Chalkokondyles does not evoke any idea that this site of impalement was either the result of a very quickly done mass execution or something done as deterrence for the Ottomans. He describes simply a large execution site with impaled victims in a way that underlines the ruthlessness of Vlad III. This moment is later entered, somewhat changed, in several Ottoman chronicles like Tarih-i Ebü’l Feth (‘History of the Conqueror’) of Ṭūrsūn Beğ (1426 – after 1491)40 or Hašt Behešt (‘The Eight Paradises’) of Idrīs Bitlīsi (died 1520).41 While Chalkokondyles, writing from the perspective of an Orthodox Greek, described a ruthless man, the latter authors changed Vlad’s portrait to display a sense of pure despotism and even madness. For Ṭūrsūn Beğ for example, Vlad III was bloodthirsty, despotic, impertinent, and of course also a kāfir (infidel). Quite at the beginning of his depiction of the campaign against Vlad III, Ṭūrsūn Beğ presents the following lines: In front of the wooden fortress, which served him as his unfortunate see of reign, this madman had erected two large fences, securing an area of six miles, and he had planted there a thorny coppice, calling it his palace gardens. The space between those two fences was filled up with the impaled corpses of Hungarian infidels, and even with corpses of infidels from his own land and those of infidels from Moldavia. And as the surroundings of his fortress was densely wooded and had a lot of trees, at each branch hung several executed men. He placed an order that every man, who dared to take down a hanged one, should be hanged immediately at his place.42 Here, we can state important variations of the ‘Forest of the Impaled.’ Ṭūrsūn Beğ does not tell a story about a forest of pales erected especially to terrorise the Ottoman troops – no, here we have a mad ruler killing his own people just to secure his position. The whole behaviour is deviant, and the kinky ‘palace garden’ with the rotting corpses of the impaled victims is not situated in the midst of the text, but the very beginning of the report about the campaign of Mehmed II against Vlad III, underlining from the very beginning the mad character of the Wallachian ruler. Idrīs Bitlīsi retold that story later and became, together with Ṭūrsūn Beğ, the initial point for another Ottoman anecdotic tradition, that of the kinky palace garden. All those works mentioned above have been written either to show the harshness of the Wallachian leader of the Christian resistance against the Ottomans (in the case of Chalkokondyles) or to glorify the Ottoman Empire. The ‘Forest of the Impaled’ seems to be an exaggerated literary episode to show the ruthlessness

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__________________________________________________________________ as well as the cruelty of Vlad III and changed later not only in the structure of the forest itself, but also in the intention of the authors as well as its position in the anecdotes. Vlad III became in those texts a madman impaling everyone he wanted to see executed, and for that purpose he just created a kind of forest nearby his palace. The idea of deterring the Ottoman army got lost. On the contrary, the sources for Beheim’s depiction of Vlad the Impaler have to be searched for in Transylvania and not in the Ottoman Empire. He has a clear focus on atrocities against the Saxon tradesmen and fills this up with episodes from within Wallachia. The war with the Ottomans is only one element in the whole poem – his struggle with the Saxon merchants is much more important. As Michael Beheim’s poem was written in 1463, the very same year as the last volume of Chalkokondyles’ Ἀποδείξεις Ἱστοριῶν, so it may at a first glance seem that one took that number from the other; however, one should not forget that while both wrote their texts in that very same year, this does not mean that the texts would have been published immediately, and indeed Chalkokondyles last volume took its time to be published. In addition, there are is no proof that Chalkokondyles read any of Beheim’s poems or that Beheim took notice of anything coming out of the Ottoman Empire. Far more realistic is the theory that both used hearsay and local sources from Transylvania and Wallachia about the certain impalements of Vlad III and the pretended number of victims, creating thus the un-fairy tale of the ‘Forest of the Impaled.’ But while the broadsheets of Saxon origin repeated again and again the same story, the tradition in the Ottoman Empire changed that story, which was then retold by authors following on Chalkokondyles. 5. Thinking about the Monstrous Dracula… Within the frame of the volume this chapter is published in, it seems to be natural to hold on for a moment to reflect on all that has been said until now. In both discursive traditions, the German/Saxon one as well as in the Ottoman one, Vlad the Impaler became a gruesome ruler, a tyrant, a mass murderer, even a kind of a madman – a villain so to speak, not that far away from those literary villains Toby Manning refers to in his chapter of this volume.43 It is here the place to remark that in the Orthodox area of Europe, may it be the Romanian lands, Bulgaria or Russia, Vlad always had a completely different reputation, namely that of a strict and harsh, but far-minded and careful ruler. So why was this monsterlike image of Vlad III such a sweeping success? The answer to that question has a lot to do with the image of the ‘other.’ Besides the fact that Vlad III was indeed a ruthless and belligerent man with a whole bunch of enemies who were able to control the image of him in a wider public area, he was also perfect for transporting images of ‘otherness.’ In the Ottoman area he represented a Christian madman and a traitor of the Ottoman Empire. In the German or, much better to say, Catholic and Protestant parts of Europe, his image was more complex. On the one side of course a kind of fighter

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__________________________________________________________________ against the Muslim enemy, but at the very same time, he was also someone who was difficult to put in the lines of Christian rulers, as they were known in Central or Western Europe. This explains the sometimes disturbing portraits of Vlad III on the woodcuts. Some of them show him as an Ottoman ruler as one would expect it in a history of the Ottoman Empire, while another one depicts him in a very unusual way as a bearded man wearing a baseball cap-like headpiece. All that together, the stories about him, the woodcuts, the figures and drawings, lead to an early and well-fixed idea of him. They became the sources for the popular image about Vlad III and remained for a long time uncontested by the sources one can find in the archives. 6. Final Remarks So what would be the end of all this? Is there any conclusion we can draw from all those things mentioned above? Let me focus on three things. First and foremost – back to the sources. And going back to the sources means also to read them – or at least a good part of them – in their original languages. There is much more than just the material we have read again and again and which now is already worn out. Linked to this is the second remark – as important as methodological discussions are, we should not forget that history is much more than that. We may and we should discuss the way we think about history. We should ask ourselves if our particular focus on historical events is well chosen, if we may be blind to some historical phenomena, or if we have to alter the aims of what we are doing. Historians should always be very critical with their own business, with themselves, and even with their self-reflections. There is always a moment where they have to go back to the sources to probe those methodological basics.44 Finally – historians should learn languages. As much as possible. The more languages not familiar to a Western scholar one can speak or at least read, the better. And I do not think that it is an unpleasant task to do.

Notes 1

Paul Barber, Vampires, Burial, and Death. Folklore and Reality (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1988), 1. 2 Hiltgart L. Keller, Reclams Lexikon der Heiligen und biblischen Gestalten. Legende und Darstellung in der bildenden Kunst (Stuttgart: Verlag Philipp Reclam jun., 9th edition, 2001), 237. 3 Otto Wimmer, Kennzeichen und Attribute der Heiligen (Innsbruck and Vienna: Tyrolia Verlag, 2000), 137-138, including an image of a statue of Fridolin with a skeleton by his side. 4 Ralph Peter Märtin, Dracula. Das Leben des Fürsten Vlad Țepeș (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuchverlag, 1991).

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__________________________________________________________________ 5

Meirion J.Trow, Vlad the Impaler: In Search of the Real Dracula (Stroud: Sutton Publishing, 3rd reprint, 2006). 6 Ibid., picture no. 10. 7 Ibid., picture no. 13. 8 See Matei Cazacu, L’histoire du prince Dracula en Europe centrale et orientale (XVe siècle). Présentation, édition critique, traduction et commentaire (Genève: Librarie Droz, 1996), 92-103. 9 Still informative for this poem is the dissertation of Gregor C. Conduratu, Michael Beheims Gedicht über den Woiwoden Wlad II. Drakul. Mit historischen und kritischen Erläuterungen (PhD diss., Leipzig University, 1903). The text of the poem can be found in Cazacu, L’histoire du prince Dracula, 104-153. 10 One has to point out that his image in Romania as well as in the Orthodox world is very different from that. Here he is a strict, grim, but lawful ruler and a defender of the true Christian faith. 11 Tim Burford and Dan Richardson, The Rough Guide to Romania (London: Rough Guides, 3rd edition, 2001), 96. 12 Nicolae Stoicescu, Vlad Țepeș (Bucharest: Editura Academiei Republicii Socialiste România, 1976). 13 The most detailed biography of Skanderbeg is the huge monograph of Oliver Jens Schmitt, Skanderbeg. Der neue Alexander auf dem Balkan (Regensburg: Verlag Friedrich Pustet, 2009). 14 Ibid., 340-347. 15 Heiko Haumann, Dracula. Leben und Legende (München: C. H. Beck, 2011), 33. 16 William Wilkinson, An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia, Reprint of the first edition London, Longmans, 1820 (New York: Arno Press, 1971), 17-19. 17 Ibid., 17. 18 Ibid., 19. 19 Robert Eighteen-Bisang and Elizabeth Miller, eds., Bram Stoker’s Notes for Dracula. A Facsimile Edition (Jefferson/NC and London: McFarland & Company, 2008), 285. 20 Thomas M. Bohn, Adrian Gheorghe and Albert Weber, eds., Corpus Draculianum (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2013 and following). 21 Cazacu, L’histoire du prince Dracula, 76, gives as an example the atrocities against Catholic clerics. For the German tradition, they are horrific as Vlad acts here against the faith of the pamphlets’ authors. In the Eastern tradition, those acts are not that interesting, as an orthodox ruler punishes clerics from the rival confession. 22 Ștefan Andreescu, Vlad Țepeș (Dracula). Între legendă și adevăr istoric (București: Editura Minerva, 1976), 231-244, makes a comparison and indentifies

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__________________________________________________________________ 10 stories that appear in both the German and the East Slavic tradition, so for example the story of the wife impaled for a too short shirt or the execution of all the sick and poor people of the country. 23 Cazacu, L’histoire du prince Dracula, 69, points out that the Russian version from the end of the 15th century does not mention any story or anecdote in relation with the Saxons. 24 ‘Vlad the Impaler,’ viewed on 30 January 2015, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vlad_the_Impaler. Interesting enough, the source for that is not a biography about Vlad III, but a popular book about vampires: Thomas Garza, The Vampire in Slavic Cultures (San Diego/CA: Cognella, 2010), 145–146. 25 Märtin, Dracula, 124. More detailed information is given by Andreescu, Vlad Țepeș, 115, who concluded from data given in the sources that this forest of impaled men must have been located about 5 km outside the walls. 26 Radu R. Florescu and Raymond T. McNally, Dracula, Prince of Many Faces. His Life and His Times (Boston/MA, Toronto and London: Little, Brown and Company, 1989), 147. 27 This indeed is evidence for a longer use of that pretended execution site. The campaign of Mehmed II took place in summer 1462, but Hamza Pasha was captured and killed in January. If Hamza Pasha was to be found among the impaled, he would have been there on a stake already for half a year. 28 Stoicescu, Vlad Țepeș, 113. 29 Märtin, Dracula, 124. 30 ‘Vlad III. Drăculea,’ viewed on 30 January 2015, http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vlad_III._Drăculea#mediaviewer/File:Broimp.jpg. 31 ‘Ferdy on Films: “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”,’ viewed on 30 January 2015, http://www.ferdyonfilms.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/BSDracula03.jpg. The whole opening scene (0:28 to 7:15) is awesome… Gary Oldman’s Romanian is worth hearing: Bram Stoker’s Dracula, dir. Francis Ford Coppola. Culver City/CA: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2002, DVD. 32 ‘Vlad Țepeș (1979),’ viewed on 30 January 2015, http://www.cinemarx.ro/filme/poze/Vlad-Tepes-Vlad-Tepes16813,59044.html#photo. 33 For more detailed figures, see Frank G. Hirschmann, Die Stadt im Mittelalter (München: Oldenbourg Verlag, 2009), 18-19. 34 Béla Köpeczi, ed., Kurze Geschichte Siebenbürgens (Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó, 1990), 273. 35 Sigmund Stiassny, Die Pfählung. Eine Form der Todesstrafe. Kultur- und rechtshistorische Studie (Wien: Manz, 1903), 23-27, reveals the gruesome details of that execution process. 36 Matthew Beresford, From Demons to Dracula. The Creation of the Modern Vampire Myth (London: Reaktion Books, 2008), 82-83.

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__________________________________________________________________ 37

Hans Edelmaier, Dracula. Wojwode der Walachei Vlad III. Zepesch ca. 14301476. Staatsmann – Feldherr – Medienopfer (Salzburg: Österreichischer Milizverlag, 2014). 38 Ibid., 210. 39 Bohn, Gheorghe, Weber, eds, Corpus Draculianum, 35. 40 Ibid., 119. 41 Ibid., 195. 42 Ibid., 118. Translation made by myself from both the Ottoman and the German text. 43 See Toby Manning, ‘Fanatics and Absolutists: Communist Monsters in John le Carré’s Cold War Fiction,’ in this volume. 44 About the importance of going back to the sources, one can read Adriana Spahr, ‘Unveiling the Truth through Testimony: The Argentinean Dirty War,’ in this volume.

Bibliography Andreescu, Ștefan. Vlad Țepeș (Dracula). Între legendă și adevăr istoric. București: Editura Minerva, 1976. Barber, Paul. Vampires, Burial, and Death. Folklore and Reality. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1988. Beresford, Matthew. From Demons to Dracula. The Creation of the Modern Vampire Myth. London: Reaktion Books, 2008. Bohn, Thomas M., Adrian Gheorghe and Albert Weber, eds. Corpus Draculianum. Vol. 3, Die Überlieferung aus dem Osmanischen Reich. Postbyzantinische und osmanische Autoren. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2013. Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Culver City/CA: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2002. DVD. Burford, Tim and Dan Richardson. The Rough Guide to Romania. 3rd edition. London: Rough Guides, 2001. Cazacu, Matei. L’histoire du prince Dracula en Europe centrale et orientale (XVe siècle). Présentation, édition critique, traduction et commentaire. Genève: Librarie Droz, 1996.

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__________________________________________________________________ Conduratu, Gregor C. Michael Beheims Gedicht über den Woiwoden Wlad II. Drakul. Mit historischen und kritischen Erläuterungen. PhD diss., Leipzig University, 1903. Edelmaier, Hans. Dracula. Wojwode der Walachei Vlad III. Zepesch ca. 14301476. Staatsmann – Feldherr – Medienopfer. Salzburg: Österreichischer Milizverlag, 2014. Eighteen-Bisang, Robert and Elizabeth Miller, eds. Bram Stoker’s Notes for Dracula. A Facsilie Edition. Jefferson/NC and London: McFarland & Company, 2008. ‘Ferdy on Films: “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”.’ Viewed on 30 January 2015. http://www.ferdyonfilms.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/BSDracula03.jpg. Florescu, Radu R. and Raymond T. McNally. Dracula, Prince of Many Faces. His Life and His Times. Boston, Toronto and London: Little, Brown and Company, 1989. Garza, Thomas. The Vampire in Slavic Cultures. San Diego/CA: Cognella, 2010. Haumann, Heiko. Dracula. Leben und Legende. München: C. H. Beck, 2011. Hirschmann, Frank G. Die Stadt im Mittelalter. München: Oldenbourg Verlag, 2009. Keller, Hiltgart L. Reclams Lexikon der Heiligen und biblischen Gestalten. Legende und Darstellung in der bildenden Kunst. Stuttgart: Verlag Philipp Reclam jun., 9th edition, 2001. Köpeczi, Béla, ed. Kurze Geschichte Siebenbürgens. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó, 1990. Märtin, Ralph Peter. Dracula. Das Leben des Fürsten Vlad Țepeș. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuchverlag, 1991. Schmitt, Oliver Jens. Skanderbeg. Der neue Alexander auf dem Balkan. Regensburg: Verlag Friedrich Pustet, 2009. Stiassny, Sigmund. Die Pfählung. Eine Form der Todesstrafe. Kultur- und rechtshistorische Studie. Wien: Manz, 1903.

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__________________________________________________________________ Stoicescu, Nicolae. Vlad Țepeș. Bucharest: Editura Academiei Republicii Socialiste România, 1976. Trow, Meirion J. Vlad the Impaler. In Search of the Real Dracula. Stroud: Sutton Publishing, 3rd reprint, 2006. ‘Vlad III. Drăculea.’ Viewed on 30 January 2015. http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vlad_III._Drăculea#mediaviewer/File:Broimp.jpg. ‘Vlad the Impaler.’ Viewed on 30 January 2015. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vlad_the_Impaler. ‘Vlad Țepeș (1979).’ Viewed on 30 January 2015. http://www.cinemarx.ro/filme/poze/Vlad-Tepes-Vlad-Tepes16813,59044.html#photo. Wilkinson, William. An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia. Reprint of the first edition, London: Longmans, 1820. New York: Arno Press, 1971. Wimmer, Otto. Kennzeichen und Attribute der Heiligen. Innsbruck and Vienna: Tyrolia Verlag, 2000. Peter Mario Kreuter graduated from University of Bonn (Magister Artium 1997, Dr. phil. 2001) and has working experience as both a scholar and researcher in history, linguistics, and ethnography, and as the scientific backbone of radio and TV documentations about history and popular folk beliefs in South-eastern Europe, especially about the popular belief in vampires. He is a Senior Researcher at the Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies in Regensburg, Germany. He is the managing editor of Südost-Forschungen (Regensburg) and was between 2011 and 2016 one of the editors of Monsters and the Monstrous (ID.Net).



Unveiling the Truth through Testimony: The Argentinean Dirty War Adriana Spahr Abstract Between 1975 and 1983 Argentina experienced the worst internal conflicts of its entire history. The rise of the military power started during the last period of Isabel Peron’s government and continued through the military takeover from 1976-1984. The excuse for overthrowing the weak Argentinian democracy was to destroy the monstrous guerrilla fighters who wanted to destroy the foundations of Western and Christian society in Argentina. The media and society in general supported the military’s point of view. As a result, the guerrilla fighters along with anyone who disagreed with those in power were persecuted and exterminated in monstrous ways by the military and other members of the Argentinian security forces. Soon, the ones who ate the monsters became worse monsters: thousands of Argentinians became desaparecidos [the disappeared]. These measures allowed the new monster to keep detainees in secret locations in terrible living conditions until they decided to kill them. Fortunately, some of these detainees survived and after the return of democracy in 1984, they began to share their traumatic experiences with the country. Their testimonies removed the blindfold that had fallen on Argentinian society during the time of the dictatorship. It is the aim of my paper to analyse the way in which testimonies (written and oral) have contributed not only to unveiling the truth but also, to give voice to the silenced – that is revealing the monstrosity of official history and replacing it with a (re)writing that better reflects the atrocities of one of the darkest periods in Argentinian history. Key Words: Argentina, dirty war, dictatorship, testimony, monstrous guerilla, power, disaparecido, truth. ***** K.K. Seet argues that the monster emerges as the transfigured notion of the doppelganger, or double of the Self.1 We are transfixed by it because ultimately it symbolizes our vulnerability as human beings. The doppelganger constantly challenges our perception that we, as human beings, are incapable of causing harm, that we are immune to the threat of becoming monstrous ourselves, because our very humanity is that fragile line that separates us from them. Therefore, we are driven to try to discover how, when, and where the monster appears from within us or when the monster swallows the human being. The focus of this chapter is to work through this transformation process by discussing the case of Argentina during its last military dictatorship (1976-1983). In order to better understand this process, we will examine the dynamic that existed between the coups d’état, the

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__________________________________________________________________ anti-establishment or opposition movements which brought them about, and those parts of Argentinean society that tried to destroy all opposition – the monsters and the monster that ate the monsters. Eight coups d’état took place in Argentina during the 20th century. Of these, six were successful: 1930-1932, 1943-1944, 1955-1958, 1962, 1966-1970 and the one discussed in this work, 1976-1983.2 The first of these coups established the conditions for all subsequent military coups in the country; no sooner had the 1930 coup taken place, than the Supreme Court made it legal by means of the doctrine of the coup d’état. In spite of the abolition of rights and constitutional guarantees, this doctrine guaranteed the legality and continuity of the acts already carried out, both civil and commercial, after the end of the dictatorship while also granting immunity from prosecution/impunity to members of the armed forces who had used force to accomplish the coup.3 Furthermore, it framed the message that would be given to the population in order to justify the coup: the democracy was faulty and weak, and a strong government could restore peace. However, the coups never did bring about the peace that they promised. The critic, Mario Bunge, states: The military coup of September 6th 1930 ended a period of half a century of internal peace and constant economic, political and cultural progress […]; [it was] the first time, since the execution of workers [1919 and 1922] that the government executed trade union activists; and also the first time, [since 1852] that the Catholic Church became involved in politics again […].4 Three elements appear clearly in the preceding quotation: the interruption of an economic plan, repression, and the aid of the church hierarchy. The armed forces were always the military arm of the traditional agricultural exporting oligarchy of the country, and their participation in politics was geared towards preventing any change within the economic system that could displace hegemonic groups, while also repressing and assassinating those who supported such changes. Since the country is defined by its Constitution as Roman Catholic,5 the political support of the Church did not come as any surprise. This dynamic of the coup d’état with minor variations lasted for fifty years (1930-1983). With each coup, the first task was to quieten the popular complaints and to prevent any type of mass demonstration such as strikes and organized protests. This type of social expression always reappeared with greater intensity during the democratic governments when all the constitutional guarantees were once again in effect.6 The demands of the middle class, and especially the feeling of terror caused by the economic power, were countered by the claims of the lower class through their street mobilisations. These demonstrations would call for different distribution of the country’s riches and this would ultimately affect the incomes of the more favoured classes. These favoured classes, never satisfied with their

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__________________________________________________________________ earnings, demonized, through the media, these lower class expressions of dissatisfaction, robbing them of their social credibility. They depicted them as that uncontrollable and chaotic other opposed to the foundational – although never clearly defined – Western and Christian values and [of] the civilized. They were monsters. Within this framework, the military arrived as the saviours of the country and the restorers of peace – a peace that was imposed by means of fear of imprisonment and death to those who opposed the coup (the latter, as we shall see, is one of the most significant characteristics of the coup of 1976). It is important to remember that the coups d’état were not cut off from international politics, and they received aid not only from the economic sectors that defended the traditional and conservative agricultural exporting class (and which were closely linked to world economic powers and the Catholic church) but also from others of the country’s political/economic sectors that believed that change would benefit them.7 One could say that the monster could be found in all levels of Argentinean society and politics – lower class, leftist groups and anyone opposing to the status quo of the society – and was, in many cases, a complex multi-headed beast that reached across long periods of time. For the military in 1930, the monster was the incipient middle class with its nationalist overtones and which was supported by popular movements. Later in 1955, the monster was the nationalist multiclass movement headed by General Juan Peron, the leader of the party bearing his name.8 In 1966 the monster was still Peronism and focused on student groups. Later, in 1976 the monster comprised all the leftist groups, including the radicalized left-wing of Peronism. We can say, therefore, that Peronism was demonized from its appearance as a party in 1945. From then on it was a political force that has influenced the destinies of Argentina up to the present day. To clarify, for the last 32 years, Argentina has been a democracy. In this time, it has had nine presidents. Of these, seven were known to be Peronists. However, none of them shared the same political position as Peron and they ranged from center-right to ultra rightwing. The Kirchners’ government (2001 – present day) is the only government with a slight protectionist/nationalist leaning that characterized Peronism in its beginning. From its beginnings, Peronism was a movement that claimed a third position for itself, one that was equidistant from capitalist individualism (United States) and Communist collectivism (USSR).9 It is interesting to note that Peronism has its roots in the heart of the armed forces. Juan Domingo Peron was part of the United Officers’ Group (Grupo de Oficiales Unidos), a secret organization within the army that appeared at the beginning of the 1940s. The political platform of Peronism, as well as attracting military personnel, included the promotion of labour and trade unions, along with economic independence, social justice and political sovereignty, which attracted socialists, communists, anarchists, and liberals, on account of the social demands of the lower class and the benefits of an economic expansion that Peronism offered to the middle class. These classes in turn were represented in

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__________________________________________________________________ political, civil, economic, and trade union organizations. During Peron’s first and second term in office, he was also demonized by his opponents as a Fascist and as a sympathizer with Hitler’s regime. This wrongful accusation was based on Argentina’s neutrality during WWII, which benefitted the economic development of the country and not the international interests or Argentina’s upper class. In 1955 Peron was overthrown and Peronism was banned. The following governments tried to destroy or at least decrease the power of Peronism. However, the movement survived in its different ideological manifestations. Since its creation the Peronist Party drew together in its heart irreconcilable extreme ideologies from anarchism to the right-wing, and from nationalism to Marxist-Leninism. Only the leader appeared to manage the multi-faceted ideologies, and depending on his political aims at a given moment, Peron encouraged one or the other of these extremes. From exile, after his defeat by the 1955 coup d’état, he encouraged (or at least did not disavow) all destabilization of governments of the moment so that the proscription imposed on Peronism would be eliminated; this destabilization included violence.10 It is not surprising, therefore, that the country’s first guerrilla movement, Uturuncos (1959), was Peronist.11 This radicalization in one sector of Peronism was not isolated; it was the result of a radicalization towards the left in Latin America and at the international level. In the middle of the 20th century in Latin America there arose guerrilla movements of a nationalistic and/or Marxist/Leninist nature which were influenced by the liberation movements in other parts of the world such as Angola (1975), Algeria (1962), Vietnam (1975), Cuba (1959), and the French May uprising (1968). Another important influential factor was the sermon of Pacem in Terris of Pope John XXIII in 1963. This sermon, based on the idea of universal peace, liberty, and charity, gave birth to liberation theology and the Movement for Priests of the Third World. The principles of this movement would be achieved through the implementation of social justice for the dispossessed, and this point merged with those of the leftist and guerrilla movements. Even though the goal of the latter was radical: they attempted, ideally, to replace the capitalist system, either totally or partially, and to completely break the connections with hegemonic economic powers at an international level, which, the movements believed, caused the social differences and the hardships of the majority of the population in their respective countries. In Argentina, as well in many other Latin American countries, it was not surprising to see religious people and leftist groups working in the same shantytowns trying to help the poor to improve their social and economic situation. To add to that, in Argentina, during the time that Peron was in exile, many people supported Peronism and worked to try to get the ban on Peronism lifted so that they could participate in politics legally. However, other radical groups could not be contained within this political and legal negotiation. Peron returned to Argentina in 1973. Peronists had been waiting for the return of Peron for 18 years, and he was

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__________________________________________________________________ elected president for the third time. It was believed that he would bring peace and prosperity to the country; the opposite occurred. Let’s recall that at the beginning of the 1970s, Argentina was marked by internal conflicts that exceeded those of its entire political history. On one hand were those idealistic political groups, consisting mainly of young people from the middle class – students and professionals of different political, religious and social orientations – who dedicated themselves to the idea that social changes based on the vindication of the dispossessed were possible. On the other hand were the social, political, and security institutions that viewed these minority groups as the other, those monsters who wanted to destroy the harmony and social peace of Argentina. Assisted by the political springtime, which began with the establishment of the Peronist government in 1973, thousands of these monsters (especially the left wing of the Peronist Movement) invaded the city streets, bringing with them grassroots, student, union, and professional organizations. These monstrous invasions took to the streets of the cities to celebrate social victories one day and to ask for social improvement in the various sectors of the Argentinian population on another. These revolutionary monsters also robbed banks and kidnapped businessmen in order to finance their operations and to provide economic aid as well as organizational and educational advice, mainly to poor neighbourhoods. Perhaps the most notorious event produced by the guerrilla movement was done by the leftist Peronist guerrilla organization Montoneros. Formed at the beginning of 1970 out of Roman Catholic groups, university students, and leftist supporters of Juan Peron, on September 19, 1974, they kidnapped the siblings, Jorge and Juan Born, head of the multinational corporation Bunge and Born based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The siblings were later freed for a $60 million USD ransom. The Marxist-Leninist group, the People’s Revolutionary Army (ERP/PRT), also kidnapped the United States citizen, John Thompson in June 1973, and the entrepreneur, Ordan Sallustro, who was killed by his kidnappers when Police Forces arrived at the place where he was detained. These monsters also executed members of the armed forces and politicians whom they accused of torturing and killing popular militants and members of civic and religious organizations.12 They executed trade unionists whom they accused of betraying their union members such as the Peronist General Secretary of the Steel Workers Agusto Timoteo Vandor (1923-1969), the labor trade unionist leader, also a Peronist, José Alonso (1917-1970), and General Secretary of the Workers’ General Confederation (CGT), Jose Ignacio Rucci (1924-1973). Montoneros, was accused of having killed the latter,13 although the organization neither confirmed nor denied its participation in this murder. In response to those actions, paramilitary groups emerged to combat the new monsters, which included both leftist Peronist guerrillas and Peronist groups. Members of the right-wing Peronists created the Triple A (Anti-Communist Alliance), which was linked to Peronist state officers, especially to Jose Lopez

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__________________________________________________________________ Rega, Minister of Social Welfare in Peron’s third government (1973-1974). Let us also note that one of the ways in which the leader maintained the balance in his already stated multi-ideological movement, was by supporting the action of one part of the movement in order to decrease the power of the other. Taking into consideration the rising power of the guerrilla movement, the tacit or implicit support of the leader to the Triple A can be inferred. Immediately after the death of Peron (July 1, 1974), the American Liberators Command Group was formed, mainly of Army officers. These groups were accused of 900 murders between 1973 and 1975.14 It is important to note that even though these groups collaborated with the chaos and destabilization of the government, they were never seen or depicted as monsters. The bodies of those labelled as real monsters – the guerrilla and leftist political organizations, combative trade unions, religious people, and anyone with the diffuse characterization of subversive – began to appear riddled with bullets or destroyed by bombs in different parts of the country. Supported by the media coverage of the events, the country was perceived to be on the verge of complete chaos – and the military intervened directly in Argentina. The rise of the military power had begun during the last period of Isabel Peron’s government, and continued through its takeover of the country from 1976 to 1984. Following tradition, the excuse for overthrowing the weak Argentinean democracy was – adapted to this specific political moment – the monstrous guerrilla fighters15 who wanted to destroy the foundations of Western and Christian society in Argentina. It did not take long for the media and society in general to support the military’s point of view: these monsters had to be destroyed (annihilated) so that they would not contaminate the rest of the country. In this way, Argentina began living the worst dictatorship in its history. Despite the fact that the armed forces maintained that there was a war in the country, a war which they called a dirty war, there never did exist such a confrontation between the military – who called themselves ‘the defenders of the Fatherland’ – and the revolutionary monsters, since the latter lacked resources, tactics, and strategies to confront the larger machine of the Argentinian army. Because of that, the period is also known as State Terrorism (even though the dictatorship called it the National Reorganization Process). During this time they implemented illegal practices: indiscriminate violence, persecution, systematic torture, the forced disappearance of people, and the manipulation of information. It is estimated that during this period the repressive forces eliminated 30,000 people.16 Even though the exact number of those who disappeared is not yet determined, it is believed that 90% of them were killed.17 One example of this is the case of the brothers Andres Luis and Daniel Alberto, nineteen and seventeen years old respectively, who were arrested in their home on May 21, 1976 along with their parents Luisa Ana Heck de Barciocco and her husband Alberto Orlando Barciocco. The family was last seen in the clandestine detention centre El Campito,

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__________________________________________________________________ but from that time onwards nothing more has been known about them.18 And so, in a short time, the defiant political monsters were captured by military groups, captures typically carried out under camouflage or hidden by darkness by entering the houses of these subversive monsters or catching them in public or private places. These gentlemen of the night, had not only extraordinary powers given to them by the doctrine of the coup d'état but they also appeared to have magical powers drawn from stories rooted in the cultural imaginary. These magical powers were similar to those of Regina, the stepmother in Once Upon a Time who could erase people’s memories; and to the powers of the unique ring of Lord of the Rings, which made the user invisible to others. But, as we, the followers of the series Once Upon a Time know, ‘all magic comes with a price.’19 So, just like Sauron, Tolkien’s character who loved order and loathed confusion, the Argentinian persecutors, the defenders of the Fatherland, were devoured by the monsters which they had been trying to eradicate; one could say that they had been seduced by the black magic.20 Under the power of such seduction, it would seem that the attributes accorded to the military by the coup d'état government were not sufficient. Holding all the authority of the institutional power which would have allowed them (if they wished) to judge, condemn, and execute those whom they accused of disrupting order, they still opted for illegality in their actions. General Acdel Edgardo Vilas was clear in this respect: I decided to dispense with justice, not without declaring a fight to the death with the judges and lawyers complicit with subversion […]. It was necessary to forget the teachings of the military college and the rules of conventional warfare where the formalisms (honour and ethics) are an essential part of military life. I decided to quarantine […] the guerrillas so that the most dangerous and most important would never make it to court. 21 Having been devoured by the lure of limitless power, they started to underestimate and forget the importance of what they had learnt (honour and ethics). So, in the hands of those in power, as in many places in the world, the defence of the Western and Christian values became the excuse for indiscriminately killing other fellow human beings. The sad thing in this case was that the curse fell on other sectors of society, from civilians to politicians to religious people, and even the international community. The same group of individuals gave explicit or implicit consent to the dictatorship and without them, as previously stated, no coup d’état could survive, as evidenced by the sequence of events in Argentina in 1943. With their support, this time the military was not satisfied with the excesses of the use of force of the previous coups d'état, but implemented terror through its plan of extermination, the evil plan of disappearing people.22

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__________________________________________________________________ A disappearance began with detaining a person and keeping his or her head covered by a hood or his or her eyes blindfolded. Blindfolding the detainee was to prevent the person from seeing those who had detained him or her and, as it would be discovered later, also to prevent the detainees from seeing the other detainees, in one of the 610 secret detention centres spread throughout the country.23 Even though some detention centres were hidden among the extensive camps of those same military establishments, such as El Campito in 3000 hectares belonging to the Campo de Mayo Regiment on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, others were in the city centre, such as, for example, the distinguished building of the Armada School of Mechanics. Other clandestine detention centres were located in abandoned public buildings (the Orletti Club) and estates (Quinta de Funes) and in neighbourhood police stations (Pozo de Banfield). Needless to say, many clandestine detention centres were located within the same areas in which the general populace lived, apparently unaware of their very existence. Another part of the society, people in general who were not persecuted by the security forces, was also affected by the black magic. Even though after the coup, the citizens would say that they did not know what had happened, it was difficult to ignore the reality of what was actually happening around them: the security forces, wearing civilian clothing that almost magically seemed to conceal them, would hunt the monsters right out in the open without any attempt to disguise their movements. Although they preferred the nighttime to enter the monsters’ houses, to take them away, they would also carry out their tasks at any time of the day. They dragged people from public places, from offices, factories, streets, universities, bars and any other locations where they could find them.24 The magic that involved fear, self-preservation, or indifference took over the general population. The civilians who witnessed the arrests did not see or hear anything. As a matter of fact, nobody appeared to have seen or heard anything. The forever critical and opinionated Argentinian society had become blind, deaf, and dumb. There were only murmurings; murmurings that the desperate relatives of those who had been arrested tried to follow in order to find information to help locate their missing loved ones.25 These relatives went in search of their loved ones – to government, military, and religious departmental offices but without any success: First, the dictatorship made people disappear. After, this same political institution denied that they had disappeared and, in this way the dictatorship made the disappeared disappear. Like a brutal magic trick they were doubly disappeared.26 The murmurings became louder rumours when those few fortunate people who had been freed from the detention camps came to speak to Human Rights Organizations and other international organizations once they had left Argentina.

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__________________________________________________________________ Thanks to the endeavours of these individuals, details of the living conditions endured by the detainees were revealed – they lived (this is a euphemism) not only blindfolded but shackled as well. After the first round of torture, if the prisoner survived, s/he was assigned a number.27 The purpose of this number was not only so that the other monsters would not remember the names of their fellow unfortunate detainees if they were freed, but also to take away any human trace from them. In other words, the prisoners would thus be transformed in such a manner that when the captors looked at them, they would not see human beings but rather the very monsters that they had imagined and had been trained to eliminate. The detainees were shown off like hunted animals by their captors, not only within the same group of the Armed Forces but also to other groups of the Armed Forces as trophies of war. Such was the case of Esther Norma Arrostito (1940-1978) one of the founders of the Montoneros organization.28 On December 2nd, 1976, official sources reported Arrostito’s death in a clash with a military patrol. She had, however, been arrested and imprisoned illegally at the Navy School of Mechanical Engineering/ Escuela Mecánica de la Armada.29 ESMA was a clandestine detention centre established between 1975 and 1983, through which passed 4,237 disappeared. The exact number of survivors is unknown, but it is estimated at between 70 and 200, which represents the highest percentage of survivors in the country; however, this didn’t make ESMA better than the other places of extermination. While she was at ESMA, Arostito’s legs were tied with chains and shackled to a wall, and then on January 15, 1978, she was put to death by a lethal injection of Pentothal.30 During their imprisonment, the detainees suffered unimaginable tortures that included: electric prods, mutilation, waterboarding, impaling, hitting, attacks with dogs, torture of children, and rape.31 Their dehumanization did not even end with their execution as in the case of Arostito; some were burned or thrown from planes into rivers and the ocean. This fact was later confirmed by former Navy Captain Adolfo Scilingo (1947- ), who is the only perpetrator of the genocide in the country who publicly recognized the participation of the Armed Forces in the illegal detention and the brutal death and disposal of opposition members’ bodies in the sea. He confessed: The Argentinean Navy decided that prisoners at the Navy School of Mechanical Engineering had to be eliminated by throwing them out to sea from Navy airplanes. Every Wednesday a flight was scheduled and a different Navy Officer was appointed on a rotating basis to take charge of those flights, so that most members of the Navy passed through the rotation process.[…] The ones who were selected for death, were taken to the [Buenos Aires city] airport, half asleep with a mild dose of a sedative drug, and deceived, into believing that they would be sent to a prison in Southern Argentina [this action was enforced to make

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__________________________________________________________________ the prisoners believe they had stopped being non-entities and finally being recognized as legal prisoners, thus their lives would be spared]. Once in flight they were given a second powerful dose to make them completely asleep. Then they were undressed and when the aircraft commander gave the order, stating that the airplane was far offshore, they were thrown one by one. The lieutenant opened the tailgate and from there we threw the detainees one by one into the ocean. [...] I participated in two flights and am responsible for thirteen people in the first flight and for seventeen in the second.32

Image 1: Front entrance of ESMA, taken from outside the gates. © 2014. Photo by and courtesy of Cristina Santos.

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__________________________________________________________________

Image 2: Inside ESMA in front of the Casino de Oficiales -- the building used as a clandestine detention centre-- looking across the street. © 2014. Photo by and courtesy of Cristina Santos.

Image 3: Inside Olimpo from the second floor of the structure used as a clandestine detention centre. © 2014. Photo by and courtesy of Cristina Santos.

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__________________________________________________________________ Through their horrible actions the military and its ruling government thus became the monster that ate the subversive monster, but like any monster, its appetite was not satiated but only increased; it killed its political adversaries, whether local or foreign, and it seized and/or sold new-born children whose mothers it had killed;33 it took over the farms/ranches of rich people and the houses and belongings of those it had arrested.34 Nothing was beyond its power; it was the power. While these monstrous things were occurring, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, which one would expect to help the dispossessed (the ones who were suffering), was actually in league with the ruling power. This alliance between the military and the Church had existed since the conquest of the Americas, and like the Crusades, it colonized with the sword and the cross. It is not surprising, therefore, that this relationship continued. In Argentina, the complicity of this sector of the Church was never clearer than during the last military dictatorship. Since, the upper classes, the high ranks of the Church, and military forces shared the same political and ideological ideas, they became united to defend what they considered Western Christian values. For the Church ‘Marxism was a negation of Christ and its Church,’35 and for the Armed Forces Marxism was a danger not only to the national security but a regional as well as an international one, as seen by the Government of United States and as stated in the so-called Plan Condor.36 However, not all the members of the Church agreed with the position of its hierarchy. On one hand, many priests and archbishops, following the doctrine of Pacem in Terris sympathized with the suffering of their flocks and the poor. Before the dictatorship they had worked to improve their living conditions. Some of them abandoned the priesthood to joint radical movements, and all of them suffered repression at the hand of the Armed Forces. During the dictatorship, other members of the Church allied themselves with the first groups of relatives of the disappeared looking for loved ones. These priests made spaces available for the relatives to meet and organize. On the other hand, the archbishop of the same diocese suggested to the desperate relatives that he/the Church was not going to help them.37 This case, which occurred in one of the western provinces of Argentina, was repeated in many other places in the country. While the papal nuncio Pio Laghi (1922-2009), the president of the Catholic Church in Argentina, Raul Primatesta (1919-2006), and other bishops of the episcopal conference worked with the military to control the situation of the families of the disappeared, the mothers of Plaza de Mayo were denied entry into religious institutions and seminarians, priests, nuns, bishops, and monks were assassinated, tortured or disappeared by the armed forces.38 Perhaps one of the most emblematic cases in which the Church was involved in helping the military was in 1979. Due to the high number of Human Rights violations in Argentina in International Forums, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights visited the country. Its targets were the clandestine detention centres, specifically the Navy School of Mechanical Engineering/ Escuela Mecánica de la Armada. When they arrived the detainees at

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__________________________________________________________________ ESMA were surreptitiously transferred to ‘El silencio’ [The silence] island, property of the Church, which had just been sold to the Army for the purpose of hiding their prisoners from the Human Rights Commission.39 In 1983, owing to the flood of denunciations at an international level and the production of the first testimonies written by survivors, the first democratic government after the Argentinian coup d’état was forced to form a commission to evaluate the long list of violations of human rights.40 Those whom the dictatorship had tried to dehumanize (by means of torture) and whose memories they had tried to suppress,41 those blindfolded people, tried in every one of their declarations to break the spell that had enveloped the Argentinean society. Each declaration was intended to remove the blindfold from the eyes of, not only the individual, but also from the entire country, and ultimately they started to restore the country’s lost and subverted memory: the monster created by those in power vanished. In much the same way, the articles by Toby Manning and Peter Mario Kreuter in this section allow us to observe the mechanisms used to create the figure of the monster.42 Both Manning and Kreuter, one from literary fiction and the other from a fictionalized history (owing to the lack of investigative exactitude), emphasize the necessity of a unilateral point of view as a requirement to construct the figure of the monster. This comes about because the monster is ultimately denied the possibility to speak for itself. Thus, all human characteristics are continually erased, and the struggle, as it has been from millenary time, is set up in binary terms: we represent Good and what is acceptable, and the Other is constructed as Evil and disposable. This, to return to the topic of this article, allows the possible excesses incurred by those in power to maintain the status quo when the interests of the privileged class are threatened. However, these excesses were impossible to hide, at least in the case of Argentina, owing to the tenacity and the indefatigable efforts of the relatives of the political prisoners and the Disappeared. They were the first to defy the fabricated figure of the monster created by the media to justify the killing of thousands upon thousands of citizens in the most apprehensible fashion at the hands of an insatiable political monster of the dirty war. In 1985, under Raúl Alfonsin’s, first democratic government (1983-1989) after the dictatorship, the head of the insatiable monster, the highest-ranking member of the armed forces, was judged and imprisoned for the first time for his atrocities. In 1989, President Menem decreed the first amnesty to free military officers accused and convicted of violations of human rights. It also included the top leader of the Montoneros organization, Mario Firmenich (1948- ). The purpose of the president’s actions was to calm down military forces calling for reconciliation. A year later, the president signed another amnesty for the purpose of freeing other military forces accused of charges unrelated to human rights violations (uprising, Falklands War) and members of the leftist organization MTP (All for the Fatherland) in 1989, who had tried to take a barracks at La Tablada / Buenos Aires. Then, in 2003, the Argentinean Sauron – the military junta – was finally defeated

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__________________________________________________________________ when the democratic governments of the Kirchners (Nestor [2003-2007] and Cristina [2007-the present]) fully supported the struggles of the Human Rights Organization in Argentina, and the Supreme Court declared the previous military amnesties illegal.43 In 2010, top ranked military officers were convicted of illegal appropriation of missing children during the dictatorship. Furthermore, the human rights organization, Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, dedicated their work to the search for the approximately 500 children of those mothers who were pregnant when they were detained and disappeared during the dictatorship. By August 22, 2014, the organization had found 115 children. The tenacity of the members of human rights organizations, the production of texts about the period, and the oral and written testimonies of the surviving victims and their relatives made it possible for Argentinian society to begin to accept and talk about what they had kept to themselves. Present day judgments are not only directed at the members of all the security forces, but also at civilians implicated in the violation of human rights during the military dictatorship. Within the last two years, in the sentencing of military members, some judges have made reference to the sad participation of the Church in the defence of its parishioners during this period.44 The importance of such testimonies is also revealed in the judicial process: the judges could only prosecute people accused of the disappearance of persons through the accusations of others since they lacked hard evidence. The hard evidence, specifically the bodies of the disappeared, was never recovered; nor have the military forces ever admitted that they kidnapped people. Despite these achievements of the human rights organizations, which place Argentina as a pioneer in the defence of human rights and the work carried out to prevent a culture of forgetting, can we say that this monster is really dead? Or simply that it is crouched down waiting for another opportune moment to attack? Can we say that Argentinian society has assumed responsibility for what happened in the country and has understood that the monster does not live outside of ourselves but is an integral part of our essence? Further research has to be undertaken to determine the overall complicity of Argentinian society and the religious, political, and social organizations of the time. The Nuremberg trials (1945-46), the shattered bodies of women in the city of Juarez in Mexico, the systematic human rights violations in different parts of the world today, all owing to egotism and thirst for power, prove otherwise: the monster within us is not really dead. It is true that the monster acts as a mirror of ourselves and it is because of this that we are attracted by it. However, nothing will change if, in the image reflected in the mirror, we do not recognize ourselves and continue looking for the monster outside of ourselves. If this is the case, as Jean Franco says, the historical conditions that transform us into monsters or accomplices of monsters (lie) in wait for us all.45

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Notes 1

K. K. Seet, ‘Mothers and Daughters: Abjection and the Monstrous-Feminine in Japan’s “Dark Water” and South Korea’s “A Tale of Two Sisters,”’ Camera Obscura: A Journal of Feminism, Culture, and Media Studies 24:2 71 (2009): 142143. 2 As we only counted those successful coups against governments elected by popular vote, we did not mention those presidents, as in the case of Arturo Frondizi, president from 1958 to 1962, who, although deposed by a military coup, were not succeeded by a dictatorship. Nor have we counted the different presidents during the same dictatorship. For example, within the dictatorship of 1976-1983 there were the following presidents: Rafael Videla (1976-1981), General Roberto Viola (1981), General Leopoldo Galtieri (1981-1982) and Reynoldo Bignioni (1982-1983). 3 Felix, Luna, Historia Integral de la Argentina: El país y el mundo, vol. 7 (Buenos Aires: Planeta, 1997), 88-89. In 1994, the doctrine of the coups d’état was abolished by the modification of the National Constitution. ‘Nuevos derechos y garantías,’ Constitución nacional Argentina, P1 C1 A36, viewed 15 December 2014, http://www.constitution.org/cons/argentin.htm. 4 Bunge, Mario ‘El inicio de la decadencia,’ Perfil, September 29 2009, viewed 12 January 2015, http://www.perfil.com/columnistas/El-inicio-de-la-decadencia20090929-0029.html. 5 ‘Declaraciones, Derechos y Garantías,’ Constitución nacional Argentina, P1 C1 A2, viewed 15 December 2014, http://www.constitution.org/cons/argentin.htm. 6 Ibid., A14 and 14b. 7 Without the help of national and external sectors, no coup d’état can remain in power, as occurred with the coup d’état of 1943. The external support always depended on the hegemonic powers. So, Argentina was dependent economically on England (after the independence of the country (1810) and the United States (after 1950). The only time that Argentina enjoyed a relative independence on a global level was during the Second World War and the period immediately after. During this time, Argentina was able to develop a strong light industry. This occurred mainly during the first two nationalist governments of Juan Peron (1946-1951) and (1951-1955). 8 Norberto, Galasso, Peron: formación, ascenso y caída 1893-1955) (Buenos Aires: Colihue, 2006), 139-142, 144-145. 9 Agencia de Noticias Peronista, ‘Juan Domingo Perón ante la Asamblea Legislativa en 1952. La tercera posición,’ Escalada peronista, Decembre 19, 2013, A1, viewed on January 18, 2015,

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__________________________________________________________________ http://escaladaperonista.blogspot.ca/2013/12/juan-domingo-peron-ante-laasamblea.html. Viewed Jan 18, 2015. 10 Adriana Spahr, La sonrisa de la amargura 1973-1982. La historia Argentina a través de tres novelas de Osvaldo Soriano (Buenos Aires: Corregidor, 2006), 5155. 11 Ernesto Salas, Uturuncos el origen de la guerrilla peronista (Buenos Aires: Biblos, 2006), 36. 12 Alejandro Garcia, La crisis Argentina, 1966-1972: Notas y documentos sobre una época de violencia política (Murcia: Universidad de Murcia, Secretariado de Publicaciones, 1994), 39-40. 13 Ibid., Garcia 61-63. 14 Marcos Novaro and Vicente Palermo, La dictadura militar 1976/1983. Del golpe de estado a la restauración democrática (Buenos Aires: Paidós, 2003), 73. 15 ERP-PRT (People’s Revolutionary Army- Revolutionary Worker’s Party) and Montoneros, most notorious guerrilla organizations in the country. Other important (by the number of members) were: Peronist Armed Forces (Fuerzas Armadas Peronistas - FAP) Workers’ Power (Poder Obrero). 16 This number is given by the Human Rights Organizations, although the official list has 10,017 registered missing people. Ramón Torres Molina, cited by Horacio Vezzetti, ‘Verdad jurídica y verdad histórica. Condiciones, usos y límites de la figure del “genocidio,”’ ed., Claudia Hild, Philippe-Joseph Salazar and Lucas G. Martin, Lesa humanidad: Argentina y Sudáfrica: reflexiones después del mal (Buenos Aires: Katz, 2014), 27. There is an enormous amount of information about this period, written in Argentina and abroad. Some examples are Poder y Desaparición, los campos de concentración en Argentina, Ese infierno, Putas y guerrilleras, Madre de Mendoza, La voluntad, poder militar y sociedad política en la Argentina 1943-1973; also, websites created by the Human Rights Organization such as Mothers and Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo; H.I.J.O.S (Hijos por la Identidad y la Justicia contra el Olvido y el Silencio/Children for Identity and Justice Against Forgetting and Silence and Pilar Calveiro, Poder y desaparición. Los campos de concentración en la Argentina, (Buenos Aires: Colihue, 1998). 17 Ibid.,Calveiro, 29. 18 ‘María Mercedes Valiño Freijo, Darío Miguel Valiño Freijo, DetenidosDesaparecidos el 1/7/77,’ Desaparecidos. Viewed Jan 18, 2015 http://www.desaparecidos.org/arg/victimas/v/valinom/. 19 This is the iconic phrase of Rumplestiltskin also known as the Dark One on ABC’s Once Upon a Time series. As an example, see the episode, ‘The Price of Gold,’ Once Upon a Time, Season 1, episode 4, dir. David Barrett, original air date November 13, 2011.

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__________________________________________________________________ 20

‘He [Sauron] still had the relics of positive purposes, that descended from the good of the nature in which he began: it had been his virtue (and therefore also the cause of his fall, and of his relapse) that he loved order and coordination, and disliked all confusion and wasteful friction.’ J. R. R. Tolkien, Morgoth’s Ring, ed. Christopher Tolkien (Boston: Houghton, 1993), 396. 21 Alippo Paoletti, Como los nazis como Vietnam los campos de concentración en Argentina, (Buenos Aires: Contrapunto, 1987), 28-29. (The translation from Spanish to English has been done by the author unless otherwise noted). 22 Vezzetti, ‘Verdad jurídica y verdad histórica,’ 26-28. 23 Juan Gasparini, Montoneros: Final de cuentas (Buenos Aires, Puntosur Editores, 1988), 102. 24 Nunca más (Buenos Aires: Comisión Nacional sobre Desaparición de Personas [CONADEP], 1984), 78-217. 25 Hugo De Marinis and Adriana Spahr, Madre de Mendoza (Buenos Aires, Corregidor 2013), 98-111. 26 Laura Restrepo, Demasiados héroes (Buenos Aires: Alfaguara, 2009),128. 27 María C. Castaño Blanco, Más que humanos (Madrid: Ediciones de Cultura Hispánica, 1988), 32-35. 28 Susana Jorgelina Ramus, Sueños sobrevivientes de una montonera a pesar de la ESMA (Buenos Aires: Colihue, 2000), 55. 29 Gasparini, Montoneros: Final de cuentas, 102. 30 Ibid., 32. Five survivors confirmed that injection of pentothal was one of the methods to kill detainees. Actis, Munú, Cristina Aldini, Liliana Gardella, Miriam Lewin and Elisa Tokar, Ese infierno. Conversaciones con cinco mujeres sobrevivientes de la ESMA (Buenos Aires: Altamira, 2006), 118. 31 Alippo Paoletti, Como los nazis, como Vietnam, 25; Miguel Bonasso, Recuerdo de la muerte (Buenos Aires: Bruguera, 1984), 40-41, 121; Nunca más, 223-231; Horacio Verbisky and El vuelo, (Buenos Aires: Planeta, 1995),16, 29-32; Miriam Lewin, and Olga Wormat, Putas y guerrilleras [Whores and Guerrilla women] (Buenos Aires, Planeta, 2014), focus on sexual crimes during the dictatorship. 32 Vicente Romero, ‘La confesión,’ Reportajes en TVE, August 22 1996, Viewed 16 February 2015, http://www.vicenteromero.com/InformeSem_104.htm. 33 Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, ‘Convocamos a una conferencia para anunciar el encuentro de una nueva nieta,’ Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, August 22 2014, Viewed 3 November 2014, http://www.abuelas.org.ar/comunicados.php?comunicados=restituciones.php&der1 =der1_varios.php&der2=der2_dif.php. 34 Vezzetti, ‘Verdad jurídica y verdad histórica,’ 26. 35 Horacio Verbistsky, El silencio: De Paulo VI a Bergoglio. Las relaciones secretas de la Iglesia con la ESMA (Buenos Aires: Sudamericana, 2005), 37.

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__________________________________________________________________ 36

Marie Trigona, ‘Plan Condor: Crimes without Borders in Latin America,’ Upside Down World, Dec 12, 2012, viewed 16 February 2015. http://upsidedownworld.org/main/argentina-archives-32/1042--plan-condorcrimes-without-borders-in-latin-america 37 Marinis and Spahr. Madre de Mendoza, 73, 103. For more information on the topic, see Emilio Mignone in Iglesia y dictadura. 38 For a list of disappeared/killed members of the Church, see http://www.desaparecidos.org/arg/iglesia/. 39 Asociación de Ex detenidos desaparecidos, ‘Allanamiento e inspección ocular a la isla El silencio,’ June 17 2013, viewed 12 January 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GpLfnH7hxk. Also, see Verbisky El silencio. 40 The report of this commission (National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons) was published in Nunca más. 41 Jean Franco, Cruel Modernity (Durgham, Duke University Press, 2013), 9. 42 See Peter Mario Kreuter, ‘How Ignorance Made a Monster. Or: Writing the History of Vlad the Impaler without the Use of Sources leads to 20,000 Impaled Turks,’ in this volume and Toby Manning, ‘Fanatics and Absolutists: Communist Monsters in John le Carré’s Cold War Fiction,’ in this volume. 43 Hernán Fair, ‘Las relaciones políticas entre el Menemismo y Las Fuerzas Armadas. Un análisis histórico-político del período 1989-1995,’ Kairo. Revista de temas sociales [San Luis, Argentina, Universidad Nacional de San Luis] 15.27 (May 2011): 2-4. 44 Nazareth Castro, ‘La iglesia, complicidad con los crímenes de la dictadura,’ El mundo, Feb. 13 2013, Viewed 2 January 2015, http://www.elmundo.es/america/2013/02/13/argentina/1360783093.html. 45 Jean Franco, Cruel Modernity, 7.

Bibliography Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo. ‘Convocamos a una conferencia para anunciar el encuentro de una nueva nieta.’ Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, 22 August 2014, Viewed 3 November 2014. http://www.abuelas.org.ar/comunicados.php?comunicados=restituciones.php&der1 =der1_varios.php&der2=der2_dif.php. Asociación de Ex- detenidos desaparecidos, ‘Allanamiento e inspección ocular a la isla El silencio.’ 17 June 2013, viewed 12 January 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GpLfnH7hxk

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__________________________________________________________________ Actis, Munú, Cristina Aldini, Liliana Gardella, Miriam Lewin and Elisa Tokar. Ese infierno. Conversaciones con cinco mujeres sobrevivientes de la ESMA. Buenos Aires, Altamira, 2006. Agencia de Noticias Peronista. ‘Juan Domingo Perón ante la Asamblea Legislativa en 1952. La tercera posición.’ Escalada peronista, December 19, 2013, A1. Viewed on January 18, 2015. http://escaladaperonista.blogspot.ca/2013/12/juandomingo-peron-ante-la-asamblea.html. Blog. Bonasso, Miguel. Recuerdo de la muerte. Buenos Aires: Bruguera, 1984. Bunge, Mario. ‘El inicio de la decadencia.’ Perfil, Sept 29 2009, Viewed 10 Jan2015. http://www.perfil.com/contenidos/2009/09/26/noticia_0037.html. Calveiro, Pilar. Poder y desaparición. Los campos de concentración en la Argentina. Buenos Aires: Colihue, 1998. Castaño Blanco, María C. Más que humanos. Madrid: Ediciones de Cultura Hispánica, 1988. Castro, Nazareth. ‘La iglesia, complicidad con los crímenes de la dictadura.’ El mundo, Feb. 13, 2013, Viewed 2 January, 2015. http://www.elmundo.es/america/2013/02/13/argentina/1360783093.html. Constitución nacional Argentina, Viewed 15 December 2014. http://www.constitution.org/cons/argentin.htm. De Marinis, Hugo and Adriana Spahr. Madre de Mendoza. Buenos Aires: Corregidor, 2013. Desaparecidos. ‘María Mercedes Valiño Freijo, Darío Miguel Valiño Freijo, Detenidos-Desaparecidos el 1/7/77.’ Viewed 18 January 2015. http://www.desaparecidos.org/arg/victimas/v/valinom/. Fair, Hernán. ‘Las relaciones políticas entre el Menemismo y Las Fuerzas Armadas. Un análisis histórico-político del período 1989-1995.’ Kairo. Revista de temas sociales [San Luis, Argentina, Universidad Nacional de San Luis] 15. 27 (May 2011): 1-16. Franco, Jean. Cruel Modernity. Durham: Duke University Press, 2013.

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__________________________________________________________________ Galasso, Norberto. Perón: formación, ascenso y caída 1893-1955. Buenos Aires: Colihué, 2006. Garcia, Alejandro. La crisis Argentina, 1966-1972: Notas y documentos sobre una época de violencia política. Murcia: Universidad de Murcia, Secretariado de Publicaciones, 1994. Gasparini, Juan. Montoneros: Final de cuentas. Buenos Aires: Puntosur Editores,1988. Lewin, Miriam, and Wormat Olga. Putas y guerrilleras. Buenos Aires: Planeta, 2014. Luna, Felix. Historia integral de la Argentina: El país y el mundo, vol. 7. Buenos Aires, Planeta, 1997. Novaro, Marcos, and Vicente Palermo. La dictadura militar 1976/1983. Del golpe de estado a la restauración democrática. Buenos Aires: Paidós, 2003. Nunca más. Buenos Aires: Comisión Nacional sobre Desaparición de Personas (CONADEP), 1984. Once Upon a Time. ‘The Price of Gold.’ Season 1, episode 4. Dir. David Barrett. American Broadcasting Company. First broadcast November 13, 2011 Paoletti, Alippo. Como los nazis como Vietnam los campos de concentración en Argentina. Buenos Aires: Contrapunto, 1987. Ramus, Susana Jorgelina. Sueños sobrevivientes de una montonera a pesar de la ESMA. Buenos Aires: Colihue, 2000. Restrepo, Laura. Demasiados héroes. Buenos Aires: Alfaguara, 2009. Romero, Vicente. ‘La confesión.’ Reportajes en TVE, 22 August, 1996, Viewed 16 February 2015. http://www.vicenteromero.com/InformeSem_104.htm. Salas, Ernesto. Uturuncos el origen de la guerrilla peronista. Buenos Aires:Biblos, 2006.

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__________________________________________________________________ Seet, K. K. ‘Mothers and Daughters: Abjection and the Monstrous-Feminine in Japan’s “Dark Water” and South Korea’s “A Tale of Two Sisters.”’ Camera Obscura: A Journal of Feminism, Culture, and Media Studies 24:2 71(2009) 139159. Spahr, Adriana. La sonrisa de la amargura. 1973-1982. La historia Argentina a través de tres novelas de Osvaldo Soriano. Buenos Aires: Corregidor. 2006. Tolkien, J. R. R. Morgoth’s Ring, edited by Christopher Tolkien. Boston: Houghton, 1993. Trigona, Marie. ‘Plan Condor: Crimes Without Borders in Latin America,’ Upside Down World, 12 Dec, 2012, Viewed 16 February 2015. http://upsidedownworld.org/main/argentina-archives-32/1042--plan-condorcrimes-without-borders-in-latin-america. Verbitsky, Horacio. El vuelo. Planeta: Buenos Aires, 1995. ———. El silencio: De Paulo VI a Bergoglio. Las relaciones secretas de la Iglesia con la ESMA (Buenos Aires: Sudamericana, 2005) Vezzetti, Horacio. ‘Verdad jurídica y verdad histórica. Condiciones, usos y límites de la figure del “genocidio.”’ Lesa humanidad: Argentina y Sudáfrica: reflexiones después del mal, edited by Claudia Hild, Philippe-Joseph Salazar and Lucas G. Martin. Buenos Aires: Katz, 2014. Adriana Spahr is an Associate Professor at the Department of Humanities at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Canada. Her research reflects her long interest on the cultural, political and historical components in literature. Her current research is focused on testimonial literature and the use of the monstrous as an element of control in Latin American society.



Fanatics and Absolutists: Communist Monsters in John le Carré’s Cold War Fiction Toby Manning Abstract John le Carré’s Cold War espionage novels were heralded as a realist antidote to the Manichean, good vs. evil simplicities of Ian Fleming and John Buchan. Rather than creating British gentlemen unmasking foreign grotesques, le Carré was held by critics and media commentators to have demonstrated a moral equivalence between the Cold Warring sides. To the contrary, le Carré retains a subtle Manicheanism, and creates British heroes just as gentlemanly as Buchan’s, who do battle with Eastern monsters, dehumanised by Communist ‘ideology.’ This reflects contemporary anxieties about a British ‘way of life’ felt to be under threat from expansionist Soviet Communism from without and post-war social reorganisation from within. In Call for the Dead (1961) Communist villain, Dieter Frey, is a ‘Satanic’ multiple-murderer who is cathartically executed by George Smiley. Into the mouth of GDR Communist, Fiedler, in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963), le Carré puts a ‘monstrous utilitarianism’ regarding human life. With Soviet master spy, Karla, le Carré created an enemy of mythic monstrousness for Smiley to battle in a 1970s trilogy of novels. Implacable and brutal, Karla is an inhuman ‘fanatic,’ a lethal merger of ‘ideology’ and ‘evil.’ That Karla never speaks a word throughout the trilogy enhances his monstrosity, while also crucially silencing his political rationale. Modern twists on this monstrosity occur in the way neo-Nazi spymaster Mundt in The Spy and Nazi war criminal Karfeld in A Small Town in Germany (1968) both transpire to be on the British side. We see this twist also in the mirror imaging of Smiley and Karla in Smiley’s People (1980). But British monstrosity is seen only as a copy of – and defence against – a Communist original. Although the British state is defended as much as decried, perhaps the unambiguous defeat of these Communist monsters in every novel is an indicator of political insecurity in both le Carré and Cold War British culture. Key Words: le Carré, Manichean, spy, villain, Cold War, Soviet, Communism, ideology, socialism, evil. ***** 1. Cold War as Monstrous Conflict John le Carré’s novels arrived in the early 1960s, at the chilly peak of the Cold War, midway between the Berlin Crisis (1961) and the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962). Starting with Call for the Dead (June, 1961) le Carré’s espionage novels charted thirty of the forty-four years of the Cold War, both reflecting and representing an unprecedented period in world history, in which political conflicts

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__________________________________________________________________ not only expanded to become global, but magnified to threaten the very existence of that globe, via nuclear war. We might say then that the very concept upon which the Cold War stood – mutually assured destruction – was fundamentally monstrous. Le Carré’s novels performed a very clever feat: they took these huge, global, political events and existential fears and replayed them on a smaller, accessible, human scale, without sacrificing an ounce of drama. His heroes are, ‘Just folks, another nebbish from next door caught in the grind’ as one contemporary commentator put it.1 So le Carré’s breakthrough novel, internationally bestselling phenomenon, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963), could be seen as the Cold War writ small, whereby one British citizen, Liz Gold, a mousy, impoverished librarian, is deliberately sacrificed for strategic political gain. Liz’s older secret agent lover, Alec Leamas, talks of the ‘ordinary, crummy people like you and me,’2 the ordinary people whose lives were put on the line for political imperatives via the daily threat of nuclear war. As such, le Carré’s novels were heralded as a realist antidote to the romantic fantasies of spy writers like John Buchan and Ian Fleming, whose work still dominated the field. 3 In a typical review, Patrick Gaffney in The Scotsman declared of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold: There is a chilling authenticity about it: one feels that here truly are the monstrous realities behind the news paragraphs which record the shifts and tensions of the Cold War.4 There is a tension in the very language Gaffney uses here: a pull and push between adventure story dramatics and journalistic sobriety; a tension that, yes, suggests the banal everyday monstrousness of nuclear deterrence, but which also suggests that this new ‘realism’ was perhaps not quite the departure from the derring-do of Buchan and Fleming that is being declared. Le Carré’s Cold-War realism was claimed by reviewers – and is still claimed by journalists and critics –5 to reveal a moral equivalence between West and East, to represent a break from the Manichean, good vs. evil simplicities, saints versus monsters world-view of the Bond books – and of British government propaganda. But le Carré’s most famous spy, recurring hero George Smiley, is quite as much Britain’s heroic champion as is Bond, just reduced to more realistic scale: bespectacled, short, always out of breath, but intellectually brilliant and fundamentally decent. Smiley may be dowdier of dress and less gifted with girls than Bond, but Smiley is just as gentlemanly a hero as 007. Smiley even lives, according to fictional legend, just across the King’s Road from his more glamorous rival and neighbour, Commander Bond, in, naturally, a quieter, less flashy part of Chelsea.

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__________________________________________________________________ What is becoming clear here is that much as le Carré captured, better than any other writer, the unease of the Cold War – the anxiety, the distrust, even the paranoia – he also conveyed a comfort too, a reassurance, a ratification of what was familiar and what would be enduring in the Western ‘way of life,’ personified by Smiley himself and by his inevitable, genre-guaranteed defeat of the monster. Thus is monstrousness reassuringly tamed by traditional heroism in a time of acute (inter)national anxiety. This is still Manicheanism, therefore, for all the critical claims of ‘realism.’ For while Smiley’s enemies may be physically less grotesque than Bond’s enemies, they are still morally deformed – by Communist ‘ideology.’ These fanatics and absolutists are simply monsters of a different order. 2. Genre, Myth and History In his 1978 study of the thriller genre, Jerry Palmer claims that thrillers are always concerned with a ‘conspiracy’ that ‘must be a transgression not just of civil law but of natural law […] against an immanent order of the world […] a malum in se’ (evil in itself).6 Readers should be wary of this quantitative approach that is so common to genre studies of le Carré, however. Palmer’s analysis is interesting and appears to fit le Carré’s work, but in these genre studies of multiple authors, books end up weighed rather than analysed, included to bulk up pre-determined examples rather than being perceived as bringing anything new to established tropes. Such studies are, therefore, reductive: they are also often inaccurate. With Palmer having established his genres of thriller, ‘negative thriller’ and increasingly desperatesounding ‘anti-thriller,’ he has finally to admit taxonomic defeat on the very author in discussion here: John le Carré. Le Carré cannot be squeezed into the genre box.7 A more nuanced and detailed espionage genre study from Michael Denning some ten years later opined that: The thriller is based on paranoia and conspiracy – all of these events fit a pattern which can be traced back to an evil source […] which must not only be revealed but also defeated.8 In this respect, le Carré can be seen not as a departure from what came before, but entirely sui generis – a product of his genre. There is both truth and misleading reduction in Denning’s statement, however, both of which emanate from the hugely influential work of American critic, Northrop Frye (1912-1991). Frye’s pioneering work strongly influenced structuralist criticism,9 and became a standard mode for considerations of genre. The title of Bruce Merry’s Anatomy of the Spy Thriller pays direct homage to Frye’s magnum opus, Anatomy of Criticism; Jerry Palmer is also indebted to – if critical of – Frye. The consequence of this Frye influence is that genre conventions in fiction tend to be regarded as timeless evocations of ancient cultural foundational myths and legends, including, naturally, monsters. Here is Frye himself: ‘In Christian symbolism […] the hero is Christ

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__________________________________________________________________ (often represented in art standing on a prostrate monster), the dragon, Satan.’10 We might think here of le Carré’s aptly titled hero, George Smiley, who is saintly, almost Christ-like in his agonised shouldering of British society’s moral contradictions (or crosses). Indeed, le Carré critics regularly invoke St George and the Dragon or the Quest for the Holy Grail; 11 LynnDianne Beene even calls Smiley’s perennially unfaithful wife, Ann, ‘Smiley’s lascivious Guinevere.’12 This is not just poetic critical license: le Carré’s 1970s trilogy is titled The Quest for Karla (the Grail is a quest myth) while Soviet spymaster Karla is described by Smiley, in the trilogy’s middle volume, Honourable Schoolboy, as Smiley’s ‘black grail.’ 13 Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, meanwhile, is full of Arthurian imagery (an espionage source codenamed ‘Merlin’;14 a country house described as a ‘Berkshire Camelot’).15 However, two things are striking when le Carré is examined in this Northrop Frye-influenced way. First, that no sooner had media reviewers hailed le Carré as a ‘realist,’ and suggested he transcended genre, than literary critics were squashing him back into the genre box. Specifically the one labelled ‘Romance.’ Leaving aside the fact that even romance is historically reflective, the realist mode – however we define ‘realism’ – documents the world we live in. Historically, say in Dickens or Zola, realism reveals something about that world. Instead, critics appeared to be saying, ‘Move along, nothing to see here’: le Carré was mere entertainment, genre fiction not literature, romance not reality. In this way genre snobberies don’t just short-change literature, they also short-change history. This leads us to the second, even more important, point: that to reduce le Carré’s plots to a playing out of ancient mythic archetypes is to bypass history. Not Frye and genre theory’s ancient history,16 the mythic archetypes of a pre-capitalist world, but the contemporary history that produced le Carré’s work: the Cold War. While le Carré was writing his Cold-War novels, the Soviet ‘conspiracy’ of Communist expansionism was certainly perceived to be real in the West, whilst Soviet Communism really did represent a contemporary challenge to Western capitalism. That threat was arguably ideological rather than military, because as Cold War historian Peter Hennessy claims, the Soviets feared that Western intentions were just as conspiratorial and aggressive as we are more used to having attributed to the monstrous East.17 Crucially, an entire military industrial complex had been created in the West to counteract this Soviet threat - and vice versa. The weapons and hardware – complete with nuclear ‘deterrent’ – were real, material, whether or not the threat was real. So my point is that in le Carré’s Cold War novels the generic archetype of the monstrous villain obeys the political imperatives of the contemporary historical moment – the need to demonise Communism – it does not just obey the imperatives of genre. Le Carré is reflecting the political reality of the world he perceives (thus reflecting dominant political viewpoints), not remaining enclosed within a bubble of other fiction and the timeless, trans-historical requisites of romance. The danger of the Frye approach is

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__________________________________________________________________ to turn the world on its head: not just to make the subject of fiction other fiction rather than the real world, but to seem to make history itself mere illustration of the generic myths and legends that inform our culture. The monsters of le Carré’s world say something about his society, about the history from which they emanate, about a Western ideology that parlayed Communism as ‘evil.’ They are not simply generic archetypes of villains and monsters. My approach to le Carré is to explore how his work reflects this specific history. In these Cold War, post-war novels we see a British way of life represented that is felt to be under threat. That ‘way of life’ is both sweepingly vague and tellingly specific. So George Smiley’s Britain is a hazy vista of windswept Cornish cliffs, sleepy Oxford colleges, bustling West End London streets, and the staid suburban commuter green belt around the capital. A Britain, therefore, that excludes the North of England, along with Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and London’s outer boroughs. A Britain that thus excludes the working class. ‘Traditional’ values blur with ‘elite’ values here. This England is characterised as a place of both ‘intense individualism’ and – without seeming awareness of contradiction – essential ‘moderation.’18 Britain is simultaneously a bastion of humane, liberal values, and a citadel of elitist privilege. Smiley is clearly signalled as Britain’s personification, its ideal, its champion. Smiley is an English gentleman with a distaste for pomposity, but with an even stronger distaste for anything that, significantly, is ‘mass,’ be that ‘mass media’ or ‘mass philosophy’ (Communism).19 Smiley is a man of the very elite traditions that are seemingly threatened. Smiley, despite le Carré often being claimed as ‘antiestablishment,’ 20 is a product and representative of that establishment: publicschooled, Oxford-educated, an amateur gentleman informally recruited to serve his country. Smiley has even, like the British bourgeoisie in the nineteenth century, married into the aristocracy: Smiley’s wife Lady Ann Sercombe owns those windswept Cornish cliffs. Smiley may be a benign patriarch, but he is still a patriarch. In le Carré’s novels, this elite Britain is threatened not just from without by Soviet Communism, but also from within, by socialism, by the working class. Post-war political realignment redrew the geopolitical map and saw Britain’s international power begin to diminish. Nationalist, anti-colonial movements were often also Communist: as in the Malayan Emergency (1948-60). Post-war reform, anchored in the Welfare State, redrew the domestic social map, meaning that ancient British class distinctions and traditional deferences began to diminish. Hugh Thomas’s pamphlet analysing the newly named Establishment was a product of this change, as this elite group, while remaining firmly entrenched in positions of power, found itself also increasingly challenged. 21 Clearly, for establishment minds, there was a connection between the Communist threat without and the socialist threat within. The public school system was primarily created to produce administrators of Empire,22 while it was a socialist, Labour post-war government

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__________________________________________________________________ that had overseen both the Welfare State and imperial decolonisation. Harold Wilson’s 1960s and 1970s Labour governments promised even more radical changes in the fabric of British society. But even Wilson seemed establishment compared to the Labour left or the trade union movement, and indeed soon enough Wilson found his government at war with the working class, as the increasingly militant trades union movement responded to the declining British economy, when the post-war Long Boom receded. Working class militancy was inevitably associated in establishment minds with the threat of the Soviet worker state. Trades unions were ‘the peril in our midst,’ as a 1956 book by Woodrow Wyatt had it.23 Wyatt’s was a volume sponsored, like many similar efforts, by the British government’s secret propaganda unit, the Information Research Department. The IRD’s task was a hearts and minds campaign devoted to undermining support for – and effectively demonising – Communism, 24 and propaganda often linked Soviet Communism with the Labour left, and with militant trade unionism. This mirrors Adriana Spahr’s description, in this collection, of the way the state demonises the left-wing ‘other’ that challenges the ruling hegemony: ‘those labelled as real monsters – the guerrilla and leftist political organizations, combative trade unions […] and anyone with the diffuse characterization of subversive.’ 25 It can be no coincidence that the sole working class character in le Carré’s debut novel, Call for the Dead (1961), Adam Scarr,is a criminal rogue who, for material gain, assists Britain’s Communist enemies in their espionage activities against the British state. This is a characterisation of the working class not so hugely advanced on John Buchan’s jingoism: the working classes are not true patriots, not true Britons. Scarr is by no means the most monstrous character in le Carré’s debut novel however: that honour goes to Dieter Frey. 3. ‘Satanic in Fulfilment’: Dieter Frey The fictional construct of character is a field in which ideological fault lines can reveal themselves. Dieter Frey in Call for the Dead is the first of an identity parade of Communist monsters in le Carré’s Cold War novels. Disabled, fervent, brilliant, disarmingly attractive, with a hint of extremism,26 Frey is a student of George Smiley’s at an unnamed university in 1930s Germany, where Smiley is a teacher and under-cover spy. When the Nazis take power, Frey becomes Smiley’s colleague in resistance. Frey is incarcerated by the Nazis, but after the war joins the secret service, the Abteilung, of the Communist German Democratic Republic (East Germany). The GDR, declared in October 1949, was part of the Sovietaffiliated Eastern Bloc of Communist states and a signatory of the Warsaw Pact (1955), a response to the Western alliance officialised under NATO (April 1949). Few now remember that the USSR twice applied to join NATO in 1954 and was rejected by the British, Americans, and French. Paralleling the abrupt geopolitical switches from friend to foe post-war, the novel’s sympathy for Frey, and his accomplice, Elsa Fennan, for their persecution by the Nazis as German Jews, is

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__________________________________________________________________ quickly overwhelmed by the pair’s post-war conversion to Communism and turn to conspiracy against their former ally, Britain. In this we see a further link to history via Klaus Fuchs, an anti-fascist refugee from Nazi Germany, who, working as an atomic energy research scientist for the British government, was exposed as a Soviet spy in 1950 by MI5. It also brings to mind George Blake, a Jew interned briefly in the Netherlands by the Nazis before coming to Britain, where he worked for British intelligence before becoming a Soviet spy. Blake’s trial and draconian sentence at the Old Bailey were headline news just as Call for the Dead was published.27 It would be inaccurate then to say, despite Frey’s initial status as a friend, that there is any ‘moral equivalence’ in the treatment of Frey’s character. For beyond Smiley’s fond recollections of the pre-war period, Frey’s actions in the book are consistently and alienatingly that of a foe, a villain, a monster. In a crucial elision, however, we never actually hear what either Dieter Frey’s or Elsa Fennan’s beliefs are. Dieter only directly utters two words throughout the novel; Elsa Fennan, in obfuscating her espionage role, makes a better case against Communism than she does for it. Communism is thus defined by actions rather than motivations, by means rather than ends – a series of murders to protect Frey’s plot against Britain. With Smiley as the book’s moral guide and predominant narrative focaliser, we have to take Frey at Smiley’s word. And Smiley’s word is consistently overwrought regarding Frey: He was the same improbable romantic with the magic of a charlatan: the same unforgettable figure which had struggled over the ruins of Germany, implacable of purpose, satanic in fulfilment, dark and swift like the Gods of the North […] Larger than life, undiminished by the moderating influence of experience [Dieter] was a man who thought and acted in absolute terms, without patience or compromise.28 Frey’s disability, his limp, initially a focus of sympathy, now becomes monstrous in a more Manichean, Fleming-esque manner; it is rendered grotesque via the association with Communist ideology. Desire turns to disgust. Frey is a ‘charlatan’ – a damnation of his ‘ideology’ – and he is actually described as ‘satanic.’ There is something Wagnerian about this description of Frey’s romantic extremism; indeed something fascistic, pursuing the associations of German romanticism. On cue, after this dramatic entrance upon the novel’s stage, Frey will callously murder his accomplice, Elsa Fennan – at a theatre performance. Superficially attractive yet deformed, an intellectual giant yet lacking human empathy, romantic yet ruthless, Frey is a personification of ‘Communism.’ As such, Frey is a threat to British verities, to the very British ‘way of life’ we recall that Smiley represents:

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__________________________________________________________________ Everything [Smiley] admired or loved had been the product of intense individualism. That was why he hated Dieter now, hated what he stood for […]: the fabulous impertinence of renouncing the individual in favour of the mass. When had mass philosophies ever brought benefit or wisdom?29 That telltale ‘mass’ suggests that Communism functions partly as a cipher for the working class – the enemy within. Raymond Williams once wrote, ‘There are in fact no masses; there are only ways of seeing people as masses.’30 Similarly we are only given, in Call, ways of seeing Communism as monstrous: Dieter cared nothing for human life: dreamed only of armies of faceless men bound by their lowest common denominators; he wanted to shape the world as if it were a tree, cutting off what did not fit the regular image.31 Such formulations rest on German political theorist Hannah Arendt’s contemporaneous evocations of ‘totalitarianism,’ linking Soviet Communism with German fascism. As Arendt puts it, in totalitarianism, ‘the difference between ends and means evaporates […] and the result is the monstrous immorality of ideological politics.’ 32 Le Carré’s books’ synonym for totalitarianism, ‘absolutism,’ likely derives from British Labour Prime Minister, Clement Attlee’s 1948 national address, when following the war-time alliance with the Soviet Union and a brief period of amity, the East-West battle-lines of the Cold War were drawn. Attlee claimed ‘the absolutists who suppress opposition masquerade under the name of upholders of liberty,’33 suggesting both political extremism and a Russian continuity with the oppressive Tsarist absolutist monarchy - the very institution Communism had destroyed. Communism here is authoritarian, hypocritical, while the liberal democratic West is an implicit bastion of ‘liberty.’ This necessarily overlooks US racial segregation (the Civil Rights movement was blowing up as le Carré’s first four books appeared 1961-65), French aggression in Algeria, and British support for far-right regimes in Greece, to take but three examples of Western Cold-War hypocrisy. This is not, it is important to say, a defence of Eastern bloc Communist regimes, merely to note both the loaded language used and the double standards deployed to describe and evoke Communist regimes in Western art and politics alike. Within this, the fact that le Carré’s exemplar of British values, Smiley, executes Frey by pushing the disabled Frey into the Thames, is cathartic – a robust defence of British interests, a dealing out of justice to a multiple murderer – but it is also contradictory. Is this entirely decent behaviour? Smiley himself is uncertain. If Britain and Smiley are bastions of liberal, humane values, with Britain having recently repealed the death penalty in 1957, why then this abrupt reassertion of summary, brutal feudal justice? The

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__________________________________________________________________ answer, of course, is that the two perennially co-exist, as Michel Foucault demonstrated in Discipline and Punish. 4. ‘The Bomb in the Restaurant’: Jens Fiedler The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963) begins and ends at the Berlin Wall, the Cold-War political faultline and location of 1961’s dramatic Berlin Crisis. The image of the tanks of East and West facing each other down at Checkpoint Charlie would have been frighteningly fresh in readers’ minds when The Spy came out two years later. Indeed, in The Spy’s opening scene, the checkpoint guards at the Wall tell hard-bitten British agent Alec Leamas, waiting for a defector to cross, ‘We can’t give covering fire […] they tell us there’d be war if we did.’34 The world rests on a hair-trigger of annihilating total war. That the Wall was built by the Communist East is key, because regardless of any defensive reality, the Berlin Wall was presented in the West as an aggressive act on the part of the GDR: or rather as a proxy aggressive Soviet act. As Leamas says of the GDR, ‘you get big uncle to do your pimping for you. You’re not a country at all.’35 Le Carré’s own later declaration that the Wall was ‘the perfect symbol of the monstrosity of ideology gone mad’ reflected a common Western Cold-War stance. 36 In such formulations, ‘ideology’ is something possessed only by the Communist East, as we saw earlier with Arendt’s reference to ‘the monstrous immorality of ideological politics’ – as if democratic states are free of ideology. The Berlin Wall in The Spy functions as a potent anti-Communist symbol, representing East Germany as a prison, its citizens repressed by ‘ideology’: Arendt’s patented totalitarian state’s conflation of means (repression) and ends (Communism) meaning that, as le Carré suggests, the Wall comes to stand for ideology itself. Alec Leamas is later himself held captive in the GDR, and is asked by his Communist interrogator, Jens Fiedler, what his philosophy is. Leamas responds impatiently: ‘What do you mean, a philosophy? […] We’re not Marxists, we’re nothing. Just people.’37 Leamas is a reactive man, not prone to reflection, and so he conveys a common Western cultural conception: Communists have ideology; Westerners are ‘people’, therefore neutral, untainted by politics. Again as we saw in Arendt. This usefully avoids having to defend capitalism, the system that Western espionage and Western ideology, liberalism, rests upon. Indeed, despite Leamas’s vaunted irreverence, and supposed anti-establishment stance, this iconoclast simply supports the British status quo. This proclaimed non-ideological Western neutrality is a view popular with le Carré’s less reflective (Western) critics. LynnDianne (sic) Beene declares: ‘In the ensuing ideological confrontation, the West was at a philosophical disadvantage; it […] had no appealing affirmative doctrine to counter Soviet ideology.’38 Ronald Ambrosetti calls Leamas’s position – and by extension Western citizens’ position – ‘the innocent middle.’39 Liberalism is apparently not a ‘doctrine.’ Communists, we can also see in Leamas’s implication, are not people, and in Ambrosetti’s implication, not innocent.

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__________________________________________________________________ Possession of ‘ideology’ is thus dehumanising, a defining facet of enemy monstrousness. Nevertheless, the most considered characterisation of the Communist enemy in le Carré’s entire canon is found in The Spy. The character of Fiedler, deputy chief of the GDR’s Abteilung, is one of the few Communist characters drawn in any detail or provided with any depth in le Carré’s Cold-War fiction. Fiedler is carefully depicted as personable and principled, and is thus a key exhibit in critics’ ‘moral equivalence’ argument. Yet there’s a crucial contradiction in critics finding in Fiedler a man who has ‘retained a conscientious concern for human life.’ 40 Because Fiedler – intelligent, thoughtful, warm as he may be – also articulates a hard-line ‘Stalinist’ philosophy that is clearly intended, by le Carré, to be monstrous to Western democratic sensibilities. Here is what Fiedler has to say: A movement which protects itself against counter-revolution can hardly stop at the exploitation – or the elimination, Leamas – of a few individuals. It is all one, we have never pretended to be wholly just in the process of rationalising society […] I myself would have put a bomb in a restaurant if it brought us further along the road. Afterwards I would draw the balance – so many women, so many children; and so far along the road.41 With its endorsement of terrorist tactics (the bomb in the restaurant) and its deployment of instrumental rationality, an accounting logic to human life and human death (‘so many women, so many children’), this speech of Fiedler’s illustrates what le Carré critic, Patrick Dobel, correctly notes as ‘a monstrous utilitarianism that dismisses all human costs as means to a greater good.’42 Dobel claims this Communist characterisation in le Carré is contrasted to a ‘western respect for individual worth [which] undergirds all the books.’43 However, even monstrous utilitarianism requires a greater good, 44 and the ‘greater good’ of Communism is never defined in the novel. Communism as a principle, an aspiration, an ideal, is invisible, unheard in Fiedler’s speech. No rationale is, therefore, offered for the actions Fiedler endorses: ends and means have merged in the Arendt-defined totalitarian manner. Consequently, via Fiedler, Soviet bloc Communism appears much as Party ideologue O’Brien declares in George Orwell’s canonical Cold War text, Nineteen Eighty-Four: ‘We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power.’45 What is particularly interesting about this is that Fiedler is not the novel’s villain, but in a crucial distinction, its representative of the enemy. As such, Fiedler’s personable qualities and perceived decency (Liz: ‘he was kind and decent’) 46 are in contradiction with his political ideology, his extremist ‘philosophy.’ Desire and disgust coexist. Even more clearly than Dieter Frey’s characterisation, Fiedler’s political philosophy does not emanate from the fictional

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__________________________________________________________________ wellspring of the Northrop Frye ordained need for a monstrous villain; it emanates from a historical source of perceived monstrosity – Soviet bloc Communism, and from the political imperative to critique and condemn that system. That Fiedler’s hardline Stalinist philosophy is an unlikely one in an era of – relative – Eastern bloc liberalisation (under Nikita Khrushchev in the Soviet Union and Walter Ulbricht in the GDR) need detain us no longer than it apparently detained le Carré. We have seen in Peter Mario Kreuter’s chapter how historical accuracy does not stand in the way of potent cultural mythologies.47 Moreover, while the behaviour of the British, as we shall see, skirts a similar expedient morality, neither does this cancel out the carefully flagged monstrous cynicism of Fiedler’s philosophy. Now however, let us look at a Communist le Carré character that fits the more archetypal, indeed mythic and romantic, role of the villain. 5. ‘Adjunct of a Grand Design’: Karla If the ‘moral equivalence’ argument is difficult to sustain regarding The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, it collapses altogether in the face of le Carré’s 1970s Karla Trilogy. In Soviet master-spy ‘Karla,’ le Carré created a modern Moriarty, a monstrous enemy of almost mythic proportions for Smiley to battle: brutal, ubiquitous, indefatigable. Smiley and Karla’s struggle is therefore again elemental, mythic, good against evil, in the patented Frye mythos. More humdrum, but again also more historical, that struggle is actually liberalism against Communism, individualism against collectivism, the Cold War reduced to representative personalities. Smiley, in the British corner, is plump, unprepossessing, brilliant, but with a core compassion and decency. Karla, in the red corner, is invisible, conspiratorial, and with a characteristically brutal disregard for human life: he is thus again a synecdoche for Communism. Karla is the Machiavellian mastermind behind the ‘mole,’ Bill Haydon (based on Cambridge spy, Kim Philby), who, in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1974) has been planted deep in the fabric of the Circus, the British intelligence service. In Tinker, Karla ruthlessly eliminates first a Soviet couple that inform the British about the mole’s existence. Tinker’s image of bandaged and sedated would-be defectors, stretchered onto a plane by KGB ‘nurses’ is drawn direct from Cold-War history, the Volkov incident, where Philby’s inaction over a potential Soviet defector in order to save his own skin, implicated him.48 Karla eliminates Western espionage networks revealed by the mole in Czechoslovakia.49 After Haydon is exposed as the mole, Smiley attempts in The Honourable Schoolboy (1977) to ‘exfiltrate’ Britain’s networks of Eastern bloc agents, but Karla has them all killed in revenge. 50 Finally, Karla covers his own misuse of Party resources in Smiley’s People (1979) with a series of grisly murders – an elderly Soviet émigré general, a middle-aged spy known as ‘The Magician’ and a heavy nicknamed ‘the Ginger Pig.’ Throughout all this, the contrast between Karla and Smiley is regularly reiterated. We see Smiley weeping over the deaths of Ukrainian agents in The

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__________________________________________________________________ Honourable Schoolboy;51 when Smiley hears of another murdered British interest, Frost, all present can ‘feel the intensity of the conflict as his intellect forced its will upon his emotions.’52 Smiley’s Sovietologist colleague, Connie Sachs declares: Karla wouldn’t give two pins, would he, dearie? […] Not for one dead Frost, not for ten. That’s the difference really. We can’t write it much larger than that, can we, not these days? Who was it used to say “we’re fighting for the survival of Reasonable Man?”53 Karla is clearly ‘unreasonable man’, and thus by extension Soviet Communism is irrational, savage, indecent. Amidst all this Karla’s female cover name is a grotesque joke. If disgust predominates here, then desire is found in the magneticism of the monster, of the villain, and in the generic guarantee that the monster will be defeated and ‘good’ will triumph. As it is, we meet Karla only twice throughout this epic trilogy. When Smiley interviews him in a prison in Delhi in the 1950s, Karla sits in implacable silence while Smiley tries to persuade him to defect. Karla’s ‘inhumanity’ is illustrated by his immunity to Smiley’s offers of the bounty of the capitalist West (‘we can help you to a new start […] a certain amount of money’).54 Smiley concludes: I believed, you see, that I had seen something in his face that was superior to mere dogma, not realising that it was my own reflection. I had convinced myself that [Karla] ultimately was accessible to ordinary human arguments.55 Those ‘ordinary human arguments’ are an emphasis on individual self-interest over the collective ideal. Karla is likely to be imprisoned or shot upon return to the USSR; thus Karla’s opting to return to the East, resisting this self-interest (symbolically represented when this chain-smoker sits all night in his cell with an unopened packet of cigarettes),56 is incomprehensible to Smiley, alien, inhuman. As Carlo Comanducci suggests in this volume, this represents the normative split between the human and the inhuman in Western discourse.57 ‘[Karla] would rather die than disown the political system to which he was committed […] Karla is a fanatic’ declares Smiley, mystified. 58 But these are Western, even capitalist, definitions of ordinariness. Within this verbal and conceptual universe, ‘evil’ and ‘ideology’ make a lethal merger in this idea of Karla’s ‘fanaticism.’ As reviewer Michael Wood suggested at the time, Karla’s characterisation is somewhat simplistic: ‘The Russians are monsters […] because they don’t care about killing and we do.’59 To be more precise, the Russians are monsters because they don’t care about killing in the name of ideology. Witness:

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__________________________________________________________________ [Smiley] thought of Karla again, and of his absolutism, which at least gave point to the perpetual chaos that was life’s condition; point to violence, and to death; of Karla for whom killing had never been more than the necessary adjunct of a grand design.60 There is that term ‘absolutism’ again, placed carefully alongside the grotesque ‘grand design,’ back when ‘grand designs’ meant building human societies rather than simply building houses. This, goes the argument, is as bureaucratic and instrumental a bit of accounting logic as you could apply to human beings. Murder as planning is a nightmare vision of bureaucratic monstrousness. However, by remaining silent – not just in this Delhi scene, but throughout the trilogy that bears his name – Karla never actually articulates any ideology behind his monstrous actions. Despite Smiley flagging up Karla’s ‘fanaticism,’ Karla’s Communism is what Pierre Macherey would call the ‘not said’ of the Karla trilogy. 61 The word ‘Communism’ only appears twice throughout Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, while ‘Marxism’ appears three times. These are curious lacunae in a book about a Communist spy. Thus the text conflates Communist means with Communist ends, ideology with power, even more so than in The Spy – just as in that Bible of anti-Communism, Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. This was the climate of the times, of the hardening attitudes in the run-up to the Second Cold War. In his exposé of the Cambridge spy ring, Andrew Boyle called Communism an ‘inhuman philosophy,’ 62 while Ronald Reagan would routinely reference the Soviet Union in mythic – and Star Wars (1977) – terms as ‘an evil empire.’63 There is a second cavil here, however. For, if the fanatical ideologue Karla holds together adequately enough for a cardboard construction in the first two novels of the Karla trilogy, he begins to disintegrate in the final volume, Smiley’s People (1979). Smiley’s Sovietologist colleague, Connie Sachs, now reveals of Karla’s former lover: One day she ups and gets ideas above her station […] soft on revolution. Mixing with bloody intellectuals. Wanting the State to wither away […] He had her shoved in the slammer. […] In the end the old despot’s love turned to hatred and he had his ideal carted off and spavined: end of story […] He destroyed all records of her, killed whoever might have heard, which is Karla’s way, bless him, isn’t it, darling, always was?64 On the surface, this is an even more monstrous ratification of Karla’s inhumanity: imposing politics on the personal realm, murdering the very object of desire for ideological reasons. But in fact, there’s a hint of humanity here, a chink in Karla’s armour: Karla has never previously had a personal life, let alone a lover (he is indeed barely a character). Only lines later we will discover that this union

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__________________________________________________________________ produced a daughter and this will prove to be a key plot device, ostensibly humanising Karla as a doting dad. In fact, while this device does considerable violence to consistent characterisation in fictional terms, in political terms, it simply opens up a new flank of attack upon Soviet Communism. Using Karla’s love for this disturbed, institutionalised daughter as leverage, Smiley threatens to expose Karla’s personal abuse of the Soviet system in order to care for her. Karla defects to the West a mere nine pages later. This new understanding of Karla does not offer a new understanding of the Communism that Karla has hitherto represented however. Quite the reverse. Karla’s abrupt defection from ‘inhuman’ East to ‘human’ West rejects the political system which Karla has lived by, murdered for, been imprisoned by, and through which he has, for three and a half novels, been textually defined. The implication of Karla’s prioritisation of the personal over the political is not only that the Soviet system is flawed by inhumanity, as previously established: it is doomed by humanity. Communism is an infertile ‘ideological’ seed planted in stony human ground. Humanity will ultimately reject it. 6. Mirrors Of Monstrosity Le Carré is a far more sophisticated novelist than Ian Fleming, or indeed than most of his Cold-War competitors. Spy novelists usually parlay a fairly black and white notion of West and East, good and evil, heroes and villains, leaving aside much consideration of ethical greys. So modern twists on this Manichean monstrosity occur in le Carré in the conception that the monster might actually be in the mirror. This motif clearly has a relationship to the ‘mirroring’ Elsa Bouet describes as typical of fictional treatment of the monstrous in this volume. ‘The monster is the other […] This process of mirroring is at the very core of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, in which the creature serves to reflect Victor’s actions.’65 For many critics this mirroring in le Carré relates to the moral equivalence argument already cited. This position is untenable, because this mirroring in le Carré does not lead to what Bouet calls ‘an interspace for the reader to explore monstrosity which questions the means by which we categorise and create otherness.’66 Let us examine these mirrorings to see why. In two of his 1960s novels le Carré uses archetypally monstrous villains to effect this mirroring motif. In The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Hans Mundt is the brutal head of the East German Abteilung, a former Nazi, and an overt antiSemite. Nazis always make for good villains in post-war British cultural productions, and so Mundt is a far more obvious bad guy than is his deputy, Fiedler. Mundt has been killing off the British spy networks in the GDR one-byone, so Leamas’s boss, Control, head of British intelligence, hatches a complex plot to bring Mundt down. Without going into those complexities, suffice to say that the twist is that Control’s purpose in sending Leamas into the GDR is actually

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__________________________________________________________________ to secure Mundt’s position: it turns out Mundt is ‘our’ man, Britain’s own ‘mole’ burrowed inside the East German Communist fabric. Similarly, Klaus Karfeld is carefully built up as the villain of A Small Town in Germany (1968). Karfeld is a populist politician whose rowdy rallies have been tearing up West Germany: he looks likely to take power. Leo Harting, a Jewish minor official in the British Embassy in West German capital, Bonn, discovers that Karfeld is a Nazi war criminal deploying a different name. The trail is laid brilliantly; the investigator, Alan Turner, is dogged in pursuit and ecstatic in exposure of this secret. But the twist here is that Turner’s British superiors already know all about Karfeld. In fact they’ve carefully covered it up in order to secure Karfeld’s backing for British entry into the Common Market. Le Carré is literally on the money here: French President de Gaulle had twice vetoed British entry into the Common Market in the 1960s, and, with the British economy on a seemingly unstoppable slide, European entry was seen as a potential panacea. Le Carré examines the political price for such potent economic medicine. So what are the implications when the monsters turn out to be on ‘our’ side? Now le Carré’s famed moral greyness starts to look more like moral uncertainty, an ethical ‘yes, but….’ Because for all le Carré’s unease about unsavoury political alliances, the points made to Leamas by Control, early in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, are never fundamentally overturned in either The Spy or A Small Town in Germany. Let us examine those points. Control says, firstly: ‘We are never going to be aggressors […] We do disagreeable things but we are defensive.’67 This is straightforward enough: the Russians started and perpetuate the Cold War. This reflects standard Western propaganda, as Paul Lashmar and James Oliver attest: ‘Communism, personified by the Soviet Union, was consistently presented as expansionary and offensive in contrast with the West, which was presented as essentially defensive.’68 Such propaganda elides Western provocations like missiles in Turkey, America nurturing European capitalism via the Marshall Plan, West German rearmament, ongoing British imperialism worrying at Soviet borders, or, in this fictional case, placing spies inside the GDR. No matter, for secondly, Control declares, ‘we do disagreeable things so that ordinary people […] can sleep safely in their beds at night.’69 This is a justification of almost any action via a vague but potent ‘greater good’: Control’s ‘ideals’ are defined as allowing the innocent to sleep safely. Actions like sacrificing Leamas’s lover, Liz, to safeguard Nazi Mundt’s position as a British spy. Now Control’s argument starts to sound as emotionally specious as it is intellectually sound. Indeed, thirdly, Control insists, ‘You can’t be less ruthless than the opposition simply because your government’s policy is benevolent, can you now?’ 70 This suggests both that Soviet policy has no ‘greater good’ and that Britain, in doing ‘wicked things,’ is simply keeping up with the Joneskis, the Soviet authors of this ‘monstrous utilitarianism.’ Again Britain remains, at core, ‘benevolent.’

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__________________________________________________________________ Control’s claim that the West thus has no ideology and only reacts to the Soviet bloc’s ideologically inspired aggression is often reproduced, unquestioned, by le Carré critics. E.g. ‘le Carré’s novels indict an absolute loyalty to a cause as the most dangerous of all characteristics to the values of the West.’71 Dobel here makes a distinction between ‘values’ (i.e. ‘ideals’, Western, benign) and ‘cause’ (i.e. ‘ideology’, Eastern, malign) that is identical to that of Control. But Dobel doesn’t appear to see quite how much Control justifies in the name of these supposed non-ideological ‘ideals.’ Thus le Carré decries state ruthlessness and simultaneously endorses it in the fight against Communism. This is not an ‘absolute loyalty’ to the British ‘cause,’ true: but it is a loyalty, however contradictory or equivocal. Thus my point about grey areas merging with uncertainty. Something similar occurs in the mirroring of Smiley and Karla in Smiley’s People (1980). Reviewer Christopher Booker saw the novel dramatising a psychic ‘battle with the inner monster which lies in each of us.’72 This is a return to Frye, via Freud, wherein everything emanates from within the collective psyche, occluding the reality of a rapidly re-chilling Cold War. For another reviewer, Al Alvarez, Smiley himself had become ‘a bit of a monster.’73 In the novel, parallels are built up between the two rival spies, Karla and Smiley. We have already seen that Karla is humanised via love of his disturbed daughter; so too, in tandem, is Smiley supposedly dehumanised by the expedient morality of exploiting Karla’s love of that daughter. Smiley himself therefore becomes an extremist, a monster. But for all this mirroring, Karla remains by far the more monstrous of the pair. At another Berlin Wall finale, as Smiley waits for Karla to defect, Smiley agonises about the expedient ‘methods’ he has used to achieve this victory: An unholy vertigo seized him as the very evil he had fought against seemed to reach out and posses him and claim him despite his striving, calling him a traitor also; mocking him, yet at the same time applauding his betrayal. On Karla has descended the curse of Smiley’s compassion; on Smiley the curse of Karla’s fanaticism. I have destroyed him with the weapons I abhorred, and they are his. We have crossed each other’s frontiers, we are the no-men of this no-man’s land.74 The reduction of both Karla and Smiley to ‘no-men’ suggests an interspace, a merging, as per Bouet’s description. 75 But note the language here: ‘evil,’ ‘fanaticism,’ and, most strikingly, the clear statement that the ruthless ‘weapons’ ‘are his,’ i.e. are Karla’s. The point once again is that these expedient methods originate with the Soviet system – Smiley and the British are only playing catchup. As such, most readers will reject Smiley’s own self-castigation. So, as with Bouet’s account of the Stugatskys’ Ugly Swans, there is no utopian transformation

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__________________________________________________________________ in Smiley’s People: each side remains distinct, alien, despite what Bouet calls the ‘interspatial’ language.76 So when Connie Sachs says, in an oft-quoted speech, ‘It’s grey. Half-angels fighting half-devils. No one knows where the lines are,’77 what initially appears an assertion of interspatiality, of moral equivalence is, on closer inspection, nothing of the sort. If there is a neutral moral line, then half-angel is half way to beatitude, half-devil is half way to damnation. There remains a vast gulf between them. If there were any doubt about which side is which, Smiley has, one scene prior to Connie’s speech, adopted the cover name of ‘Mr Angel.’ Meanwhile, ‘devil’ is used to describe a servant of the Soviet system on the book’s opening pages.78 These mirrors of monstrosity turn out not to be two-way mirrors after all. So much for moral equivalence. 7.

Conclusion The ‘grand designs’ in le Carré only ever belong to Communism. There are, we have seen, no western grand designs. Possessing no ideology, no system, the West possesses no home-grown evil, only imitative monstrosity, and it remains at its core ‘benevolent,’ especially in comparison to the malevolence of Communism. Communism, in such understandings, hovers uncertainly between an evil machinelike ‘system’ (itself a distinctly capitalist analogy) and a negative expression of a flawed ‘human nature.’ The very architect of much of this thinking, George Orwell, once accused Dickens of not being able to see capitalism as just such a ‘grand design’: It was quite beyond him to grasp that, given the existing form of society, certain evils cannot be remedied […] in reality his target is not so much society as “human nature.” It would be difficult to point anywhere in his books to a passage suggesting that the economic system is wrong as a system.79 We can easily substitute le Carré for Dickens here. Dickens was the ‘antiestablishment’ novelist of his day, but he never challenged the capitalist structure of whose effects he was often so critical. Nor, we can see, does le Carré, whose work ultimately is a ratification of the British social and political status quo. But perhaps there’s a hint of political uncertainty inside the very certainty with which the Communist ‘monsters’ are always defeated in le Carré. Such victories as Smiley’s cathartic elimination of Dieter Frey in Call for the Dead were by no means guaranteed in real life. Soviet spies Burgess and Maclean escaped Britain for the Soviet Union in 1951 before they were even properly suspected, let alone caught or stopped. Kim Philby, unlike le Carré’s fictional counterpart, Bill Haydon, was never caught, never interrogated, never neatly and conveniently executed. Instead Philby was exonerated in the House of Commons, kept on the British payroll, and allowed to escape and to defect to the Soviet Union in 1963 to

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__________________________________________________________________ write his self-serving memoirs at his leisure. 80 The head of the Soviet secret service, in the headiest fantasy of all, was, of course, never outmanoeuvred by the British – without American involvement – and persuaded to defect, as Karla is in Smiley’s People. Of course, if we return to Northrop Frye, the mythic villain generically needs to be defeated in the romance. But once again the Frye approach sells the importance of each specific historical moment short, and to see this defeat of Communism in le Carré as simply guaranteed by genre, and emanating solely from fiction, is to occlude the reality of Cold War history. Or more precisely, it is to occlude the exigencies of ideology in Cold War politics, of what we might call, more crudely, propaganda. The fictional Communist monster needed to be first dehumanised and secondly defeated to keep up morale in the Cold War: particularly in the late 70s, when it seemed, looking at the Far Eastern front, as if Communism might triumph against capitalism after all. Witness late 70s Communist takeovers in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and a close call in Thailand. No wonder then that, at just this late 70s moment, Smiley despairs of ever defeating this indefatigably monstrous enemy. ‘How can I win? […] alone, restrained by doubt and a sense of decency – how can any of us? – against this remorseless fusillade?’ 81 Smiley pulls himself together, however, and works out how exactly to defeat Karla and Soviet Communism: indeed the defeat occurs, somewhat prophetically, at the Berlin Wall. We should not let retrospect blind us to the fact that, at the time, this was less prophecy than fantasy. Or again, ideology: propaganda. So no wonder le Carré’s George Smiley became such a popular national figure during the television adaptations of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Smiley’s People in the late 70s and early 1980s. The West needed St George Smiley to slay the Communist dragon, to resolve British cultural and political anxieties: not just to spare British blushes about spy penetrations and post-imperial humiliations, but to quell the resultant doubts about the British system itself. As we are seeing throughout this collection, the result then is to project the monstrous outside of our own society’s failings and our own cultural and political anxieties about that society, and to personify, parody and condemn those anxieties as the other’s innate monstrousness: in this case Soviet bloc Communism. This does not mean there was no danger, no threat. Yet the implications of the language deployed regarding Communism are themselves highly ideological and very far from those claims of Western ‘neutrality’: absolutism, extremism, fanaticism, ‘ideology’, and of course, monstrousness.

Notes 1

Conrad Knickerbocker, ‘The Spies Who Come in from Next Door’, Life, 30 April 1965, 13. 2 John le Carré, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (London: Pan, 1964), 231.

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E. g. ‘The spies are not playing Bond-like games: they operate nastily, unspectacularly and with real determination,’ David Holloway, review of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Daily Telegraph, Sept 13, 1963, 19; ‘far from the slick romance of James Bond’s glamorous adventures.’ Kenneth Allsop, ‘Is This the Private Nightmare of a Master Spy,’ review of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Daily Mail, 12 Sept, 1963, 10. 4 Patrick Gaffney, ‘Crime Calendar,’ review of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré, The Scotsman, 21 Sept 1963, 6. 5 Tony Parsons, ‘GQ Icon,’ GQ, 4 December 2013, http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/comment/articles/2013-12/04/john-le-carre-bookstony-parsons. 6 Jerry Palmer, Thrillers: Genesis and Structure of a Popular Genre (London: Edward Arnold), 1978, 185. 7 Palmer, Thrillers, 212. 8 Michael Denning, Cover Stories (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1987), 46. 9 Terry Eagleton, Literary Theory: An Introduction (Malden: Blackwell; 1996 [1983]), 82. 10 Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1971), 189. 11 John le Carré, The Honourable Schoolboy [1977] (London: Sceptre, 1999), 540. 12 LynnDianne Beene, John Le Carré (New York: Twayne, 1991), 89. 13 See: Bruce Merry, Anatomy of the Spy Thriller (Dublin: Gill and MacMillan, 1977), 132; Lars Ole Sauerberg, Secret Agents in Fiction: Ian Fleming, John le Carré and Len Deighton (New York: St Martin’s, 1984), 22; 59 14 John le Carré, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy [1974] (London: Sceptre, 1999), 80. 15 Le Carré, Tinker, 39. 16 Terry Eagleton writes of Frye: ‘Literature is not a way of knowing reality but a kind of collective Utopian dreaming which has gone on throughout history, an expression of those fundamental human desires which have given rise to civilization itself, but which are never fully satisfied there […] Frye’s work emphasizes as it does the Utopian root of literature because it is marked by a deep fear of the actual social world, a distaste for history itself.’ Eagleton, Literary Theory, 80-81. 17 Peter Hennessy, The Secret State: Preparing for the Worst, 1945-2010 [2002] (London: Penguin, 2010), 29, 18 John le Carré, Call for the Dead (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1964 [1961]), 138; ‘Dieter was […] undiminished by the moderating influence of experience’ (le Carré, Call, 131). 19 Le Carré, Call, 138 20 For example, Joan Rockwell, ‘Normative Attitudes of Spies in Fiction’ in Bernard Rosenberg, ed., Mass Culture Revisited (New York: Van Nostrand

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__________________________________________________________________ Reinhold, 1971), 336. Also: Brett F. Woods, Neutral Ground: A Political History of Espionage Fiction (New York: Algora, 2008), 115. 21 Hugh Thomas, ed., The Establishment [1959] (London: Ace, 1962). 22 David Powell, Nationhood & Identity: The British State since 1800 (London: IB Tauris, 2002), 113. 23 Woodrow Wyatt, The Peril in Our Midst (1956), cited in John Jenks, British Propaganda and News Media in the Cold War (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006), 106. 24 Ibid., 106. 25 Adriana Spahr, ‘Unveiling the Truth through Testimony: The Argentinean Dirty War,’ in this volume. 26 Le Carré, Call, 92. 27 Peter Hennessy, The Secret State, 95. 28 Le Carré, Call, 131. 29 Le Carré, Call, 138. 30 Raymond Williams, Culture and Society (London: Hogarth, 1993), 300. 31 Le Carré, Call, 138. 32 Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (New York: Harcourt, 1994 [1950]), 249. 33 Andrew Defty, Britain, America and Anti-Communist Propaganda 1945-53: The Information Research Department (London: Routledge, 2003), 42. 34 Le Carré, The Spy, 9. 35 Le Carré, The Spy, 123. 36 Le Carré, Afterword to Lamplighter edition of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1989), 208. 37 Le Carré, The Spy, 133. 38 Beene, John le Carré, 47. 39 Ronald J. Ambrosetti, ‘A Study of the Spy Genre in Recent Popular Literature,’ unpublished doctoral dissertation (Bowling Green: Bowling Green University, 1973), 103-104. 40 Laura Tracy ‘The Villain as Cultural Double in the British Espionage Novel,’ Clues 9:1 (1988): 11-37, 23. 41 Le Carré, The Spy, 134-5. 42 J. Patrick Dobel, ‘The Honourable Spymaster; John le Carré and the Character of Espionage,’ Administration & Society 20 (1998): 194. 43 Dobel, ‘The Honourable Spymaster,’ 194. 44 John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism, 269: ‘the utilitarian morality does recognise in human beings the power of sacrificing their own greatest good for the good of others.’ 45 George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four (London: Penguin, 2013 [1949]), 301302.

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Le Carré, The Spy, 230. Peter Mario Kreuter, ‘How Ignorance Made a Monster. Or: Writing the History of Vlad the Impaler without the Use of Sources leads to 20,000 Impaled Turks,’ in this volume. 48 Christopher Andrew, The Defence of the Realm: The Authorised History of MI5 (London: Allen Lane, 2009), 344-345. 49 Le Carré, Tinker, 259. 50 Le Carré, Honourable, 65. 51 Le Carré, Honourable, 66. 52 Le Carré, Honourable, 350. 53 Le Carré, Honourable, 353. 54 Le Carré, Tinker, 215. 55 Le Carré, Tinker, 221. 56 Le Carré, Tinker, 220. 57 Carlo Comanducci, ‘Full Metal Abs: The Obscene Spartan Supplement of Liberal Democracy,’ in this volume. 58 Le Carré, Tinker, 222. 59 Michael Wood, ‘Spy Fiction, Spy Fact,’ review of Smiley’s People by John le Carré, New York Times, 6 Jan 1980, 16. 60 Le Carré, Smiley’s, 220. 61 Pierre Macherey, A Theory of Literary Production (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1978 [1966]), 84. 62 Andrew Boyle, Climate of Treason (London: Coronet, 1980 [1979]), 28. 63 Ronald Reagan, Address to the National Association of Evangelicals, 8 March 1983, viewed on 15 May 2014, http://voicesofdemocracy.umd.edu/reagan-evil-empire-speech-text/. 64 Le Carré, Smiley’s People (London: Pan, 1980), 184. 65 Elsa Bouet, ‘Utopian Leprosy: Transforming Gender in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and History in the Strugatsky Brothers’ The Ugly Swans,’ in this volume. 66 Ibid. 67 Le Carré, The Spy, 20. 68 Paul Lashmar and James Oliver, Britain’s Secret Propaganda War (Stroud: Sutton, 1998), 128. 69 Le Carré, The Spy, 20. 70 Le Carré, The Spy, 20. 71 Dobel, 198. 72 Christopher Booker, ‘Spymasters and Spy-Monsters,’ review of Smiley’s People by John le Carré, The Spectator, 9 Feb 1980, 16. 73 A. Alvarez, ‘Half Angels versus Half Devils,’ review of Smiley’s People by John le Carré, The Observer, 3 Feb 1980, 39. 74 Le Carré, Smiley’s, 332. 47

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Bouet, in this volume. Ibid. 77 Le Carré, Smiley’s, 182. 78 Le Carré, Smiley’s, 8 79 George Orwell, ‘Dickens,’ The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell, Vol. 1: An Age Like This (London: Penguin, 1970), 457. Ironically Raymond Williams accused Orwell of much the same myopia. Raymond Williams, Orwell (Glasgow: Fontana, 1971), 25. 80 Kim Philby, My Silent War, St Alban’s: Granada, 1969. 81 Le Carré, Smiley’s People, 67 76

Bibliography Allsop, Kenneth. ‘Is This the Private Nightmare of a Master Spy.’ Review of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré, Daily Mail 12 Sept, 1963, 10. Alvarez, A. ‘Half Angels versus Half Devils.’ Review of Smiley’s People by John le Carré, The Observer, 3 Feb 1980, 39. Ambrosetti, Ronald J. ‘A Study of the Spy Genre in Recent Popular Literature.’ Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Bowling Green University, 1973. Andrew, Christopher. The Defence of the Realm: The Authorised History of MI5. London: Allen Lane, 2009. Arendt, Hannah. The Origins of Totalitarianism. New York: Harcourt, 1994 [1950]. Beene, LynnDianne. John Le Carré. New York: Twayne, 1991. Bloom, Clive, ed. Spy Thrillers: From Buchan to le Carré, Lumiere Cooperative Press, 1990. Booker, Christopher. ‘Spymasters and Spy-Monsters.’ Review of Smiley’s People by John le Carré, The Spectator, 9 Feb 1980, 16. Boyle, Andrew. Climate of Treason. London: Coronet, 1980 [1979]. Defty, Andrew. Britain, America and Anti-Communist Propaganda 1945-53: The Information Research Department. London: Routledge, 2003.

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__________________________________________________________________ Denning, Michael. Cover Stories, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1987. Dobel, J. Patrick. ‘The Honourable Spymaster; John le Carré and the Character of Espionage,’ Administration & Society 20 (1998): 191-215. Eagleton, Terry. Literary Theory: An Introduction. Malden: Blackwell; 1996 [1983]. Foucault, Michel, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Translated by Alan Sheridan. London: Penguin, 1991 [1975]. Frye, Northrop. Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1971 [1957]. Gaffney, Patrick. ‘Crime Calendar.’ Review of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré, The Scotsman, 21 September, 1963, 6. Gross, Miriam. ‘The Secret World of John le Carré,’ The Observer, 3 February 1980, 33-35. Hennessy, Peter. The Secret State: Preparing for the Worst, 1945-2010. London: Penguin, 2010 [2002]. Holloway, David. Review of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré, Daily Telegraph, 13 September 1963, 19. Jenks, John. British Propaganda and News Media in the Cold War. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006. Knickerbocker, Conrad. ‘The Spies Who Come in from Next Door,’ Life, 30 April 1965, 13. Knightley, Philip. The Master Spy. New York: Knopf, 1989. Jameson, Fredric. The Political Unconscious. Abingdon: Routledge, 1983 [1981]. Le Carré, John. Call for the Dead. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1964 [1961]. ———. The Spy Who Came In From the Cold. London: Pan, 1964 [1963]. ———. The Looking Glass War. London: Penguin Classics, 2011 [1965].

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__________________________________________________________________ ———. A Small Town in Germany. London: Pan, 1969 [1968]. ———. Introduction to Philby: The Spy Who Betrayed a Generation, by Bruce Page, David Leitch and Phillip Knightley. London: Deutsch, 1968. ———. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. London: Sceptre, 1999 [1974]. ———. The Honourable Schoolboy. London: Sceptre, 1999 [1977]. ———. Smiley’s People. London: Pan, 1980. Lashmar, Paul and James Oliver. Britain’s Secret Propaganda War. Stroud: Sutton, 1998. Macherey, Pierre. A Theory of Literary Production. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1978 [1966]. Merry, Bruce. Anatomy of the Spy Thriller. Dublin: Gill and MacMillan, 1977. Mill, John Stuart. Utilitarianism. Glasgow: Fount, 1979 [1861]. Orwell, George. The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell, Vol. 1: An Age Like This. London: Penguin, 1976. Palmer, Jerry. Thrillers: Genesis and Structure of a Popular Genre. London: Edward Arnold, 1978. Parsons, Tony. ‘GQ Icon,’ GQ, 4 December 2013. Powell, David. Nationhood & Identity: The British State Since 1800. London: IB Tauris, 2002. Rosenberg, Bernard, ed. Mass Culture Revisited. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1971. Sauerberg, Lars Ole. Secret Agents in Fiction: Ian Fleming, John le Carré and Len Deighton. New York: St Martin’s, 1984. Thomas, Hugh, ed. The Establishment. London: Ace, 1962 [1959].

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__________________________________________________________________ Tracy, Laura. ‘The Villain as Cultural Double in the British Espionage Novel.’ Clues 9.1 (1988): 11-37. Williams, Raymond. Culture and Society. London: Hogarth, 1993 [1958]. ———. Orwell. Glasgow: Fontana, 1971. Wood, Michael. ‘Spy Fiction, Spy Fact.’ Review of Smiley’s People by John le Carré, New York Times, January 6, 1980, 16. Woods, Brett F. Neutral Ground: A Political History of Espionage Fiction. New York: Algora, 2008. Toby Manning is a PhD candidate in the English School of the Open University, a teacher at City Lit College, London and a freelance journalist. His favourite monster is the vampire, Lestat, in Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles.



Part II Desiring the Monstrous



Queer Race Play: Kinky Sex and the Trauma of Racism Dejan Kuzmanovic Abstract This chapter addresses queer race play, a BDSM practice of certain gay men which eroticizes racial difference and sometimes involves explicitly racist fantasies and acts. Moving beyond the knee-jerk reactions of condemning race play as blatantly racist or the live-and-let-live approach which sees in it merely a kinky practice of consenting adults, the chapter aims to offer a more nuanced hypothesis about queer race play as both feeding on and undermining the racist cultural imaginary, especially in the United Sates. While it is undeniable that race play often involves or originates in genuinely racist feelings and attitudes, it arguably also allows for a controlled, ritualized, mutually agreed-upon expression of internalized racism, with potential psychological and social benefits. For some of its practitioners, race play may be a strategy for working through the trauma of racism that has such a powerful impact on the psyche of many people of all races. Building on the recent work of Tim Dean, Ellis Hanson, and José Esteban Muñoz, the chapter argues that race play does not necessarily reduce the participants’ identities to racial stereotypes; instead, it exposes such pernicious stereotypes for what they are and implicitly recognizes that race is a contingent, socially-constructed category rather than a painful destiny. In this sense, race play is a kind of reparative practice which may contribute to making its practitioners less susceptible to more destructive manifestations and consequences of the trauma of racism. In addition, race play can be seen as undermining white privilege by taking whiteness out of its normative invisibility and turning it into an equally marked category as blackness. Key Words: Race play, BDSM, queer interracial relationships, homosexuality, race, racism, racial stereotypes, racial fetish, reparative practice, white privilege. ***** 1. Kink and Racial Politics Numerous practices across the BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Domination, Submission, Sadism, and Masochism) spectrum have by now received substantial and largely approbatory scholarly attention; however, one form of sexual intimacy that has been neglected by BDSM scholars and that still raises even some of the more progressive eyebrows is so-called ‘race play,’ which eroticizes racial difference and sometimes involves explicitly racist fantasies and acts. As an umbrella phrase, ‘race play’ covers a whole range of erotic scenarios based on consensual humiliation and submission of the members of one race or ethnicity by the members of another, ranging from the use of racial and ethnic slurs during sexual intercourse to elaborate enactments of historical racist phenomena, such as

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__________________________________________________________________ chattel slavery in the Antebellum South or concentration camp abuse of Jews in Nazi Germany. The players can be of any gender and racial background and paired up in a number of ways: straight or gay, interracial or of the same race. A participant’s role in race play does not necessarily coincide with his real-life identity (for example, the submissive partner playing the role of the Jewish victim in the concentration camp scenario might not be actually Jewish), which is important to note because that suggests something important about how detachable racist words and fantasies are from their historical origins.1 Nevertheless, race play is usually based on the players’ actual identities (so that a submissive player in a slave auction scenario is most likely to be black), which is especially the case when the eroticized difference unambiguously marks the players’ bodies, typically through the colour of their skin. Since each variation of race play involves complex psychological and social factors specific to the history of a particular racial or ethnic difference involved in it, it should not be assumed that there is a simple equivalence between, say, white-Asian and white-black race play or between heterosexual and homosexual forms of the practice. This chapter focuses explicitly on the relationships between white and black gay men engaged in BDSM practices that emphasize their racial difference, a prominent race play variation in queer subcultures, especially in the United States, where the history of white-on-black racism continues to have a profound impact on many aspects of daily life and cultural imagination.2 Eroticizing and gaining sexual pleasure from words and actions that are widely considered disgusting as historical practices could be easily dismissed as monstrous by those who have not learn the lesson of Monster Theory that ‘the monster is the abjected fragment that enables the formation of all kinds of identities – personal, national, cultural, economic, sexual, psychological, [and] as such it reveals their partiality, their contiguity.’3 In other words, our sense of self is profoundly based on that which we explicitly renounce as playing a part in who we are. Perceiving race play – in any possible permutation (white Master and black slave, black Master and white slave, etc.) – as merely monstrous allows us not to think about how we, too, in ways often difficult to acknowledge or comprehend, might participate in the psycho-social paradigms which enable the very monstrosity we are eager to repudiate. Our condemnation of the monstrous scapegoat allows us to assert our presumed immunity from the unacceptable urges that we can now see as belonging to a less civilized past or characterizing just a few atavistic bad apples in our midst.4 But, as the contributions to this volume variously argue, the line between desire and disgust is thin and slippery.5 This is true not only in the sense that we tend to be curious about that which disgusts us and hence are not above vicariously participating in the monster’s transgressive behaviour, but also in the sense that desire and disgust, far from being purely subjective and mutually exclusive instincts, are both shaped by social phenomena, such as racial difference and inequality, which define us in most intimate ways. It

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__________________________________________________________________ is unsurprising, then, that desire and disgust seep into each other, so that sometimes what makes us gag and what turns us on present two sides of the same coin. Avoiding the facile extremes of self-righteous condemnation by those who see race play as nothing more than blatantly racist behaviour and the unreflective libertarian shrugs of those who see in it merely a kinky practice of consenting adults, this chapter aims to offer a more nuanced hypothesis about queer race play as both feeding on and undermining the racist cultural imaginary in the United Sates. While it is undeniable that race play often involves or originates in genuinely racist feelings and attitudes, it arguably also allows for a controlled, ritualized, mutually agreed-upon expression of internalized racism, with potential psychological and social benefits. In addition, it can be seen as undermining white privilege by taking whiteness out of its normative invisibility and turning it into an equally marked category as blackness. These might appear to be excessively strong claims about certain comparatively rare and controversial sexual proclivities, but numerous online accounts by race play participants, as well as the few academic discussions of the subject, suggest that this sexual practice is related in fascinating ways to some key aspects of racial relations in society at large, at least in the United States. For example, a popular social website bringing together black Doms and white subs is called ‘Black Man’s Revenge,’ explicitly framing black men’s domination of their white male sexual partners as payback for white men’s cultural domination. Another website, called ‘Black Sovereign,’ which combines information about civil rights struggle and a black Master’s reflections on his relationships with submissive white men in ways suggesting their interrelatedness, offers the following explanation: Black Man’s Revenge (BMR) refers to the accomplishment and achievement of Black MEN owning their own futures. Changing the world by simply being themselves. Embracing their own natural power and strength by believing in themselves. When you are PROUD of who and what you are, it radiates and draws in others like moths to a flame.6 The Internet abounds with similar examples of conflating black men’s sexual domination of willing white submissives with pronouncements of racial pride and of framing sexual fantasies and practices as a form of redress for the history of racial injustice. A closer look at several accounts of this phenomenon reveals that race play, a seemingly marginal erotic practice involving a small number of outlandish kinksters, is in fact closely connected to broader issues of undeniable social significance. But before addressing the form of queer race play based on black men’s domination of white submissives, it might be wise to consider first race play situations in which white men dominate willing black submissives since this race play variant has already triggered some impassioned discussion.

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__________________________________________________________________ 2. Working through the Trauma of Racism In August 2012, a blog posting on Daily Kos, a website dedicated to political and cultural analysis of current events in the United States, triggered a debate about race play that spread like wildfire throughout the blogosphere and engendered a range of responses that illustrate typical reactions to accounts of race play and other BDSM scenes. Entitled ‘Race, Sex, and BDSM: On “Plantation Retreats” Where Black People Go to Serve Their White “Masters,”’ the posting included a white man’s description of an elaborate scene of race play he hosts on his property in the American South, which is worth quoting at length: [Plantation Retreat] provide[s] a safe and welcoming, private place (and opportunity) for White Masters and plantation slaves/niggers to meet and explore their mutual fantasies. … The gathering lasts up to 2 weeks … Slaves arriving on their own … are considered (and protected) as property of the plantation or my personal property. … Sex is not required, but depends on individual choice (as do other activities). … A slave’s assignments and duties are based on its experience and abilitylevel (some require whipping and punishment). … Normally a slave sleeps at the foot of a Master’s bed, but some can be chained or caged elsewhere. The minimum requirement for slaves is that they be obedient and respectful of all Masters and work to give the Masters an enjoyable time. This can be anything from preparing and serving drinks and meals, doing housework or yard work, to providing sexual relief on demand, to hard labor in the compound (depending on the slave’s previously-stated limitations). Slaves should expect Masters to be totally comfortable and free in using humiliating or degrading racist speech in referring to or speaking to mud-slaves. It’s not all misery and punishment for slaves … there is plenty of time for camaraderie and playful fun also. Some slaves even form a brotherly bond with the other slaves that serve with them. Masters also form lasting bonds and friendships based on their mutual interests and sharing slaves. It’s just a small friendly gathering of White Masters at my house/compound…being served by mud-slaves as might have been in a modern version of slave-days. One might call it a situation of consensual nonconsent/slavery. Slaves can set their limits and the time they will be in service … and also what they expect to learn. The more a slave lets me know about itself in advance, the better I can guide its growth from the experience.7

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__________________________________________________________________ This description is representative in its emphasis on consent, pre-determined personal limits, a sense of community, and a potential for personal growth – all of them components of numerous accounts of BDSM scenes. What makes this account different is its unapologetic racism, evident not only in its appropriation of racist vocabulary and imagery, but also in its loving nostalgia for the customs and attitudes of pre-Civil War chattel slavery. It is unsurprising, then, that most responses to it were limited either to simple-minded open-mindedness of the liveand-let-live variety or sheer disgusted outrage and consternation.8 As usual, respondents’ objections to race play fell into one of these two general categories: 1) concerns about psychological harm to participants (for example, deepening of a black man’s self-loathing or hardening of white man’s supremacist views), and 2) concerns about the negative impact on the African-American community (the idea that black race players, both dominant and submissive, buy into racist ideology instead of manifesting black pride in culturally desirable ways). Some participants in the debate, however, moved beyond knee-jerk reactions and suggested that these concerns about race play are exaggerated. They speculated that, as highly delimited and ritualized enactments of racist fantasies, race play can be a means of working through our repressed fantasies of control, as well as through the trauma of real-life racism. One respondent saw in it a kind of catharsis: It’s compensation. That which we cannot do in real life (in this case own slaves), we compensate for through the medium of play. In other words we cannot exercise our darkest fantasies without breaking the law, so we transfer that inner longing to the realm of fantasy. We wear a mask. We pretend we are someone else (in this case slaves and slave-masters), we live [sic] this world and all its limitations behind for a while, and create a world where such limitations do not exist. It is catharsis. It helps dispense desires without the consequences we may face for having them.9 The suggestion that, even if only in ‘our darkest fantasies,’ we might desire to own and control another person should be accompanied by the awareness that for white Americans, for obvious historical reasons, that fantasy is most likely to take the shape of owning a black slave. The unelaborated assumption behind the reference to catharsis is that enacting such a fantasy in the limited and consensual context of race play might have the effect of relieving the individual, to some extent, from both the will to control others and from any racist sentiments, overt or repressed, that his racist culture has imprinted on his psyche. Another comment on the same blog posting may be somewhat less articulate, but it is equally intriguing in its effort to explain the scene’s attraction to the black men who willingly subject themselves to white men’s racist fantasies and actions:

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__________________________________________________________________ Or it could be something like: this is what Society says I'm supposed to be, but I'm not, but here I'm pretending to be... relaxing from the struggle, sort of. Something like the Twilight thing, where the extinction of self has been eroticized and socially revered.10 The idea that self-debasement is an important, even inevitable, aspect of the human condition, has inspired certain theoretical perspectives which will be addressed later in this chapter. Here it will suffice to interpret the above passage as suggesting that race play might relax and exorcize the shame and self-loathing that a racist culture imposes on those it explicitly or implicitly denigrates and marginalizes, even as it also, to refer back to the previous quote, creates a space for a relatively innocuous expression of the desire for domination on the part of those who have been socialized into racial privilege. If these speculations are correct, the result of race play might be a salutary purging of both excessive self-loathing and excessive self-regard that perhaps mark the real-life personalities of the participants. One way to elaborate this argument is by developing a metaphor used by the author of the posting which initiated the debate. His initial rhetorical question – ‘Who are we to judge how adults in a consensual relationship decide to work through its pain and ugliness?’11 – would be limited to the commendable but uninstructive ethical relativism if it were not followed up with the suggestion that race play is not just a way in which consenting adults might choose to engage in sexual acts, but also a strategy for coping with the trauma of racism, its pain and ugliness. His insight deepens as he implies that this trauma’s victims are not limited to black people: White supremacy is a mental illness. Western (and global) society is sick with it. All of us, across the color line, have been impacted by white supremacy and white racism.12 It is very difficult for most people, white and black, to accept that we are all sick with racism, however vigilantly we police and censor our thoughts and behaviour.13 For all the growing prominence of various consciousness-raising efforts (Safe Zone Workshops, Diversity Trainings, and the like), the concepts of white privilege, racial micro-aggressions, or the racial victimization complex, to name but a few, are still intuitively unacceptable or incomprehensible to many, regardless of their race. In the context of widespread blindness to one’s own implication in the social and psychic structures that could justly be called racist, there is something refreshing about the race players’ willingness to acknowledge (no doubt, with varied degrees of self-awareness and the ability to articulate it) the inescapability of one’s psychic rootedness within the racist cultural imaginary, at

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__________________________________________________________________ least in the United States. It does not require an in-depth knowledge of psychoanalysis or repeated readings of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness to suspect that, like with any repressed psychic content, the intensity of our blindness to our own suppressed feelings of racial distrust and resentment are directly proportional to the likelihood of these normally dormant sentiments coming back to haunt us in some spectacularly unpleasant or violent manifestation, should we find ourselves in circumstances that crack the veneer of our politically correct feelings and civilized behaviour.14 If the disease of racism has really acquired epidemic proportions, and if its symptoms are dangerously difficult to observe in those living in the shadow of its latent stage, then the ailment’s more visible symptoms, such as race play, as long as they occur in a relatively safe and controlled environment, might have a salutary effect on both the affected individuals and the society’s ability to comprehend and contain the epidemic. However, the explanatory power of extended metaphors being limited, it is necessary to introduce some evidence to corroborate this hypothesis. It is not difficult to find anecdotal evidence in the form of online statements by race play practitioners which support the claims about the beneficial effects of race play. For example, here is a white sub explaining his desire to serve black Masters: Much of my younger life, i was very much a racist, especially towards Black Men. i’ve realized that it came out of natural feelings of inferiority, In the last several years, i’ve gone out of my way to be polite and helpful to any Black Man who i’ve come across. However, i am now feeling a desire to make amends for my disrespect with a deeper service to a superior Black Man.15 The black Master to whom the white sub has made this plea responds as follows: I have been served by many whites who wish to make amends for their hatred and treatment towards Blacks in the past. It’s almost like they wish for me to forgive them for their sins by serving me in whatever capacities I prefer. In the past, my first instinct was to BREAK THEM … and I did. In my mind, I was delivering retribution for my brothers and sisters who may have been harmed by that sub’s actions in the past. But now, it’s different. I want to know why they behaved as they did.16 This exchange illustrates how race play practitioners themselves may perceive their activities as a form of redress and redemption for the historical trauma of racism. Admittedly, it is hard to gauge the level of authenticity in these statements since the rhetoric used by the race players is clearly a part of their mutual turn-on.

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__________________________________________________________________ However, that may be beside the point. What matters is that both men acknowledge and aim to work through the trauma of racism, whose reality and seriousness is beyond doubt. They do not pretend that their interracial desires are unrelated to racial bias and stereotyping, but they show an awareness of the harm historically produced by such bias, and they detach these stereotypes from their historical connection with injustice and exploitation. In other words, they see themselves as engaging in a practice which exposes racial stereotypes for what they are: cultural tropes whose impact is not irreversibly harmful.17 Seen this way, race play may complement anti-racist politics rather than shore up racist ideology, a view explicitly endorsed by the blog from which these examples are taken. Its owner, who goes by Black Sovereign, provides information about Civil Rights history and a report from a conference on the Rights of Africans in America, right next to the tips for white men’s proper submission to Black Men and the postings about the white submissives in his sexual and/or domestic servitude. For this black man, at any rate, his sexual proclivities and his racial politics go hand in hand. In fact, it is worth taking a brief detour in order to note that similar interlinking of politics and sexuality marks some of the most radical voices of black resistance to white supremacy. For example, Eldridge Cleaver, a prominent member of the Black Panthers in the late 1960s, offers the following analysis of the relationship between black and white men in American culture: The black man’s penis was the monkey wrench in the white man’s perfect Machine. … [I]n the deal which the white man forced upon the black man, the black man was given the Body as his domain while the white man preempted the Brain for himself. By and by, [the white man] discovered that in the fury of his scheming he had blundered and clipped himself of his penis.18 This is more than just using sexual metaphors to argue that racism has reduced black men to their physicality and denied them mental sovereignty. ‘When I put my arms around a white woman,’ Cleaver says, ‘I’m hugging freedom.’19 After the lynching of Emmett Till in 1955 for an alleged flirtation with a white woman, Cleaver found himself aroused by a photograph of that woman, which he saw in a newspaper, and this was his reaction: ‘I flew into a rage at myself, at America, at white women, at the history that had placed those tensions of lust and desire in my chest.’20 Two days later he had a nervous breakdown. The implication is clear: history has a profound impact on desire. When it comes to interracial sexual attraction, the history of racism is never far below the surface. Cleaver was enraged with himself and history because he felt that his desire contradicted his identity politics, but there is nothing surprising about the eroticization of a taboo, whether that taboo is interracial sexuality or interracial domination and submission. However, a man does not have to pay for it with his

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__________________________________________________________________ life or a nervous breakdown. Could race play be a way of relieving the tension between our political views and sexual turn-ons, thus warding off some form of nervous breakdown or a genuinely harmful outburst of racism? The psychological tension between racial identity and interracial desire is a product of a racist society, and there is nothing inevitable about it. Black Sovereign and his white sub appear to handle such tension much more successfully than Cleaver did, as they use race play, not to deny their vulnerability to the trauma of racism, but to endeavour to work through it. 3. Race Play as a Reparative Practice While the dearth of scholarship on race play inevitably confines the present argument to the level of speculation, the existing empirical research on BDSM practices in general suggests that this approach to race play is not far-fetched. Multiple studies based on surveys and interviews involving BDSM practitioners emphasize non-sexual positive outcomes of BDSM practices. One study concludes that BDSM ‘participants are left with a sense of well-being and happiness.’21 They ‘described being able to explore themselves through BDSM, and reported spiritual, cathartic or therapeutic benefits.’22 Another study discusses multiple accounts of ‘BDSM play as a safe space [from which] to explore issues that might traditionally have been brought to contexts such as counselling and psychotherapy,’23 and yet another, authored by a licensed psychotherapist who is also a BDSM practitioner, argues that BDSM players ‘bring our traumas into consciousness and into the flow of eros and give them a healing injection.’24 There are no similar studies focusing specifically on race play, but if these conclusions apply to other forms of BDSM, it is not entirely unfounded to extend them tentatively to race play, as well. Some participants in it might experience a kind of racial healing, paradoxically relieving the emotional and psychological hurt of racism through actions that turn a historical trauma imposed upon them into a chosen and self-controlled performance. If it is true that we are all ‘sick with racism’ (that is, suffering from racism-inflected thoughts and feelings, which we are likely to disavow and suppress with potentially harmful consequences), then some of us may benefit from a practice that enables expressions of such thoughts and feelings in a manner distinct from (though not unrelated to) real-life racism. In addition to extrapolating from empirical studies of BDSM in general, an analysis of race play along these lines can also benefit from the long tradition of philosophical and psychoanalytic thought that places shame, defacement, abjection, or the death drive at the very core of being human.25 This theoretical lens supports the reading of the desires fuelling race play as potentially psychologically and socially salutary. If racism entails a wide-spread internalization of racist stereotypes, rhetoric, and behaviour, the controlled performance of such racist tropes forces to the surface what many would rather keep invisible: the lasting legacy of historical racism in the most intimate areas of our lives and psyches.

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__________________________________________________________________ One recent example of theoretical examination in this tradition that is especially relevant in this context is Tim Dean’s book Unlimited Intimacy: Reflections on the Subculture of Barebacking. Dean’s primary objective is to depathologize fetishism, including the practices of ‘barebacking’ and ‘bugchasing,’26 which are at the centre of his analysis, but he also addresses queer interracial relationships. His admonishment that it is a mistake to treat ‘racial fetishism as if it were the same thing as stereotyping’27 is particularly valuable for understanding race play. Dean clarifies his point by referring to the psychoanalytic premise that desire and identity are at odds with each other: From a psychoanalytic perspective, identity and desire remain antithetical, in the sense that the unconscious displacements characteristic of desire are intolerable to the structure of the ego or to any stable sense of self. Desire is the enemy of the ego, not its expression. [This] must be appreciated if we are to conceive of erotic desire across the color line as anything more than an epiphenomenon of racial inequality. […] Stereotypes concern identity, not desire; by contrast, fetishism [including racial fetishism] is a form of desire largely independent of identity.28 If a black man is attracted primarily to white men, he may well be fetishizing whiteness, but that does not necessarily make him ashamed of his own blackness. And if a white man is attracted primarily to black men, that could mean that he fetishizes blackness, but it does not necessarily follow that he reduces black men to their physicality. Even if racial fetishism is impersonalizing, as any fetishism arguably is, that does not make it automatically dehumanizing. In accordance with this view, it could be said that what is at the core of race play is not a reduction of the participants’ respective identities to racial stereotypes, but a transformation of these stereotypes into racial fetish, which allows interracial desires to play out without entrapping the players inside pernicious stereotypes. To the contrary, racial stereotypes are denaturalized and exposed as stereotypes, not signs of identity but ‘temporary positions in a configuration of power whose very instability – its impotence to confer secure identities – yields pleasure.’29 In other words, race play (and racial fetish more generally) implicitly recognizes race as a contingent, socially-constructed category and derives pleasure from denying it the status of painful destiny. Going a step further, queer theorists Ellis Hanson and José Esteban Muñoz have suggested that race play can have a reparative effect. Building on the theories of Melanie Klein and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Muñoz defines the reparative stance as ‘us[ing] our own psychic and imaginative resources to reconstruct partial or dangerously incomplete objects that structure our reality into a workable sense of wholeness. The reconstructed sense of an object offers us a kind of sustenance

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__________________________________________________________________ and comfort.’30 Muñoz applies this idea to a reading of the posthumously published stories and diaries by Gary Fisher, a submissive young black man who engaged in a series of sexual encounters and relationships with dominant white men, enjoyed being humiliated and debased by them, and wrote about his experiences and fantasies with admirable honesty and self-reflectiveness.31 Taking Sedgwick’s lead, Muñoz sees Fisher’s racial fetishism and self-abjection as his idiosyncratic ways of working through personal trauma and building, to use Hanson’s phrase, ‘a sustainable life’ in the face of the fact that his sense of self did not conform to culturally desirable forms of black masculinity.32 Bringing these insights to bear on race play in general, one could argue that, if a black man’s sense of the world is impacted by the history of racial subjugation, humiliation, and shame to the degree that such feelings profoundly shape his psyche, causing hurt and self-loathing – or their twin brothers: aggression and desire for revenge – then enacting these feelings through sexual fantasy and play may facilitate his achievement of a self-concept less susceptible to uncontrolled and more destructive manifestations of his trauma. However, this is not to say that race play practitioners are immune to the trauma of racism or that race play is ‘merely’ fantasy and consensual play, and thus ‘free’ of real racial bias. Muñoz, too, is careful to point out that ‘these fetishistic erotics don’t exist in a vacuum or unmoor themselves from the fact of systemic racism. […] Racial bias can and does coexist with the erotics of racial fetishism, as irreconcilable integers.’33 But what Muñoz finds intriguing, and potentially valuable, in these practices is that they refuse to take reciprocity or equivalence as a prerequisite for self-emancipation and community building. Perceiving an impasse in the traditional rhetoric of equality-based rights in mainstream gay and lesbian activism in North America, Muñoz calls for a ‘queer politics of the incommensurable’34 because, in his view, the relationships which refuse reciprocity and equivalence gesture toward a ‘communism of the incommensurate’ or ‘an experience of being-in-common-in-difference.’35 In other words, they suggest the possibility of a meaningful community that is based neither on the presumed equality of its members nor on the assumption of a universally endorsed sense of the world (one, for example, in which being a slave or a slave-owner is unambiguously tragic or reprehensible). Freed from the reified notions of, say, ‘happiness’ or ‘dignity’ or ‘fairness,’ individuals relate to each other in ways that make them more whole without conforming to any socially desirable identities, thus arriving, to quote Muñoz one more time, ‘at an actual sense of the world, which is the world as a plurality of senses.’36 From this perspective, queer race play is a form of alternative world-building, a practice which enables its participants to create identities and relationships which are based on the traditional concepts of masculinity, race, domination, submission, and consent, but resist the reification of their meaning and valuation according to conventional semantic and ethical standards coercively promoted by the cultural mainstream. Moreover, in its reworking of racial stereotypes, race play explicitly

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__________________________________________________________________ fetishizes whiteness as much as blackness, thus contributing to the dismantling of the invisibility of white privilege. 4. Making Whiteness Visible Chipping away at the privileged position of whiteness as the racial norm, an unmarked category in opposition with which other racial categories are conceived, is an important tool in the efforts to denaturalize whiteness and undermine the pernicious effects of white privilege, which appears to prevail even within BDSM communities. In his recent book entitled Queer BDSM Intimacies, Robin Bauer reports that within the BDSM communities he studied, few white practitioners considered race as relevant for their BDSM practices. Bauer argues that it remains a ‘white privilege not to concern oneself with one’s racial status and history when taking on the role of a slave or slave-owner.’37 The widespread cultural myth of post-racist colour blindness, Bauer explains, enables white individuals to overlook institutionalized racism and imagine their BDSM play as not racialized. As a result, ‘whiteness remained invisible as a racial norm.’38 As if in support of Bauer’s argument, a meta-analysis of extant literature in the field found that ‘research on alternative sexual communities has often (unwittingly) reinforced and (re)constituted a homogenous image of these non-conformist subcultures’ and also that ‘race’ is often absent in scholarly analyses of BDSM.39 This would be impossible in an examination of race play, which inevitably puts the category of race front and centre. The same study yields another surprising conclusion: ‘alternative sex publics – which encompass such things as community meetings, national conferences, bathhouse events and public BDSM play parties – are predominantly white.’40 The authors offer several potential explanations, including the possibility that the researchers have failed to find ways of reaching out to nonwhite BDSM practitioners. However, they also argue that ‘[w]hite privilege […] generally remains as invisible in [BDSM] groups as [it] is in more conventional society, thus becoming the dominant racial paradigm.’41 Arguably, those BDSM practitioners who self-consciously engage in race play, far from being blind to white privilege, explicitly examine it in a manner that perhaps complements more theoretical peeling of the many layers of white privilege. There is no doubt that BDSM researchers, like researchers in many other areas, should devise better ways of reaching out to racial minorities, but we should also keep in mind that race is not just a demographic category but also a fetish of exceptional interest to those who study intersections of gender, sexuality, and race. While the putative psychological and social benefits of race play are still up for debate, the need for a sustained and non-judgmental study of this BDSM practice is evident. It is unhelpful to see race play merely as an expression of racism in our society. This form of queer intimacy clearly partakes in social pathologies of racism, but it might also have the power to exorcize these pathologies by turning them into an instrument of mutual fulfilment and satisfaction.

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Notes 1

Race play is possible between members of the same race, such as when a black individual, gay or straight, uses racial slurs in addressing his or her black sexual partner. There is also no reason why two white individuals could not use during sexual intercourse the slurs historically applied to black people if that serves the purpose of their sexual arousal. This potential discrepancy between the race players’ real-life and sex-play identities suggests that any facile identification of race play with historical racism misconstrues an important aspect of this phenomenon. If a slur from the verbal arsenal of a white racist can be applied to a submissive white man, or if a non-Jewish person can submit to eroticized acts inspired by anti-Semitism, then these scenarios defuse the victimizing force of racist or anti-Semitic words and acts. 2 This study originated in an analysis of online representations of race play in the specifically North American context, and the examples used belong exclusively to that context. While race play is by no means limited to the United States, exploring it in other geographical contexts necessitates paying close attention to the history of race relations in that specific area. 3 Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, ‘Monster Culture (Seven Theses),’ Monster Theory: Reading Culture, ed. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen (Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), 19-20. 4 When a group of American soldiers abused and humiliated Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in 2003, they were widely described in the United States as ‘a few bad apples,’ incomprehensible miscreants whose monstrous behavior in no way reflected the values of the U. S. military forces. That rhetorical move, deliberately or unwittingly, served to mask the pervasive culture of defying legal and moral principles of warfare, which marked so many aspects of the American ‘war on terror’ (such as water boarding and other ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’). 5 See, for example, Kristen Wright, ‘Introduction,’ in this volume. 6 ‘What Does Black Man’s Revenge Mean?’ Black Sovereign, December 14, 2014, viewed on 31 January 2015, http://www. blacksovereign.com/black-mans-revengemean. Blog. The words ‘MEN’ and ‘PROUD’ are capitalized in the original. The website ‘Black Man’s Revenge’ itself has gone through several online incarnations. Currently (January 2015), there are two separate websites (blackmansrevenge2.com and blackmansrevenge.wordpress.com) as well as a Facebook page of the same name. 7 Chauncey DeVega, ‘Race, Sex, and BDSM: On “Plantation Retreats” Where Black People Go to Serve Their White “Masters,”’ Daily Kos, August 14, 2012, viewed on 31 January 2015, http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/08/14/1120168/Race-Sex-and-BDSM-On-Plantation-Retreats-Where-Black-People-Go-to-ServeTheir-White-Masters. Blog. DeVega has his own blog, ‘We Are Respectable

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__________________________________________________________________ Negroes,’ where in October 2013 he posted a kind of sequel to his original posting about race play, viewed on 15 April 2015, http://www.chaunceydevega.com/2013/10/revisiting-plantation-retreatswhere.html. 8 Unlike some transgressive practices condemned by the mainstream, race play is unlikely ever to be perceived as ‘cool’ in certain areas of popular culture. For a discussion of the perceptions of black magic as ‘cool,’ see William Redwood, ‘Absolute Beasts? Social Mechanics of Achieved Monstrosity,’ in this volume. 9 DeVega, ‘Race, Sex, and BDSM.’ Scroll down to the comments section to find this particular comment posted by a person identified as ‘Shawn Russell.’ 10 DeVega, ‘Race, Sex, and BDSM.’ Scroll down to the comments section to find this particular comment posted by a person identified as ‘TiaRachel.’ The italics are in the original. 11 Ibid. 12 Ibid. 13 While it would be implausible to claim that race players’ desires and actions are free of racism, it is also worth wondering whether anyone’s desires and actions are. If recent studies of monsters and the monstrous have taught us anything, it is that we are especially likely to see as monstrous in others that which we are unwilling or unable to see in ourselves. Various chapters in this volume elaborate this insight. For example, to read a discussion of how even modern practitioners of black magic project the ‘real’ evil-doing on other magicians, see Redwood, in this volume. 14 Such blindness has contributed to a recent string of deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police in the United States. As long as systemic racial bias and stereotyping in American law enforcement goes unrecognized and such incidents are explained simply as mistakes made by individual (undertrained or overworked) officers, unarmed black men will continue to be shot and killed by the police force. 15 ‘Re: Service,’ Black Sovereign, January 6, 2014, viewed on 6 February 2015, http://www.blacksovereign.com/re-service. Blog. The word ‘I’ is in lower case throughout the original posting. The submissive author chooses not to capitalize the pronoun as a gesture of self-abnegation and deference to the black Master. 16 Ibid. The words ‘BREAK THEM’ are capitalized in the original. 17 This strategy is not unlike the appropriation of the term ‘queer’ as an expression of pride rather than insult and shame, or the way in which some queers endorse the stereotype of gay men’s effeminacy and use it to critique and undermine harmful gender norms and assumptions. 18 Eldridge Cleaver, Soul on Ice (New York: Dell, 1968), 164. 19 Ibid., 160. 20 Ibid., 11.

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__________________________________________________________________ 21

Emma L. Turley, Nigel King and Trevor Butt, ‘”It Started When I Barked Once When I Was Licking His Boots!”: A Descriptive Phenomenological Study of the Everyday Experience of BDSM,’ Psychology and Sexuality 2.2 (2011): 131. 22 Turley, King and Butt, ‘“It Started When I Barked,”’ 132. 23 Meg Barker, Camelia Gupta and Alessandra Iantaffi, ‘The Power of Play: The Potentials and Pitfalls in Healing Narratives of BDSM,’ Safe, Sane and Consensual: Contemporary Perspectives on Sadomasochism, ed. Darren Langdridge and Meg Barker (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007): 197. These authors are careful to point out the ‘pitfalls’ of being too eager to universalize or idealize the healing narratives of BDSM, but they mostly validate such narratives. 24 Dossie Easton, ‘Shadowplay: S/M Journeys to Our Selves,’ Safe, Sane and Consensual: Contemporary Perspectives on Sadomasochism, ed. Darren Langdridge and Meg Barker (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007): 224. 25 This tradition extends from Georges Bataille and Julia Kristeva to Leo Bersani and Lee Edelman, to name just a few of its proponents whose work is particularly influential in queer studies. A very useful summary of these arguments can be found in Kathryn Bond Stockton, Beautiful Bottom, Beautiful Shame: Where ‘Black’ Meets ‘Queer’ (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2006), 1-38. 26 ‘Barebacking’ refers to the practice of having anal sex without condoms, whether because there is little danger of contracting a sexually transmitted disease or because of a principled choice not to allow the fear of such diseases, especially HIV, to interfere with one’s preference for unprotected sex. ‘Bugchasing’ is the phenomenon of gay men seeking to get infected with HIV or eroticizing the possibility of getting infected, turning the HIV virus into a fetish. 27 Tim Dean, Unlimited Intimacy: Reflections on the Subculture of Barebacking (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2009), 165. 28 Ibid., 162. 29 Ibid., 168. 30 José Esteban Muñoz, ‘Race, Sex, and the Incommensurate: Gary Fisher with Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick,’ Queer Futures: Reconsidering Ethics, Activism and the Political, ed. Elahe Haschemi Yekani, Eveline Kilian and Beatrice Michaelis (London: Ashgate, 2013), 110. 31 Gary Fisher, Gary in Your Pocket: Stories and Notebooks of Gary Fisher (Durham: Duke University Press, 1996). Fisher died in 1994 due to AIDS-related complications. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, who was his professor in a graduate program and a confidante, edited the book and wrote an afterword, which Muñoz also discusses in his chapter. 32 Hanson’s useful clarification of Sedgwick’s notion of ‘reparative reading’ is worth quoting in full: ‘a critical practice that begins from a position of psychic damage, the “depressive position,” and that bears within it the possibility of a “reparative position” that picks us the fragments to construct a sustainable life.’

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__________________________________________________________________ See Ellis Hanson, ‘The Future’s Eve: Reparative Readings After Sedgwick,’ South Atlantic Quarterly 110.1 (2011): 102. 33 Muñoz, ‘Race, Sex, and the Incommensurate,’ 111-112. 34 Ibid., 103. 35 Ibid., 112. 36 Ibid., 112. 37 Robin Bauer, Queer BDSM Intimacies: Critical Consent and Pushing Boundaries (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), 188 (italics in the original). 38 Ibid., 190 (italics in the original). On the same page, Bauer, whose book focuses on what he calls ‘dyke+queer BDSM communities,’ claims that ‘explicit use of racist stereotypes was a hard limit for most (white) interview partners’ (italics in the original). If his claim is accurate and generalizable, then race play seems much more common in male queer BDSM communities, which might mean that these communities are less susceptible to the myth of colour blindness and less likely to perpetuate unexamined white privilege. This fascinating difference, if actual, deserves further exploration. 39 Elisabeth Sheff and Corie Hammers, ‘The Privilege of Perversities: Race, Class and Education among Polyamorists and Kinksters,’ Psychology and Sexuality 2.3 (2011): 200. 40 Ibid., 204. 41 Ibid., 209.

Bibliography Barker, Meg, Camelia Gupta and Alessandra Iantaffi. ‘The Power of Play: The Potentials and Pitfalls in Healing Narratives of BDSM.’ Safe, Sane and Consensual: Contemporary Perspectives on Sadomasochism, edited by Darren Langdridge and Meg Barker, 197-216. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. Bauer, Robin. Queer BDSM Intimacies: Critical Consent and Pushing Boundaries. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. Bond Stockton, Kathryn. Beautiful Bottom, Beautiful Shame: Where ‘Black’ Meets ‘Queer’. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2006. Cleaver, Eldridge. Soul on Ice. New York: Dell, 1968. Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome. ‘Monster Culture (Seven Theses).’ Monster Theory: Reading Culture, edited by Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, 3-25. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 1996.

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__________________________________________________________________ Dean, Tim. Unlimited Intimacy: Reflections on the Subculture of Barebacking. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2009. DeVega, Chauncey. ‘Race, Sex, and BDSM: On “Plantation Retreats” Where Black People Go to Serve Their White “Masters.”’ Daily Kos, August 14, 2012. Viewed on 31 January 2015. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/08/14/1120168/Race-Sex-and-BDSM-On-Plantation-Retreats-Where-Black-People-Go-to-ServeTheir-White-Masters. Blog. Easton, Dossie. ‘Shadowplay: S/M Journeys to Our Selves,’ Safe, Sane and Consensual: Contemporary Perspectives on Sadomasochism, edited by Darren Langdridge and Meg Barker, 217-228. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. Fisher, Gary. Gary in Your Pocket: Stories and Notebooks of Gary Fisher. Durham: Duke University Press, 1996. Hanson, Ellis. ‘The Future’s Eve: Reparative Readings After Sedgwick.’ South Atlantic Quarterly 110.1 (2011): 101-119. Muñoz, José Esteban. ‘Race, Sex, and the Incommensurate: Gary Fisher with Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick.’ Queer Futures: Reconsidering Ethics, Activism and the Political, edited by Elahe Haschemi Yekani, Eveline Kilian and Beatrice Michaelis, 103-115. London: Ashgate, 2013. ‘Re: Service.’ Black Sovereign, January 6, 2014 Viewed on 6 February 2015. http://www.blacksovereign.com/re-service. Blog. Sheff, Elisabeth and Corie Hammers. ‘The Privilege of Perversities: Race, Class and Education among Polyamorists and Kinksters.’ Psychology and Sexuality 2.3 (2011): 198-223. Turley, Emma L., Nigel King and Trevor Butt. ‘”It Started When I Barked Once When I Was Licking His Boots!”: A Descriptive Phenomenological Study of the Everyday Experience of BDSM.’ Psychology and Sexuality 2.2 (2011): 123-136. ‘What Does Black Man’s Revenge Mean?’ Black Sovereign, December 14, 2014. Viewed on 31 January 2015, http://www.blacksovereign.com/black-mans-revengemean/. Blog.

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__________________________________________________________________ Dejan Kuzmanovic teaches nineteenth- and twentieth-century British literature and queer theory at the University of Wisconsin—Stevens Point. His current scholarship focuses on Oscar Wilde, E. M. Forster, and forms of queer existence.

Absolute Beasts? Social Mechanics of Achieved Monstrosity William Redwood Abstract The focus of this chapter is the monstrousness of so-called black magicians within the contemporary esoteric subculture. It aims to offer some observations on some of the mechanics of this very particular type of monstrousness. After a working definition of esotericism is outlined and the research methods explained, the argument proceeds. The question of why anyone would be attracted to the darker side of esotericism is posed. Issues of class, gender and cultural appropriation are examined in turn, and conclusions of varying solidity and certainty emerge. Then the complex and controversial matter of authenticity (or lack of) within modern magic is addressed. It is ultimately suggested that the dark side of occultism, while less real than is often imagined, nevertheless has a powerful semiotic significance in that, as well as having an appeal all of its own, it is also an important symbolic currency with which magical identities are negotiated. Key Words: Anthropology, social science, subculture, esotericism, magic, new age, alternative spirituality, monstrosity, class, gender, symbolic capital. ***** 1. Exploring Esotericism [T]he wizard cannot be human-hearted when he seeks to tap the force of the universe. He performs monstrous and arbitrary acts to loosen the hold of human limitations upon himself.1 So writes one Peter Carroll, a walker of the Left Hand Path of contemporary esotericism. The type of monstrousness examined in this chapter is that of today’s so-called black magicians (‘so-called’ simply because they would not use such a term of themselves, as we will see.) Any monstrousness they demonstrate is mainly achieved, rather than ascribed. That is to say, it is one that these people have sought for themselves rather than had placed upon them by others. This chapter offers some observations on some of the mechanics of this very particular type of monstrousness. Certain of its findings will be more generalizable than others but at the very least, it can be expected to provide an interesting insight into the lives of some real, human, monsters. When I began a PhD on London’s esoteric subculture, the scene was split along familiar lines. There were, everyone said, different types of magician: some were white, good and pure in their aspirations and some black, dark and demonic in their doings. This binary is of course a fairly familiar remnant of Christian thought,

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__________________________________________________________________ which makes sense because, whatever may now be claimed to the contrary, esoteric magic was once part of the Christian worldview.2 The old celestial versus infernal binary, however, is now slightly complicated by the existence of nature magic located in the middle of it. Focussed on the natural world and environmentalism, eco-magic is a fairly recent phenomenon that relies on a view of nature that owes much to romanticism. Although these ‘green’ magicians may be a little ‘earthy,’ literally and figuratively, it was generally agreed by esotericists that they were good folk and did not constitute any threat (so long as one was not destroying their environment). Many esotericists warned me against the black magicians however: they were apparently mad, bad and dangerous to know. Indeed, they were dangerous even to speak with or sit near. Strikingly, other anthropologists sometimes warned me about them, and so both local and scientific admonitions were unambiguous in their assessment of a clear and present danger. For reasons too complex to detail here, by the end of my research I had come to the conclusion that on a theoretical level, one had to study magic as a whole (rather than simply the seemingly nice bits) and that in practical terms, the walkers of the Left Hand Path (as darker esotericists are sometimes known) were nothing like I had initially been led to believe. What they really are like is something I will attempt to put across here. First, however, I will offer some definitions, though the reader may rest assured that no detailed knowledge of esotericsm is required to understand the conclusion of this chapter. Esotericism is a term that can be used in different senses but here it denotes a complex of religious (many prefer the less regimented-sounding spiritual) ideas and practices that have existed in Western Europe at least since the Renaissance. Originally inseparable from Christianity, these ideas underwent marginalisation but within the last hundred and fifty years, there came something of a revival or series of revivals. Esotericism is often referred to by the rather problematic term ‘New Age.’3 It is generally agreed that it is now eminently visible, though exact numbers of those involved are notoriously difficult to gather. What exists today is a looselylinked network of people with an eclectic patchwork of practices subject to permanent reinvention and much individual interpretation, but it can be summed up (for the purposes of this chapter) as a quest for knowledge (‘gnosis’) and transmutation of the self through ritual and other techniques. Things that are conventionally regarded as separate are interconnected. The distinction between the esotericist’s self and the world around it is a much more permeable one than would conventionally be found in western culture; ‘as within, so without,’ they say. Esotericists do believe in magic in the sense of making changes to the empirical world around them in accordance with their will, but it is not about lightning bolts from the fingertips; the importance of so-called ‘results magic’ is much less pronounced than might be imagined. Esotericists are not naïve, and they do not all expect to win the lottery every week.

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__________________________________________________________________ Like many social anthropologists, I used the qualitative research method termed participant observation. Aside from the jargon and debate, this entails living with the people you are studying in order to get the feel of what they do and how they think. It means that I was able to gain a good degree of trust and swerve the defences that esotericists often erect in the face of outsiders. I can therefore counter certain common misconceptions about the ‘dark arts.’ I never encountered any ritual killing of animals during my research. Nor were any humans harmed during the making of my PhD, lest I should need to specify that. Murder or homicide is not common amongst black magicians, despite what the sensationalist media may lead us to believe about ‘satanic slayings.’ That is not to say that no one involved in black magic has ever killed anyone; one of my predecessors assisted the police in investigating an ‘occult murder,’ though they make it clear that the root cause was an ‘unstable psyche’ and not magical ideas.4 However, the homicide rate is not apparently any higher amongst black magicians than it is amongst the population at large. Indeed, it might be lower, given that putting curses on people may act as an outlet for hostility that would otherwise be expressed physically. The folk of the Left Hand Path do not believe in turning the other cheek, it must be acknowledged, and it would seem logical to assume that they are more likely to attack magically than physically. However, this is an hypothesis which would be difficult to investigate, so I speculate beyond the data currently or ever likely to be available. Harm specifically to children is not something that has never been found to exist within esoteric magic. The misconception that children are molested or murdered as part of some vast ‘Satanic conspiracy,’ while too complex to analyse here, is not currently accepted within social science or mainstream psychology but rather viewed as a modern folk panic.5 Organised child-abuse, when it actually does exist, is nearly always found to be tragically prosaic. Finally, there is a common misconception that black magic and extreme politics go together. Contrary perhaps to expectation, the people I studied were all self-professed anti-racists. Though a vivacious ‘Hitler was a Black Magician’ school of modern history exists, as Lachman summarizes, ‘the literature on Nazi occultism constitutes a huge subgenre, populated mostly by works of dubious scholarship or esoteric fantasy.’6 While it is entirely possible that racism of some kind could be found amongst dark magicians – it is unlikely that it is not there somewhere – there appears to be no essential connection between xenophobia and Left Hand Path magic. Indeed, we will see that a fear of racist ideologies is an often-observed part of the dark esoteric worldview, and that sometimes Left Hand Path magicians are attacked by other esotericists for drawing on sources that are ‘too foreign.’ While they are not Nazis, it is fair to point out that dark esotericists tend not to be socialists, with eco-magic being the most egalitarian kind and the matter of the entanglement of dark esotericism with neo-liberal economics will be further discussed below.

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__________________________________________________________________ 2. Why Walk the Left Hand Path? If all the above then is what black magic does not involve, what does it entail and why would anyone find it alluring? The reasons are many and various and the following is not supposed to be comprehensive or definitive; here I must run through the more obvious ones and do so succinctly. Any one or any combination of these explanations may go some way to explaining why someone could get involved with the Left Hand Path of esoteric thought. There is a darkly enchanting worldview within ‘black’ magic. Esotericism in general posits a world full of forces, spirits and creatures from other dimensions, and the darker side of esotericism stresses the importance of the nefarious ones. It recognises their place within the human inner self as well as the outer world and unlike many religions, it accepts and even to an extent valorises them. This may not seem ‘nice,’ but it can at least claim to be more realistic than a naïve, ‘New Age’ worldview painted in pastel colours. Phil Hine scathingly sums that up as: Love yourself, be yourself. We are all immortal and we can all be healed by using the power of the New Age clichés – rays, charkas, auras, colours and pseudo-scientific jargon. A welter of impressive terms and meaningless catchphrases. Platitudinous pap fed to an uncritical audience eager to believe in a cartoon universe where no one really dies, no one really gets hurt, no one really thinks for themselves and, I suppose, napalm doesn’t really stick to kids.7 As well as being authentic, there is something potentially therapeutic in darkness; as one Left Hand Path artist puts it: “automatic” drawing gives your inner self a chance to get rid of repressed materials… some of your drawings will seem terrible, sick, evil or disgusting […]. Art gives you the chance to come to terms with […] the demons you’ve raised. Can you learn to look at them without fear or loathing? People who seek only beauty and harmony restrict themselves more than they can know. If you give body to your horrors you may heal yourself.8 Next, ‘black’ magic brings with it a freedom to transgress tradition. All esotericism claims to cater for the spiritual iconoclast, but Left Hand Path magicians say that their spiritual road is the most individualistic. It allows for the promise of a life without restrictions in general, and it allows for some specific freedoms that might not be found elsewhere. It can be stated with certainty that black magic allows more space for non-traditional sexualities than others. Whether these observations can be seen as determinants of an individual’s magical path in

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__________________________________________________________________ all cases is debateable; it is possible for gay, queer or genderqueer people to find a niche in white or green magic but equally they might encounter much homophobia. Certainly some black magicians report finding a stress on heteronormativity in other schools of esotericism, which caused them to feel unwelcome. Eventually, for anyone involved with the Left Hand Path, freedom (sexual or otherwise) becomes an end in itself and we find strategic transgression of the sort that is thought out and sought out. The concept or at least rhetoric of freedom is important within the wider culture and this is reflected subculturally, both in esotericism generally and in dark esotericism especially. Freedom equates to what sociologist Pierre Bourdieu termed ‘symbolic capital’9 or in simpler terms, more ‘coolness.’ This means that transgressions can become repetitive or even competitive (as individuals bid to out-transgress one another) but still, these ‘transgressions’ are often more symbolic than real. Becoming trapped in a cycle of transgression is of course something of an irony when freedom is one’s ultimate aim. Evans includes an insight courtesy of Jaq Hawkins to the effect that constant rebellion against something is not necessarily liberation from that something: ‘[T]hose who try to impress with blacker-than-black versions of the Left Hand Path are just as enslaved by their self-made prisons as the extreme Right Hand Path.’10 However, by no means everyone I encountered seemed to be totally aware of that wry wisdom. A further point is connected to the above yet deserves to be treated separately. Related to the extreme elevation of freedom as an ideal is a strong belief (at least amongst dark esotericists themselves) that the Left Hand Path is anti-authoritarian while the Right Hand Path is hierarchical in terms of its social structure.11 While this is not something anyone has yet attempted to measure in empirical terms, the important thing for us is that the walkers of the Left Hand Path firmly believe that they have created an island of anarchy within a sea of socio-spiritual servility. Another point deserving of separate treatment is that it is often claimed that the Right Hand Path and Left Hand Path draw magicians from different social backgrounds. Luhrmann writes of how the latter ‘appealed to “heavy metal” motorcyclists without means.’12 Pike mentions that a controversy surrounding some ‘biker-looking’ men under the influence of alcohol came up in the context of her studies of magical festivals in the USA.13 Woodman observes that Left Hand Path ‘magicians are [represented] as scruffy, working-class layabouts – thus are not ‘proper’, ‘authentic’ or ‘serious’ […].’14 There is certainly some truth in all this. A female esotericist of my acquaintance who was interested in the ideas and work of Aleister Crowley (the English occultist who sometimes referred to himself as Mega Therion or Great Beast and had a fittingly monstrous reputation) once found herself caught up in a nasty trans-Atlantic internet argument when her website came to the attention of a group of people whom she termed ‘white lighters.’ On their website’s message board she was described as a ‘shit,’ her ideas were described as ‘crap,’ and even a humorous section of her website was met with marked hostility. In response, she wrote as follows:

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__________________________________________________________________ Dear Group Owner, I am very disappointed in the way that your group has treated me. First I learn that people are posting nasty comments about me on your forum, and that you all consider me to be evil just because I study Crowley’s philosophies, and then when I try to join the group to defend myself, I am rejected before I have even filled in the application form that was sent to me. You are of course entitled to your opinions, however, when your opinions are based on ignorance, and this ignorance leads to you treat people badly, others have the right to criticise those opinions. […] I’m sorry if my website offended you, it is only humour, though it has it’s [sic.] serious side with regards to educating people. Too many people are going round saying that many occult things are ‘evil’ when they know nothing about them. An even more stupid belief is that which says that if you start to read about certain things they’ll make you become evil. What actually happens, is that when people stop being afraid to challenge their pre-conceived ideas, they start learning. One thing you learn when you actually understand what Crowley was saying, is that he is not evil, and that he has a great deal to offer humanity. Deciding that someone is evil on the basis of their beliefs when you know nothing about them is prejudice. That is exactly what you are doing to me. I’ve experienced as much religious prejudice from [people such as yourselves] as I have from Christians, because of these stupid beliefs [....] I really hope that you take this email in the way that it is intended - i.e. to make you see how you are behaving. It is not an attack, and if you perceive it as such, then you need to think very hard about why that is. Yours sincerely, Lucifera15

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__________________________________________________________________ The owner of the group, one Light Guide, replied: Lucifera Your supplications have been received, and they really are unwanted. We have no desire for anyone with [such] beliefs [as yours] in our group. That is our choice. We wish the group to be for like-minded people. That means that anyone who is a part of something that the rest of us find to be vile and without positive value, will not be welcome. That is the purpose of the group, for like-minded people, and if you are not like-minded, why join? By the way, your e-mail address [i.e. [email protected]…] was more than enough for us to smell your ilk. I would think you people would be a bit brighter by this point, though it does make my job so much easier in dealing with you. The whole point of our group is for like-minded people to discuss and share. Not for people with opposing points to come in and argue, and spread chaos. I am sure if that is what you seek, there are groups that would be more willing to endure you. The obsessive compulsion so many of you […] have to be here to argue your beliefs only tells me you are in dire need of some form of redemption and acknowledgement, and apparently that is something you have not yet found in your own faith structure, for which I do pity all of you who are thusly compelled to flock to our group, like moths to a flame, to feed on the light. […] There is no need to reply to this, because upon hitting send, I am blocking your email address. No matter our difference in opinions, I wish you the best in life, and that you find whatever it is that you are missing, and searching for. I can only imagine that it is a terrible thing to find one’s faith so empty. Light Guide16 Later, Light Guide addressed his whole community with the following, which is based on the assumption that someone in the group had been in touch with Lucifera

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__________________________________________________________________ and possibly supporting her to some extent. (In the following datum, the words ‘Golden Dawn’ have nothing to do with Greek politics but refer to a magical group with which Aleister Crowley, amongst many others, was involved.) I just wanted to drop a bug in the ear of you few who are leading a ‘double life’ here, and feeding what is said and done here to those who are unwelcome.... It is incredibly lame, childish, and goes against the very nature of this [group’s motto] “In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust”. If you truly are friends with these “other” people, then why would you give them information […] for them to get in touch with me? If you think I am mean to troublemakers on here, you should see how brutal I am when I don’t have to worry about offending people. Be kind to these poor simpletons, and simply don’t give them the information they want so badly, that will only subject them to my wrath when they send e-mail to the moderators. They never make a point, I mock them ruthlessly, and then we block their address. The next time some little trailer park whore Golden Dawner, (always makes me think of the term ‘Golden Shower’), from Alabama e-mails me under yet another new email address on how ignorant I am, I think I am going to actually do something about it. My time is far too precious to waste on such drivel from the cesspool of modern society. Anyone’s time is too precious for such so-called people. […] I apologise to the rest of you, but it needed saying, and I also think you have the right to know that there are people here ‘spying’ for a few other groups that we have made known are not welcome here. It is truly pathetic. I would get mad, but it is so damned juvenile, it makes me think of thirteen year-olds with no friends, trying desperately to fit in anywhere. There will be no, pardon the pun, “witch hunt” on the list, nothing more than an assurance I am watching, and at the first sign, I am ejecting the trash. The rest of you deserve the list to be clean of those who make designs and calculations on you and what you are sharing/learning. Light Guide17

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__________________________________________________________________ The interesting thing for us is not so much how harsh those who walk the Right Hand Path can be when confronted with what they see as evil. It is the fact that as well as reference to what is seen as perverse sexual activity, the invective included the term ‘trailer park whore […] from Alabama,’ a clearly class-based insult even though Lucifera was actually from Birmingham, England. These sorts of perceptions raise the issue of whether this kind of invective is only representation or whether there is any demographic truth in it. Do magicians distance themselves from the Left Hand Path by merely claiming that its practitioners are less ‘posh’ than they are? Or is the discourse and practice of dark esotericism genuinely more appealing to some because it is devoid of a veneer of gentility? Unfortunately, things remain unclear in strictly empirical terms: we simply do not have the data on people’s assets and incomes which would be required to lay the question to rest definitively. It remains entirely moot as to whether middle-class magicians are unconsciously othering the Left Hand Path by labelling it ‘blue-collar’ or whether the Left Hand Path genuinely appeals more to individuals of a less monetarily privileged demographic. What is clear is that such a conceptualisation of magic does appear in the wider culture. While it is not pervasive, it can be powerful. One might recall from The Stand Stephen King’s antichrist figure, Randall Flagg: [T]he worn heels of his sharp-toed cowboy boots clocking on the pavement; a tall man of no age in faded, pegged jeans and a denim jacket.18 Flagg, in double-denim ‘Texas tuxedo,’ is literally blue-collared. Susanna Clarke mentions class and magic in a more recent and very English novel: “Can a magician kill a man by magic?” Lord Wellington asked Strange. Strange frowned. He seemed to dislike the question. “I suppose a magician might,” he admitted, “but a gentleman never would.”19 Finally, the example of the initially English (then later American) character John Constantine comes to mind. A chancer and trickster from a gritty background, he was initially developed within the magical subculture by graphic novelist and esotericist Alan Moore, and he has since become perhaps one of esotericism’s most successful exports, played by Keanu Reeves in a movie and Matt Ryan in an NBC series. This section has to end with the necessary acknowledgement that not everyone who is associated with the occult is genuinely interested therein. The music industry provides plenty of examples. Gary Lachman quoted above, one-time guitarist with the punk band Blondie, is always ambivalent about how seriously it

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__________________________________________________________________ was treated by members of that band (and various others, including the Ramones). According to a biographer, the ‘satanic’ rocker Ozzy Ozbourne never had any serious involvement with the occult, a fact clear from the unschooled lyrics of "Mr Crowley".20 Failing to live up to their name, some of his band Black Sabbath developed an aversion to it all with Ozzy himself resenting the attention of ‘all these fucking witches and freaks phoning us, wanting us to play at black masses and all this crap.’21 Another musician however, Louise Wener who fronted the ‘Britpop’ band Sleeper, while not involved in anything esoteric, offers a useful analysis of the social capital that being ‘a bit dark’ conveyed when she was a teenager: They think I’m weird […] but I’ve recently discovered weirdness confers its own status; that bit of difference gives you an edge. The trick is not to push it too far. You don’t want to end up completely ostracised like Samantha Benson who likes Siouxsie Sioux and paints her lips black […].22 Those examples show that ‘black’ magic overlaps with certain subcultures such as goth, punk and metal to name but three, and all those share a wish or need to shock outsiders. This is not as new as one might imagine. An 1880’s Italian violin virtuoso Niccolò Paganini was supposedly so good he was accused of being in league with Satan: he played up to the allegation, wearing a long black cloak and arriving at concerts in a black carriage drawn by four black horses.23 As Evans notes, as well as publicity, such notoriety can bring with it serious financial advantage if it is ‘worked’ properly.24 3. Criticising Chaos Lest the above sound as though I am defending dark esotericism, there is some important criticism to be made. All esotericism can be accused of moral subjectivism: there is no specific set of rules to live by and this means that individuals make moral decisions ‘in the moment’ and ‘from the gut.’ The deontological ethics of traditional religions may not be entirely unproblematic, but at least everyone knows where they stand. Of all esotericisms, the Left Hand Path can be said to be the most morally ambiguous. The followers of the light have various sets of rules, some of which can be reminiscent of commandments. The nature magicians use the principle of witchcraft: ‘If it harm none, do as ye will’25 combined with a warning that any negative magic will rebound threefold on its originator. For the Left Hand Path, there was Aleister Crowley’s axiom ‘Do What Thou Wilt Shall be the Whole of the Law’26 but this has since been succeeded by a nihilistic line of Hassan I-Sabbah’s popularised by William Burroughs which runs, ‘Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted.’27 As Luhrmann notes:

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__________________________________________________________________ [t]his can be a noble, romantic vision, an aesthetic vision of romantic decadence. But the fantasy often has a bizarre, bleak form. […] It is a difficult, sophisticated philosophy […] and in the literally minded or unstable it can yield unhappy results.28 Another problem with all esotericism is that it can be accused of cultural appropriation of traditional people’s ideas and artefacts: it is an awful irony that after western civilisation exploited and in some cases nearly destroyed non-modern people and their ways of life, it then made them desirable, even chic (that is of course why one of the rock musicians mentioned in passing above spelled Susie as ‘Siouxsie’.) Some amongst both esotericists and the wider public claim that dark magic is somehow more ‘foreign’ than the other kinds; in such cases, two separate meanings of the words ‘black magic’ seamlessly converge. In fact, all esotericism, while European in origin, now draws on non-occidental ideas and practices. We could perhaps say that some others are more other than others, and that, racist as this may be, it could be seen by some as acceptable to draw on Asia but not on Africa for esoteric inspiration, or even that only the ‘original’ European esotericism is safe and sound. This certainly was the case in the past, and Evans has examined in some detail dire warnings against the magic of India that Helena Blavatsky and later Dion Fortune issued in the first half of the Twentieth Century.29 I do not wish to deny totally the possibility that positives can come from the engagement of esotericism with non-western cultures, but often people and ideas are approached in heavily essentialised terms (and as such, we have an almost opposite situation to that observed by Kuzmanovic in this volume30). Turning to economics, while all modern magic can be said to be entangled with contemporary capitalism to a degree, some claim that dark esotericism especially can be politically problematic. This is mainly due to its particular stress on the individual will and its emphasis on personal power. Can we call this resistance through ‘achieved abnormality’ or might it be more a celebration of a particular worldview that is as much engendered by the contemporary as resisting it? If it is the latter, it leaves one with the striking conclusion that any of the traditional religions may be both more anti-consumerist and anti-capitalist than magic, despite the claims of both the enemies and friends of magic to see it as something bizarre and eccentric. A further criticism of dark esotericism centres on gender. Luhrmann consistently implies that only a man would walk the Left Hand Path, and a questionable sort of man at that.31 Greenwood has taken a more focussed look at the issue of magic and gender, and in the version of events she presents, there is something fundamentally male about the worldview of dark esotericism.32 The theory on which Greenwood draws is psychoanalytic: Gilligan (herself basing ideas on Chodorow) arguing that the male psyche differs from that of the female due to the child-rearing practices common in the western world.33 Males become

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__________________________________________________________________ highly individualistic whereas females are ‘made’ more matrixial, it is claimed, and this is reflected in different schools of magic. Even without extensive demographic data on practitioners’ genders, this sort of a claim is a plausible one. It is not to say that no females are involved with the Left Hand Path (because they are, as we saw above), nor that we can assume that those involved with it conceive of gender as a simple binary (because as we also saw above, they do not). What it does mean is that here we have a nexus between the ‘monstrous’ and the ‘masculine.’ So long as we do not mind a semi-essentialised definition of ‘masculinity,’ we can safely say that the Left Hand Path is more ‘masculine’ than, say, eco-witchcraft, which is more ‘feminine,’ in an equally essentialised sense of that term. 4. Absolute Beasts? One of the points which quickly emerges when communicating with dark esotericists is that they do not see themselves as evil. They may thoroughly enjoy being seen as a little bit ‘edgy’ and ‘out there’ but when it comes down to it, they do not want to be regarded as psycho- or sociopathic. There may be rhetoric of personal freedom and liberation from convention, there may be rejection of conventional norms, but dark esotericists have a firm idea of right and wrong and the subculture does a reasonable job of self-policing. Genuinely unacceptable or unstable individuals do not tend to be accepted and are certainly never popular. As Luhrmann found: [M]agicians seem very concerned about morality. They talk about black magic; they usually tell you there are black magicians elsewhere and stress that they, by contrast, are very white. Inevitably, there are unstable individuals who lay claim to evil powers, but in my fieldwork I met none of that ilk who was not personally isolated […]. Throughout my work I met no group and no stable individual who actually seemed to engage in practices which other magicians – or indeed the wider public – would call black. Black magic seemed to be a myth, and the talk about it seemed to be part of a general determination to be as morally virtuous as possible.34 A fundamentally important point in dark magical discourse and practice is the importance of balance between extremes. One should not identify only as Left Hand Path or Right Hand Path but rather as a perfectly unified mixture of both as the following quotation from an experienced esotericist illustrates: I believe ultimately there is no right or left path! In our world everything is broken down from that ultimate purity. I have a left

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__________________________________________________________________ hand and a right one, a left brain and a right one, I am good and I am bad, I am negative and positive, I am female in some ways... male in others... and so on. […] I love both Christ and Lucifer equally but for different reasons. I cannot deem one path better than another. My heart says to embrace all of it.35 A related recurring theme is the claim that the binary between black and white magic has not only been transcended by an individual practitioner but culturally too it is said to be outmoded on an historico-philosophical level. (It is not just academics who have been going ‘beyond binaries’ in recent years.) Another magician commenting on balance takes a rather more pragmatic approach: Path, schmath. I don’t consider myself right-hand, left-hand, or any other damn path. Yeah, I can, have and probably will continue to lay ‘curses’ if somebody hurts me and I have no other recourse. It’s my nature. Yeah, I can, have and probably will continue to help people out whenever they ask for it, even if it’s the same person I cursed yesterday. That’s my nature as well. Humans are funny bastards. We contain all these different impulses, all these layers and layers of desire and intent. Nothing we do is ever simple. Was that an act of pure altruism or an attempt to salve your conscience? Was that a real curse or a misdirected attack on some aspect of yourself? How the hell do you know? And this is magic kiddies; you’re working at a level of awareness beyond the everyday. You can’t ever be ‘good’ or ‘evil.’ Most people think they’re good - how many are right? All you can ever be is yourself; all you can ever do is what feels right at the time. I’d like to believe that taken overall my actions harm less than they heal, in my temporal as well as my magical life. Wholeness pleases me. Harm doesn’t. That’s my nature. That’s all I've got.36 While one’s own magic, whatever it might involve, is unifying the extremities of light and dark, for magicians there is always somebody else who is up to something genuinely nefarious and nasty. (Talking with black magicians is exactly reminiscent of one anthropologist’s wry observation that although in all his travels he had never encountered any cannibals, he had never encountered any group of people not convinced that there are cannibals in other parts of the world.) The referents of these claims of evil magical practise vary: it can be another school of magic, or it can be certain individuals whom one dislikes, for whatever reason. It

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__________________________________________________________________ becomes rather complex, so to avoid bombarding readers with subcultural slang terms, I will use the simple analogy that the magical community sometimes seems as fragmented as a meeting of left-wingers wherein the Revolutionary Workers refuse to speak to the Communist Workers (but they might temporarily unite in mutual disdain of the Communist Revolutionary Workers.) To pursue this political analogy further, the complexity intensifies due to the fact that because all esotericism is highly individualised, people’s identification of black magic is very much relative to what they themselves are doing. One magician’s identification of another as a ‘black magician’ depends on where s/he stands on the spectrum just as anyone’s identification of ‘left-wing’ or ‘right-wing’ depends on where exactly they stand on the right-left continuum (for example, the ‘lefts’ of Australia or the USA are quite ‘right’ by the standards of many Western European countries). I once heard an esotericist say that their previous partner freaked out because their magic was too dark, but their penultimate partner had laughed at it for being too light, and while (I think) they were being flippant, there is many a true word said in jest. There is a distinction between location that is relative to one’s own (for example, ‘the coffee shop is to my left’) and one that is more objective (such as stating the coffee shop’s street address or even its latitude and longitude.) In a useful article on maps, Gell used the terms ‘indexical’ and ‘non-indexical’ for this kind of distinction between a location which is relative to one’s own and a more objective or absolute location.37 In addition to all this, even the darkest magician has their other. In fact, they may have more than one. There is the Right Hand Path magician, of whom one of my acquaintances wrote: It is often the case that the most twisted, vindictive, backstabbing occultists are the ones who profess to be on the side of “Light” and “Good” […]. In order to be seen as “good” they must by definition have an opponent who they demonise as “bad.” The intelligent magician would do well to steer clear of such nonsense.38 We saw some evidence of this above, of course, when Lucifera fell out with Light Guide. Moreover, the flip-side of the rhetoric of freedom and amorality is that all black magicians fear the forces of conformity and the individuals behind it who are usually said to be fascists or even outright Nazis. For example, though he does not comment on it specifically, Evans’ research includes the opinions of three magicians as follow: Left Hand Path is […] a useful term for non-religious, chthonic and egoistic […] magic (as opposed to Right Hand Path which is basically religious, “heaven” and “light” orientated […]

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__________________________________________________________________ generally moralistic and socially collectivist in the most obnoxious ways) [… The Left Hand Path] is not sinister or scary […] just […] about working with the deeper levels of the unconscious, primal instincts and sometimes repressed material, and so is basically orientated towards the self rather than any worthy causes […] of course the true Right Hand Path, with its social and ethical elements is very important too, but rarely exists outside of the sanctimonious, self-righteous, fascists that make up Right Hand Path traditions these days.39 Evans also records: Accentuating the positive and eliminating the negative so all is discussed in terms of “light” with little reference to the role of darkness except as an error waiting for the light […] such religious devotion to the Good, or Light, or Purity […] without some balancing attention to the negative could lead us down the path to perfection beaten by the Nazis if we are not careful […].40 Finally, Evans quotes: [Y]ou may have met one, you may even have been one. The Spiritual People. The “I-have-conquered-my-ego” people. Who don’t drink, smoke, fight, fuck or talk dirty. Psychic fascism is on the move within this not-so green and pleasant land of Albion.41 ‘Fascist’ and/or ‘Nazi’: it is one or both of these terms then which even the darkest of magicians resorts to throwing around when defending themselves. This may perhaps seem to be a strange mixture of melodrama and British nationalism, but George Orwell lamented the broad deployment of the term ‘fascist,’ so this is actually nothing new in itself.42 On the other hand, there have been misunderstandings of all magical practices (not even just the dark variety), which have resulted in the intervention of the state, so this should not be entirely dismissed as paranoia. It may seem strange or surprising, but walkers of the Left Hand Path worry, and who do they worry about most? Susan Greenwood quotes a Left Hand Path magician wondering if his power will be sufficient to repel the forces of conformity from ‘breaking down our doors and stealing our children.’43 Ultimately and ironically then, it seems that fears of something terrible happening to their precious little ones exist amongst those very ‘black’ magicians whom

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__________________________________________________________________ ordinary people and followers of other religions sometimes accuse of wanting to do terrible things to their children. 5. The Alchemy of Authenticity From all my fieldwork amongst modern esotericists, three incidents stand out which are all examples of ambiguity and its importance. One Left Hand Path magician of my acquaintance worked in one of London’s esoteric bookstores. Like many employees, he did not get on with his boss. Unlike many employees, he believed he had the ability to direct a curse at that boss and this is what he did. A short time later his boss was hospitalised with suspected cancer. As I was told this tale, my first response was that of the rationalist: he cannot possibly have caused a disease that has a long incubation period. I said as much, and I was surprised at the response: magic is not a matter of cause and effect, I was told, but a matter of meaningful coincidence. My acquaintance did not want to even consider the possibility that he had caused the illness, and even if the hated boss had met with an accident, I think he would have presented the same narrative which was not causal but correlational. What we can take away from this is that ‘black’ magicians do not necessarily gleefully claim responsibility for the misfortunes of others, even when they have admitted to thoroughly disliking them. A second claim relevant to this chapter actually comes from a magician whose identity lies somewhere between the dark and the green. An eco-activist, he was part of a long and arduous protest against the construction of a road during which he and his fellows met with violence at the hands of private security guards and also the police. The individual was a pacifist dedicated to non-violent direct action, but during one such incident he became so angry that his rage threatened to overwhelm him. He moved away from the situation and sat quietly, seething, until he had calmed down. When he returned to the camp, he learned that one of the construction workers had met with an accident. He immediately linked his anger to this mishap; his almost-out-of-control energy, he felt, had caused it to happen. He did not, we may note, claim to have deliberately caused the injury. Finally, a priest and priestess involved in the Egyptian Mysteries were returning home from a ritual to the goddess Bast when they ran over and killed a cat. They were both shocked and upset by this. After the event however, the priest explained to me that in Ancient Egypt, cats were sacrificed to the goddess Bast; the accident on the road had actually been just that, a sacrifice to the Cat Goddess herself. What is invariant in these three narratives is that something unpleasant happened which the magician refuses to take responsibility for and yet equally refuses to deny connection with when they quite easily could. Instead, all claim that they are somehow linked with what took place. Luhrmann wryly observed some years ago that:

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__________________________________________________________________ [M]agic is often perceived as weird and dangerous by the general public, and one cannot understand the magician’s practice without paying attention to the curious cultural associations it evokes. My sense is that magicians are slightly horrified by others’ perceptions, but also secretly pleased.44 Luhrmann’s major concern is understanding how magicians can believe in magic and for her, their fear of dark magic is part of how they make magic in general seem more convincing to themselves. In this chapter, my concern is more how magic can be seen as respectable rather than credible. Magic, to put it mildly, is often not taken very seriously (it lies ‘between demonization and trivialization’ in Pike’s apt words45). No human being wants to be seen as a fool or a fraud and magicians are no exception. In their case, it may be especially tricky to achieve authenticity because there is no overarching governing body that issues certificates to attest to it. Perhaps a certain monstrousness goes some way to achieving authenticity? The dilemma is perhaps not so bizarre or rare as one might think: traditional religions too have in recent years seen an efflorescing of oppositional imagery and ideas (key contributors to so-called fundamentalisms.) Likewise, sexual politics have seen a tension between the gay and the queer (a tension which is inherent in the very title of Kuzmanovic’s piece in this volume) because a contestatory stance has, at least by some, been deemed necessarily disruptive. Yet, the vast majority who walk the Left Hand Path are quite ordinary people living ordinary lives. Their lives are indeed so extremely ordinary that, in the eyes of many of their critics, they need to be brightened up through ‘make-believe’ (through possibly ‘darkened down’ would be a better wording). How exactly then does one make people believe that one is not merely a make-believe monster? Preferably without getting oneself arrested or ostracised? This is not a simple question to answer and will depend on personality, social strategy and other variables. For the moment, a simple analogy presents itself in the form of coolness. We know that young people want to be cool, but how does one go about becoming cool? Not by trying to be cool, because to try to be cool is surely to miss the point of true coolness? Instead, within magic, someone is usually seen as ‘authentic’ when they have genuinely racked up a series of appropriately transgressive subcultural achievements without ‘trying too hard,’ without being ‘big-headed’ about the aforementioned achievements and without going ‘over the top.’ Surprisingly perhaps, things seem just the same here as they are anywhere else, at least as far as the underlying workings of social capital are concerned. Being monstrous means, in our context, maintaining difference: nothing is transgressive when everyone is doing it. I have had discussions with black magicians distraught by the fact that hairstyles, tattoos, piercings and even scarifications have become too popular, necessitating a swift change of image. One actually encounters a

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__________________________________________________________________ hipster’s disdain amongst a certain type of esotericist who was, they say, doing whatever magic everyone else is into now way before it ever became cool. To sum up, it is often claimed that dark esotericism is masculine, lower-class, somewhat queer and of a ‘dubious foreign origin.’ Of all of these, it can be said with certainty that only the former (dark esotericism is linked with masculinity) has any basis to it, and this is the case in a qualitative sense because we cannot be sure of the numerical breakdown of magicians by gender. In other words, the Left Hand Path seems to be ‘male’ in its thinking and it would seem likely (though here we cannot be certain) that there are more men than women involved with it. As for the latter three claims (that dark esotericism is lower-class, queer and foreign), all are currently moot and further research is going to be necessary to change that. All we can say is that while they may or may not be accurate, they are all representations of dark magic that we sometimes see in the imaginings produced by wider western culture. None of that is very new or, I hope, controversial. What I have been at pains to add to the study of darker esotericism – and more broadly, the monstrous – is the observation of the sheer glamour of darkness, the irresistible ‘lure of the sinister’ to borrow a phrase used by Medway in a slightly different context.46 What follows on from that is a consequent instability of the identity that goes with it. This instability is deliberate and self-conscious: it is not simply a question of saying that the identity of the dark esotericist is ‘fluid’ or that such an identity is ‘multifaceted’; these are observations which have been made over the last few years in relation to all kinds of identities. Nor am I arguing that, in this case, ambiguity is productive of monstrousness. What is unique about the monstrousness of the Left Hand Path, rather, is how its narrative of identity must never be totalised but has to remain ever-open-ended. ‘Other people may be white or black magicians, but I myself am beyond such simple dichotomies,’ seems to be the refrain of those dark esotericists who ‘get it.’ Those who fail to ‘get it’ and throw themselves into a fixed identity based in pure darkness are never taken seriously. Indeed, they are often criticised for bringing magic into disrepute, literally demonising the legitimate demonology of others. The identity of the dark esotericist then is an interstitial identity. It is an interstitiality that is manufactured and carefully-maintained. To put the point as simply as possible: esotericists who are aligned with Light and those esotericists who are aligned with Nature do not seek to avoid an essentialisation of their identities; the dark esotericist, however, cannot allow such narrative closure. A teen attempting to be cool must not try to be cool, or announce themself as cool, because to do these things is simply not cool; it is not so very different with dark magic. It may seem something of a surprise to end an essay on a phenomenon as supposedly shocking as black magic on such a normal note, with comparisons to teens’ ideas of coolness. Yet, on the level of the self-management of personal identity at least, this is precisely where we find ourselves with contemporary dark esotericism. I only hope I can use such an analogy without belittling dark esotericism (or teenagers, for that matter). In the

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__________________________________________________________________ contemporary world, magic relates to style, to subcultural chic, with transgression as its subcultural currency. It seethes with inner debates about authenticity and coolness. If we are to take anything from an examination of these ‘real’ monsters, it is this: monstrousness, in a late modern setting, carries significant symbolic capital when it is ‘done’ properly.

Notes 1

Peter Carroll, Liber Null and Psychonaut (York Beach, Maine: Weiser, 1987), 66. Antoine Faivre, Access to Western Esotericism (Albany: SUNY Press, 1994). 3 Wouter Hanegraaff, New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought (Albany: SUNY Press, 1998). 4 Tanya Luhrmann, Persuasions of the Witch’s Craft: Ritual Magic in Contemporary England (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989), 97n.25. 5 Jean La Fontaine, The Extent and Nature of Organised and Ritual Abuse (London: HMSO, 1994); Jeffrey Victor, Satanic Panic: The Creation of a Contemporary Legend (Chicago: Open Court, 1993). 6 Gary Lachman, Politics and the Occult; the Left, the Right and the Radically Unseen (Wheaton, IL: Quest Books, 2008), 195. 7 Phil Hine, Condensed Chaos: An introduction to Chaos Magic (Las Vegas: New Falcon Publications, 1995), 171. 8 Jan Fries, Visual Magick (Oxford: Mandrake, 1992), 40, cited in Dave Evans, The History of British Magic After Crowley: Kenneth Grant, Amado Crowley, Chaos Magic, Satanism, Lovecraft, the Left Hand Path, Blasphemy and Magical Morality (Harpenden, UK: Hidden Publishing, 2007), 203. 9 Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1984). 10 Evans, History of British Magick, 215. 11 Ibid., 224. 12 Luhrmann, Persuasions of the Witch’s Craft, 29. 13 Sarah Pike, Earthly Bodies, Magical Selves: Contemporary Pagans and the Search for Community (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011), 211. 14 Evans, History of British Magick, 196. 15 Communication within private internet space supplied to the author by ‘Lucifera.’ 16 Ibid. 17 Ibid. 18 Stephen King, The Stand, (London: New English Library/Hodder and Stoughton, 1990), 226. 19 Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (London: Bloomsbury, 2005/2004), 389. 2

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Sue Crawford, Ozzy: Unauthorised (London: Michael O’Mara Books Ltd., 2003), 45. 21 Ibid., 46. 22 Louise Wener, Different for Girls: My True Life Adventures in Pop (London: Ebury Press, 2010), 88. 23 Myron Schoenfeld, ‘Nicolo Paganini Musical Magician and Marfan Mutant?’, Journal of the American Medical Association 239.1 (1978): 40-42. 24 Evans, History of British Magick, 202. 25 Janet Farrar and Stewart Farrar, The Witches’ Bible: A Complete Witches’ Handbook (London: Robert Hale Ltd., 2002), 135. 26 Crowley, Aleister, The Book of the Law (Maine: Samuel Weiser, 1976), 23. 27 William Burroughs, Cities of the Red Night (London: Picador, 1981), 145. 28 Luhrmann, Persuasions of the Witch’s Craft, 96-7. 29 Evans, History of British Magick, 181-183. 30 Dejan Kuzmanovic, ‘Queer Race Play: Kinky Sex and the Trauma of Racism,’ in this volume. 31 Luhrmann, Persuasions of the Witch’s Craft. 32 Susan Greenwood, Magic, Witchcraft and the Otherworld: An Anthropology (Oxford: Berg, 2000), Ch. 6. 33 Carol Gilligan, In a Different Voice (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press 1993), basing ideas on Nancy Chodorow, The Reproduction of Mothering (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978.) 34 Luhrmann, Persuasions of the Witch’s Craft, 81. 35 Communication within private internet space supplied to the author. 36 Ibid. 37 Alfred Gell, ‘How to Read a Map: Remarks on the Practical Logic of Navigation,’ Man n.s. 20 (1985): 271-86. 38 Communication within private internet space supplied to the author in 2001. 39 Evans, History of British Magick, 217, citing comment made to him on a semiprivate e-list. 40 Ibid., 158, citing Lemuel Johnstone, An Essay on Magic (Oxford, UK: The Mouse that Spins/Mandrake, 1974), 147. 41 Ibid., 204-5, citing Phil Hine, Touched by Fire, 41 (e-text available at http://www.philhine.org.uk/writings/index_e-books.html. 42 George Orwell, ‘Politics and the English Language’ in George Orwell: Essays (London: Penguin Books in association with Martin Secker and Warburg, 2000), 353. 43 Susan Greenwood, ‘The British Occult Subculture: Beyond Good and Evil?’, Magical Religion and Modern Witchcraft, ed. James R. Lewis (Albany: SUNY, 1996), 293. 44 Luhrmann, Persuasions of the Witch’s Craft, 82.

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Pike, Earthly Bodies, xii. Gareth Medway, The Lure of the Sinister (New York: New York University Press 2001.)

46

Bibliography Bourdieu, Pierre. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1984. Carol, Peter. Liber Null and Psychonaut. York Beach, Maine: Weiser, 1987. Chodorow, Nancy. The Reproduction of Mothering. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978. Clarke, Susanna. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. London: Bloomsbury, 2005/2004. Crawford, Sue. Ozzy: Unauthorised. London: Michael O’Mara Books Ltd, 2003/2002. Faivre, Antoine. Access to Western Esotericism. Albany: SUNY Press, 1994. Farrar, Janet and Farrar, Stewart, The Witches’ Bible: A Complete Witches’ Handbook. London: Robert Hale Ltd., 2002. Fries, Jan. Visual Magick. Oxford: Mandrake, 1992. Gell, Alfred. ‘How To Read a Map: Remarks on the Practical Logic of Navigation,’ Man 20 (1985): 271-86. Gilligan, Carol. In a Different Voice. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1993. Greenwood, Susan. ‘The British Occult Subculture: Beyond Good and Evil?’ Magical Religion and Modern Witchcraft, edited by James R. Lewis, 277-296. Albany: SUNY Press, 1996. ———. Magic, Witchcraft and the Otherworld: An Anthropology. Oxford: Berg, 2000.

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__________________________________________________________________ Hanegraaff, Wouter. New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought. Albany: SUNY Press, 1998. King, Stephen. The Stand. London/Los Angeles: Hodder and Stoughton/New English Library, 1990. La Fontaine, Jean. The Extent and Nature of Organised and Ritual Abuse. London: HMSO, 1994. Lachman, Gary. Politics and the Occult; the Left, the Right and the Radically Unseen. Wheaton, Ilinois: Quest Books, 2008. Luhrmann, Tanya. Persuasions of the Witch’s Craft: Ritual Magic in Contemporary England. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989. Medway, Gareth. The Lure of the Sinister. New York: New York University Press, 2001. Orwell, George. ‘Politics and the English Language’. George Orwell: Essays. London: Penguin Books in association with Martin Secker and Warburg, 2000/1984/1946. Pike, Sarah. Earthly Bodies, Magical Selves: Contemporary Pagans and the Search for Community. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001. Johnstone, Lemuel. SSOTBME – An Essay on Magic. Oxford, UK: The Mouse that Spins/Mandrake, 1974. Schoenfeld, Myron. ‘Nicolo Paganini Musical Magician and Marfan Mutant.’ Journal of the American Medical Association 239.1 (1978): 40-42. Victor, Jeffrey. Satanic Panic: The Creation of a Contemporary Legend. Chicago: Open Court, 1993. Wener, Louise. Different for Girls: My True Life Adventures in Pop. London, Ebury Press, 2010. William Redwood completed his PhD and still writes and teaches in London.

Part III Writing Monsters



Utopian Leprosy: Transforming Gender in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and History in the Strugatsky Brothers’ The Ugly Swans Elsa Bouet Abstract In ‘Monster Culture (Seven Theses),’ Cohen argues that the monster prevents intellectual, geographic, or sexual mobility. He contends that the monster patrols the border of the possible, ready to destroy those who step outside of the categories of the official order. This chapter will engage with this claim by showing how the monster is not the one patrolling the borders outside the categories of normality, but is instead the one creating these categories of exclusion. These cultural, ideological boundaries emanate from power structures which create monsters to deter its subject from deviating from the norm. This chapter will support this claim by looking at Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Arkady and Boris Strugatsky’s The Ugly Swans. Both novels use the disease of leprosy as a metaphor. The leprous characters expose the constrictions placed upon them: Mina Harker is undermined because of her gender and the lepers of The Ugly Swans because of their strong intellectual bond with the children of the novel. However, they all serve to mirror the monstrosity of the other characters who are trying to oppress them. Their leprosy is intrinsically linked to transformation, offering a glimpse of utopian possibilities. In both novels, the lepers are cured or fade, foreclosing any utopian hope. In that, the novels suggest the impossibility of utopia. Both novels expose the multiplicity of monstrosity: the lepers, deemed monstrous, reveal the path to a more inclusive community but also act as a mirror, revealing humanity’s monstrosity in that it is unable to shake off its categories of exclusion and to realise utopian possibilities. Key Words: Leprosy, monstrosity, utopia, Strugatsky, Stoker, gender, history, novum, ideology, categorisation. ***** Monsters often elicit horror and disgust, create fear and reflect cultural anxieties.1 They can be conceived in terms of their deformed, ugly or even abnormal, threatening physical forms. However, the monster can also be beautiful: for example Dorian Gray’s beauty, which does not fade, hides his murderous and vicious personality, reflected in his painting which shows a horrible face, marked by sin and evil. Monstrosity is not only physical, it is also moral and psychological and even, as this chapter will show, ideological and discursive. In ‘Monster Culture (Seven Theses),’ Jerome Cohen argues that the monster eludes ‘categorization’ in that it defies and brings about category crisis, whether physical or cultural.2 The monster refuses to comply with the classificatory ‘order of things.’3 Consequently,

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__________________________________________________________________ the monster reifies categories and their structures; therefore, the monster is the other, a mirror reflecting these categories. As Cohen argues, this process of mirroring is at the very core of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, in which the creature serves to reflect Victor’s actions.4 The creature desires to be included in a community. However, Victor disowns the creature, who embodies his own sin against nature. The creature is similarly rejected by the De Laceys, a family living in a cottage in the woods, on grounds of his monstrous appearance. The creature, dejected, becomes violent. In the novel, the interaction between the creature and humanity creates an interspace for the reader to explore monstrosity, which questions the means by which we categorise and create otherness. For Cohen, this interspace between the creature and Victor represents the space in which ‘transformation, becoming, passion, alterity, the uncanny, the utopian’ can be read.5 Therefore, the creature’s exclusion from the rest of the human community highlights the shallow grounds on which he is excluded from society, and allows the reader to infer his own utopian means to transform society, his own ways to accept alterity and to abolish the categories that exclude the creature from human society. Cohen argues that the monster is an agent who ‘prevents mobility (intellectual, geographic, or sexual)’ in that those who overstep prescribed boundaries face encountering a monster which will destroy them; the monster thus becomes an enforcer of official ideologies.6 However, this ‘monstrous border patrol’7 preventing mobility suggests that the categories are viewed as immutable and righteous. These cultural – and even ideological – boundaries emanate from power structures which create monsters to deter their subject from deviating from the norm. However, the monster is not the one that lies outside these normative borders, but the one within, that is, the monster is the creator of these categories of exclusion, constructing and upholding the ‘order of things,’ preventing mobility and the acceptance of otherness. In turn, those labelled monstrous because of their non-normativity and their ability to create category crises also become freeing agents from these over-constrictive ideological categories. This applies to Frankenstein: the creature’s shunning from humanity reflects humanity’s intolerance and inhumanity. I want to further explore this dichotomy of the monstrous as a freeing agent foregrounding utopian possibilities by looking at Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Arkady and Boris Strugatsky’s The Ugly Swans. In both these novels, some characters are deemed monstrous by others. In Dracula, Mina displays characteristics that can traditionally be deemed monstrous: she is associated with leprosy, as she herself states she is ‘unclean,’8 a word connected with leprosy in Leviticus 13. Mina is liminally becoming undead and she poses a threat as she slowly changes. She highlights the monstrosity of the men who all undermine her because of her gender. In The Ugly Swans, lepers are seen as contaminating the human population and more particularly the children with whom they are spending

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__________________________________________________________________ time. However, they want to rescue the children from humanity’s depravity and warmongering, and plan to usher in a new world. Echoing Susan Sontag’s ideas presented in AIDS and its Metaphors and Illness as Metaphor, these novels represent disease as metaphors of exclusion used to political ends. They make use of the biblical disease to create monsters who highlight the unchanging and inescapable nature of categorisations and the human propensity to oppress otherness, thus also suggesting that change and utopia – built upon the ability to accept difference and for a society to remain open to change – are unachievable.9 The impossibility of achieving utopia is further suggested by the supernatural nature of leprosy, a mark of divine punishment. Looking into the fantastic and the supernatural allows us to further understand the tensions between utopian aspirations and closure in these two novels. Irene Bulla’s chapter argues that the fantastic finds its energy in the tensions between the laws of nature, rationality and logical thought, and the irrationality and impossibility of the supernatural.10 Bulla argues that the monster is culturally created on this duality between the real and the supernatural, the result of an experiment on the limits between the plausible and the impossible.11 Construed as supernatural, the monster originates from real – yet repressed – anxieties, fears and desires, and challenges the limits of the possible.12 Bulla explores how the fantastic operates within the narratives of Tommaso Landolfi. Landolfi creates monsters which, never encountered and eluding total description, Bulla characterises as ‘impossible creatures’ which allow for the breaking of categories and boundaries of realities.13 Landolfi’s intersecting of monstrosity and language suggests that the monster resides within ourselves and that studying our monsters may allow us to understand ourselves, and the boundaries and realities we create.14 Dracula and The Ugly Swans also suggest that the monster dwells within and allow us to reflect on ourselves. These narratives use the image of lepers who are deemed to be monstrous. However, these monsters suggest the impossibility of transcending ideological categories because man is truly monstrous, thus foreclosing any hope for change. Utopia is rendered impossible, almost supernatural, by the monster within, who upholds the real, cultural boundaries. However, the narratives also offer a glimpse of utopian possibilities brought about by the leprous monster. They explore avenues of change: just as the monsters in Landolfi’s fiction highlight structures, categories, and offer an ‘alternative to the world of “trite, tentative meaning” in which man is confined by language,’15 but also other cultural categories, the lepers reveal mankind’s monstrosity. The lepers, while showing the ways in which categories of exclusion can be overcome, expose the immutability of the categories presented in these novels because of the inhumane and overbearing forms of power in place.

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__________________________________________________________________ 1. Leprosy: Between Monstrosity and Divine Omen Susan Sontag’s work on representations of illness as a metaphor unravels the political, punitive implications of leprosy: Disease occurs in the Illiad and the Odyssey as supernatural punishment, as demonic possession, and as the result of natural causes. For the Greeks, disease could be gratuitous or it could be deserved (for a personal fault, a collective transgression, a crime of one’s ancestors). With the advent of Christianity, which imposed more moralized notions of disease, as of everything else, a closer fit between disease and “victim” gradually evolved. The idea of disease as punishment yielded the idea that a disease could be particularly appropriate and just punishment.16 Sontag argues that diseases were thought to be the result of a demonic or supernatural action, but became increasingly associated with divine punishment for overstepping the boundaries set by the order of things. Sontag illustrates this by quoting Henryson’s The Testament of Cresseid. Cresseid finds herself punished by Saturn for ‘the dispyte to Cupid scho had done / And to Venus, oppin and manifest’: blaming the two gods for her infidelity to Troilus as she elopes with Diomeid, Cresseid is punished for her lustful behaviour.17 Saturn inflicts leprosy on Cresseid, leaving her disfigured. She is made hideous, as he ‘change[s] in filth all her feminitie’18 so that ‘ilk man sall fle the place.’19 Her leprosy is defiling and reveals her impurity, her monstrosity. The poem is cautionary, instructing women to ‘Ming not ȝHer lufe with fals deceptioun’; women should not stray but should remain faithful.20 Sontag explains that leprosy ‘in its heyday aroused a similarly disproportionate sense of horror’ to that of cancer today, in which the disease is a killer to be fought, and the diseased is seen as a culprit for falling ill and not getting well.21 She argues that in the Middle Ages, the leper was a ‘social text in which corruption was made visible (…) an emblem of decay.’22 Cresseid, whose conduct is not to be followed, has brought the punishment upon herself because of her lust.23 Her disease, her fading beauty and her decaying body – ultimately her death – are a metaphor for her transgression; she is both a victim and the cause of her disease. In Madness and Civilization, Michel Foucault explores the perceptions of leprosy as monstrous. Foucault exposes how lepers were segregated to avoid contamination. In the margins of society, wastelands outside cities would belong to the diseased: ‘these reaches would belong to the non-human.’24 For Foucault, the space of exclusion of the leper is not simply just a medical quarantine, but, just as Sontag expresses, the leper becomes a metaphor, a dehumanised object of horror and disgust to be shunned. Peter Lewis Allen also explains that the leper remained a ‘symbol of the worst that God could visit on humanity’ also suggesting a divine

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__________________________________________________________________ warning.25 Foucault argues that the leper has a dual status, that of an excluded, diseased monster, who is also dispensed with divine grace: If the leper was removed from the world, and from the community of the Church visible, his existence was yet a constant manifestation of God, since it was a sign both of His anger and of His grace.26 While leprosy is seen as a punishment for sinning, the leper receives mercy as a sign from God asking for change. Leprosy becomes a dual symbol, a punishment, and an omen, relating the leper to Cohen’s definition of the monster, etymologically derived from monstrum, ‘that which reveals,’ ‘that which warns,’27 or even ‘divine messenger.’28 Thus both the monstrous and the leper are harbingers, omens of category change. However, the lack of grounded classification of the leper does not only consist in his receiving punishment and clemency from God. Allen argues that ‘Morally, socially, legally, and religiously, lepers were the living dead,’29 a hybrid status which means that they defy classification. The leper signifies oncoming category crisis as he is the agent offering a warning that change is required. Sontag and Foucault both suggest that illness and leprosy are politically charged, in that they serve to segregate otherness through the creation of ideological categories. Foucault argues that leprosarium were at the origin of ‘the technique of power proper to disciplinary partitioning’ creating the division between ‘mad/sane; dangerous/harmless; normal/abnormal,’ inspiring the punitive apparatus of exclusion of the criminals and political dissidents.30 Similarly, Sontag demonstrates that the language associated with diseases such as cancer and AIDS can be read in political terms: AIDS is a disease with an enemy, an infectious agent, invading the body from the outside,31 reflecting a ‘language of political paranoia, with its characteristic distrust of a pluralistic world’ in which the invader is ready to transform and destroy the body.32 Invading diseases are described using a discourse of warfare which contributes to the stigmatising of the diseased33 and associating a disease – and consequently the diseased – with evil, again attaching blame to the victim.34 Consequently, the victim of disease is described as succumbing to evil and as being punished for it.35 For Foucault and Sontag, leprosy provides the grounds for a normalising discourse which highlights what is abnormal and transgressive. In Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the Strugatsky brothers’ The Ugly Swans, leprous characters are condemned because of their disease and because they are deemed to transgress. However, they also offer the potential to change the strict categories which constrain them; they are thus divine messengers forewarning mankind of the need to change. Mina Harker after being visited by Count Dracula, becomes ‘unclean’ a word she repeats to those who surround her as a caution to

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__________________________________________________________________ them, very much as lepers were advised to do in Leviticus.36 Her male entourage see her leprosy and gender as inept in the quest to defeat Dracula. In The Ugly Swans, lepers arrive in a small town and are segregated into a leprosarium. They connect with the children of the town, despite the adults’ fears over their interaction. They are shunned for their disease, however, they are divine envoys ushering in a new world, excluding the adults from it. Both novels use the image of leprosy, a transformative disease, which changes the body, to suggest the need to alter existing social conditions. 2. Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the New Woman In Stoker’s Dracula, Johnathan Harker is sent to Transylvania to sell a house in London to Count Dracula. Dracula longs to be in the ‘rush of its humanity, to share its life, its change, its death,’ an explicit statement of his desire to have a larger pool of victims.37 After he arrives in London, Mina Harker, Johnathan’s wife, and Lucy, Mina’s friend, become Dracula’s victims. In London, Mina and Lucy are bitten by Dracula and change: as noted above their disease is linked to leprosy, most notably since Mina repeatedly decries that she is ‘unclean.’38 She states that she no longer wants to touch Johnathan, for fear of what she could do to him: her bleeding open wounds on her neck have touched him and could contaminate him. This fear of contamination recalls the duties of and the fear ascribed to lepers in Leviticus: lepers are to cover their skin, to warn others of their disease by crying out ‘unclean’ as they approach people39 and to avoid touching anyone.40 Mina is associated with other traditional images of leprosy: she feels that God has shunned her ‘polluted flesh’ and that she must bear the ‘mark of shame until the Judgement Day.’41 She bears a mark on her forehead, caused by Van Helsing, well read in vampire lore, who wanted to know if Dracula contaminated her. Foucault’s exposition of leprosy as being both a curse and a mark of God’s mercy allows us to understand the duality of Mina’s physicality. While a mark on the forehead is reminiscent of the mark of the beast in Revelation 13,42 it is also that of the seal of God placed on the forehead of those who are to be saved during the Last Judgement.43 Mina’s mark signifies and foreshadows that she is to be spared – as she is ultimately saved – and functions as a divine envoy enabling Dracula’s destruction. Contaminated, she is liminal as she is no longer human, yet not ‘un-dead,’ reminiscent of the lepers’ liminal status as living dead. Defying classification, she becomes a monstrous divine messenger defying the order of things, an agent who can bring change for women. In Modernist Goods: Primitivism, the Market and the Gift, Glenn Willmott argues that Mina transcends geographical boundaries: she links England and Transylvania through her visions connecting her to Dracula. 44 Willmott argues that Mina’s hybrid nature presents a ‘new kind of symbol.’45 An ‘improved vampire,’46 she offers the potential for transformation which can effect ‘Utopian possibilities.’47 For Valente, Mina thus represents the ‘ethics of alterity – an

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__________________________________________________________________ openness toward, responsiveness to, solicitude for, and self-sacrificing identification with others,’ a utopian form of tolerance and altruism, which defies the gender power struggle in the novel. 48 This ethics of alterity and a new kind of symbol is embodied in Mina’s engaging with the New Woman, who wanted more agency, more freedom – including sexual – more opportunities for education, artistic and work fulfilment, and the right to vote and to make their own decisions, rebelling against the patriarchal order.49 Both Mina and Lucy long for more freedom from their constricting societies and from the domestic sphere. Relating the capitalist economic structure to imperialism, Willmott explores the dynamic between gift, goods, and commodities whose roles differ as they play in the institutions of the House, the Market, and the State respectively. Willmott argues that the modern House in Victorian society reproduces wider social relations within the family and is fetishized because of the ideology of domesticity.50 Nancy Armstrong similarly argues that in Dracula, the household displaces ‘the ideal of civil society as the collective body on which one depended for care and protection,’ an ideal model for ‘imagining social relation.’51 Both critics argue that the house becomes a gendered model. Women are producers of specific gendered goods and roles ‘as sisters and mothers rather than wives’: the house is more a place in which the woman serves as domestic support and in her reproductive capacity than a space where love and equality are fostered.52 Marriage plays a central part of the dialectic of power in Dracula asserting the boundaries of the woman’s sphere of action that they are not allowed to transcend. The narrative opens with Johnathan noting details of his journey to Transylvania. He mentions on two instances that he has to obtain local recipes for Mina, emphasising that he sees her within the house as opposed to in her schoolmistress position.53 Even Mina has internalised these ideas, as she tells Lucy of her future prospects after she marries Johnathan: When we are married I shall be able to be useful to Jonathan, and if I can stenograph well enough I can take down what he wants to say in this way and write it out for him on the typewriter.54 She will have to abandon her career as a schoolmistress and prepares herself to serve her husband by keeping up with ‘Johnathan’s studies,’ thus following his instructions on what to learn.55 After her wedding, she writes to Lucy: I want you to see now, and with the eyes of a very happy wife, whither duty has led me; so that in your own married life you too may be all happy as I am.56

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__________________________________________________________________ Her pledge to her husband during the ceremony was that she had nothing to give him except ‘[herself], [her] life, and [her] trust, and that with these went [her] love and duty for all the days of [her] life.’57 While these words might express the extent of her love for Johnathan, the repetitions of the word ‘duty’ in these two quotations and her giving herself entirely to her husband are anchored in the Victorian’s ideology of the woman relinquishing her rights and agency to her husband and to the house.58 While Mina adopts the Victorian ideal that a woman should be useful and agreeable to her husband over focusing on a career, other elements in the text suggests that Mina is subversive to female submission to the ideology of domesticity. She is aware of the New Woman discourse: after having tea with Lucy, she remarks in her diary that they ‘should have shocked the “New Woman” with [their] appetites,’ suggesting that they transgress the limits of what even women demanding equality can achieve.59 While innocuously talking about food, this suggests the two women’s insatiable desire for more power over making their own decisions. Mina continues to engage with the limitations imposed on women in her diary: Some of the “New Women” writers will some day start an idea that men and women should be allowed to see each other asleep before proposing or accepting. But I suppose the New Woman won’t condescend in future to accept; she will do the proposing herself. And a nice job she will make of it, too! There’s some consolation in that.60 Mina feels uncomfortable with the idea that men and women will be intimate before marriage. She sees the prospect of proposing, making the choice of a husband more appealing; Mina seems to desire agency more than sexual freedom. However, while Mina supports the discourse of the inappropriateness of intimacy before marriage, she transgresses the rule to a lesser extent by publicly demonstrating her affection for Jonathan. She is, if not sexually, emotionally unrestrained. She is aware that she breaks the rules of etiquette that she herself teaches and helps to perpetuate: Jonathan was holding me by the arm, the way he used to in old days before I went to school. I felt it very improper, for you can’t go on for some years teaching etiquette and decorum to other girls without the pedantry of it biting into yourself a bit.61 Even before getting married, Mina was breaking Victorian decorum. Lucy also expresses her longing for more freedom, as she ponders ‘Why can’t they let a girl marry three men, or as many as want her.’62 As Carol Senf argues, this desire to

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__________________________________________________________________ marry three men ‘suggests a degree of latent sensuality which connects her to the New Woman of the period.’63 Senf further posits that it is after she is bitten by Dracula that she becomes active at night, a sign of her desire for ‘emancipation from her society’s restraints.’64 As she succumbs to Dracula’s curse, she increasingly displays her sexuality, wanting to kiss and consume her fiancé, Arthur, by sucking his blood. As Senf explains, the men who take care of Lucy dismiss her change in appearance and behaviour to her being the victim of the monstrous Dracula: Believing that the true Lucy is characterized by her soft eyes, docile nature, and tenderness, [Dr Stewart] cannot recognize the increased strength or the sharp white teeth and the potential for pain, aggression, and violence.65 They dismiss her monstrous behaviour as her being cursed, instead of realising that Lucy’s desires for more agency surface because of her illness. Dr Stewart here imposes his moral code onto Lucy’s body when he reduces her to a meek, docile and objectified beauty. Lucy’s body becomes the locus of enforcement of ideological categories. Senf argues that Van Helsing is more aware of the sexual predatory nature of Lucy, as, before and after her passing, he ‘turns her body into a moral battlefield.’66 Lucy’s ‘illness’ embodies her transgression, her desire for freedom and independence.67 Van Helsing is aware of the monstrosity of Lucy after she passes and becomes ‘Un-Dead.’ He tells Arthur that he is glad he prevented Lucy from kissing him, as she could have bitten him. Contaminated, after dying Arthur would ‘have become nosferatu (…) and would all time make more of those Un-Deads.’68 In the word ‘nosferatu,’ Van Helsing expresses the potential for Lucy to contaminate others with her leprosy; Manuella Dunn-Mascetti explains the Romanian origin of the word: ‘Popular belief in “nosferatu”, or “necuratul”, […] literally means the unclean one.’69 The undead is the nosferatu, the ‘unclean’ leper: for Van Helsing, Lucy is a threat to be destroyed at all costs, a leprous vampire bringing category crisis, offering women more freedom. Van Helsing wants to prevent Lucy from threatening the patriarchal order. To tame Lucy’s desires for freedom and sexual liberation, he wants ‘to cut off her head and take out her heart.’70 Talking to Dr Stewart, who is reluctant to mutilate and desecrate the body of the dead woman, Van Helsing argues in favour of this drastic option stating that there are biological reasons for removing two of the most essential organs to human life. This can also be read symbolically: the seat of reason and of political power, the head, and emotions and the inner world, the heart, have to be silenced. In this respect, Van Helsing wants to subdue Lucy’s desires and to sever her ability to think independently and to promote change. Dr Stewart is reluctant to let Van Helsing perform such an action, questioning the

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__________________________________________________________________ need to ‘mutilate her poor body without need,’ deeming it ‘monstrous.’71 Van Helsing, speaking on behalf of Lucy and silencing her, justifies himself stating that Lucy was thankful that he prevented her from kissing and contaminating her fiancé. Van Helsing is thus a knight protecting Arthur from harm and violently defending society’s moral values by forbidding Lucy to embrace her fiancé. Van Helsing is the preserver of the ideological ideal who views the New Woman as ‘monstrous’ and who wants to perpetuate social inequality by destroying those who challenge traditional moral codes. However, even Dr Stewart realises that Lucy is not the monster, but that Van Helsing is. Van Helsing’s wanting to preserve the order of society also transpires in his restrictive and undermining treatment of Mina, as he expresses his views on the unsuitability of women to enter a man’s sphere. Van Helsing condescendingly refers to Mina as ‘my poor Madam Mina’ taking authority over her, just as he does with Lucy.72 Van Helsing also emulates Johnathan’s hold on his wife: they both are monsters preventing women’s mobility as they attempt to dominate and oppress their female possessions. Van Helsing further undermines Lucy’s and Mina’s potential for agency and self-determination in an attempt to assert male superiority. As Lucy is sick, he tells Dr Stewart: A brave man’s blood is the best thing on this earth when a woman is in trouble. (…) Well, the devil may work against us for all he’s worth, but God sends us men when we want them.73 Van Hesling strongly implies that women are inadequate and powerless compared with the men he sees as godsent – God fulfilling men’s wishes – recalling the literary images of knights rescuing damsels in distress. Therefore, only male blood can help them. However, Van Helsing occasionally praises Mina: he admires her precision in compiling the characters’ diaries and various records. He tells Johnathan that she has ‘a man’s brain—a brain that a man should have were he much gifted—and a woman’s heart.’74 Van Helsing’ s description of Mina may appear progressive, as she blurs gender roles, having the intelligence that he associates with men and the feminine emotional capacity for feeling. However, Van Helsing’s depiction of Mina equates her to an androgynous, monstrous hybrid who threatens to disrupt male hegemony and who, to Van Helsing, needs to be contained: The good God fashioned her for a purpose, believe me, when He made that so good combination. Friend John, up to now fortune has made that woman of help to us; after to-night she must not have to do with this so terrible affair. It is not good that she run a risk so great. We men are determined—nay, are we not pledged?—to destroy this monster; but it is no part for a woman.

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__________________________________________________________________ Even if she be not harmed, her heart may fail her in so much and so many horrors; and hereafter she may suffer—both in waking, from her nerves, and in sleep, from her dreams. And, besides, she is young woman and not so long married; there may be other things to think of some time, if not now.75 Van Helsing initially states that Mina’s combined, hybrid, unclassifiable male and female nature is godsent. However, that is only the case as long as she stays indoors to compile everyone’s notes. Van Helsing wants to implement his control over Mina and halt the divine fortune which has made of Mina a powerful envoy. He chooses not to embrace Mina’s hybridity, her erasing differences, and instead protects his own ideology by wanting to restrain her to the domestic sphere. He does not see Mina’s gender fitting the battle against Dracula, in comparison to the male godsends who are ‘determined’ and who have the strength of spirit and character to face evil. He sees her as weak and frail, an unsuitable companion in the quest to destroy Dracula. As a newly-wed, Mina needs to think about ‘other things,’ including having children; thus Van Helsing reinstates gender barriers which close opportunities for women and reinforce male domination. Mina’s agency is further weakened at the end of the novel when she becomes the mother to a son. As Armstrong indicates, ‘the family still shapes the community,’ a positive success as the social order was not destroyed by Dracula.76 However, this also suggests the maintaining of the social order in that Mina remains in her domestic prison, and the novel ends with the voices of patriarchy. While Mina gives her account of the final events, seemingly closing the novel, it actually ends on Johnathan’s note in which he speaks for Mina, expressing their joy over their son. This process silences Mina, who presumably abandons her career as a schoolmistress, and places her firmly within the boundaries of the house, making her comply with the dominant Victorian ideology. Furthermore, Johnathan quotes a note from Van Helsing: This boy will one day know what a brave and gallant woman his mother is. Already he knows her sweetness and loving care; later on he will understand how some men so loved her.77 Van Helsing is glad to see Mina fulfilling her role of mother, which he earlier said should be her preoccupation, and Van Helsing having the final words suggests that the patriarchal order he strived so hard to preserve has been saved. He will continue to pass down this order onto Mina’s child – tellingly a boy – by telling him what happened to her in the past and how she was cured of her subversive ailment. Van Helsing, during the final confrontation with Dracula, has drawn a blessed circle to imprison Mina whose vampirism was becoming more manifest. She was unable to leave the circle, just as she is unable to escape the prescribed

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__________________________________________________________________ role that is ascribed to her. The restraining circle and Van Helsing’s words indicate that, although Mina had the potential to overcome gender boundaries, she is made to retain her traditional role as a woman. Despite Van Helsing’s attempts to restrain Mina, her disease allows her to transform herself, to find the strength to assert her self-determination, her right to make decisions and to act. During her ‘trance,’ she is able to connect with Dracula; sharing each other’s blood links them so that Mina can see what Dracula sees. Mina is able to guide the men to Transylvania and to inform them of his movements, which will lead to his being killed. Her leprosy, which indicates her transgression in asserting herself, is in fact a transformation that allows her to dissolve the gender boundaries placed upon her and upheld by Van Helsing. This also transpires when she shows compassion for Dracula. After Dracula is defeated and dies, she writes that I shall be glad as long as I live that even in that moment of final dissolution there was in the face [of Dracula] a look of peace such as I never imagined might have rested there.78 Mina finds solace in her enemy finding peace in death. She does not let her hatred consume her, indicating the nobility of her character and capacity for empathy and acceptance of otherness. Her leprosy allows her to ignore and blur categories of difference, breaking gender boundaries, being a man and a woman, a divine agent and a knight capable of compassion as her foe is defeated. This process enables her to reveal the true monsters of the novel, the men who appropriate her and want to maintain the strict gender binaries and roles. She is a benevolent monster, revealing utopian possibilities for women. However, this utopian transformation is not to last: she is cured of her disease, of her subversive political pestilence and is cast into a traditional domestic role. Dracula therefore hints at the fragility of utopia and its impossibility as the gender binaries manifest themselves as unshakeable. In turn the monster, Mina, shows how difficult – yet necessary – it is to change ‘the order of things.’ Suffocating and overbearing, these boundaries cannot be questioned, so much so that they become monstrous. Mina’s temporary transformation reveals how monstrous the ideology that she was confronted with really is and reveals the fleeting nature of the possibility of change, thus rendering utopia impossible. 3. The Strugatsky Brothers’ The Ugly Swans In Arkady and Boris Strugatsky’s The Ugly Swans, lepers are also used to symbolise the potential for social and political transformation. The story takes place in an unnamed town in an unnamed country. Victor Banev, a writer originally from the town, comes back from a larger city to meet his estranged wife and his daughter for the first time. Returning after his long absence, Victor notices

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__________________________________________________________________ how much this former sunny resort has changed. He learns from other inhabitants that the city has been overrun by lepers and that no one knows where they are from. The lepers are blamed for the heavy rainfall which started after their arrival and which has turned the tourist resort into a damp, deserted town. The lepers are feared because of their potential for contamination and their strange interaction with the children of the town, including Irma, Victor’s daughter. The children spend more time with the lepers than the adults, who do not understand the reasons the children may have for wanting to do so. Victor unravels the reasons behind the lepers wanting to spend time with the children and discovers how much the town inhabitants fear and hate the lepers. While the lepers want to enlighten the children, they are completely indifferent to the adults. However, Victor slowly discovers that the lepers are not the monsters they are made out to be, instead, they are agents who save the children from mankind’s monstrosity. By using the biblical imagery of leprosy, the novel suggests that Victor’s contemporary society has not changed, and it still excludes those it deems monstrous, thus showing mankind’s inability to move from the historical, ideological need to create categories, instead of aiming to be more inclusive of otherness. The title of the novel refers to the fairy tale ‘The Ugly Duckling,’ by Hans Christian Andersen, in which a duck, who will turn out to be a swan, is rejected by his duck mother for being different from his duck siblings.79 Shunned by his family, he roams the wilderness alone in winter. He is aware of his physical difference and feels that there is no hope for him but to die of starvation. On the pond, he meets with other birds: he is in awe of their beauty and their beautiful wings. As he bows before them, the swans do the same. The ugly duckling sees his reflection in the pond and discovers he is a swan: his humility – which contrasts with the haughtiness of the ducks – is reflected in his beauty and enables him to be accepted by his peers. This fairy tale explores the ostracising of those who are different, suggesting the need to be more accepting of otherness. It also creates a differentiation between physical beauty and spiritual, ethical beauty, ideas which are in play in the Strugatskys’ the Ugly Swans, also revealing the discursive and ideological nature of monstrosity.80 The novel opens with Victor talking to his former wife, Lola, about his daughter Irma, who seems to be under the lepers’ nefarious influence. Irma seems to have behavioural issues; although gifted and intelligent, she does not respect her mother.81 Lola attributes Irma’s attitude to her spending time with lepers and tells Victor to take care of her. She tells him, ‘If you don’t teach her, [the lepers] will.’82 If Victor does not take charge of his daughter’s education, Lola fears that the lepers will continue to contaminate Irma’s thoughts. This anxiety of contamination is not just educational; it is also physical as the lepers’ bodies are full of ‘blisters and eruptions […] sometimes festering ulcers.’83 People believe that the lepers give ‘warts, like toads’ and are reluctant to touch them,84 and the lepers are made to wear black bandages, covering the bottom half of their faces to prevent

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__________________________________________________________________ contamination,85 recalling the depiction of lepers in Leviticus, who are told to cover their mouths.86 They are nicknamed ‘slimies,’ as they are thought to be ‘mouldy from all the rain’ as they stay outdoors.87 These characteristics mark the lepers as impure, unclean and contaminating agents. As such, they are kept apart from the rest of the population, having to reside in a leprosarium on the outskirts of the town, just as the biblical lepers were shunned from the rest of the population.88 The leprosarium is a potent symbol of exclusion. As Foucault argues in Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, the exclusion of lepers is at the origin of disciplinary – and ideological – partitioning.89 This discourse makes of the leper an anomaly, an enemy. Foucault explains the mechanisms of exclusion: the leper is ‘caught up in a practice of rejection, of exile-enclosure; he was left to his doom in a mass among which it was useless to differentiate.’90 The exclusion of the leper allows differentiation in society, which, by contrast, serves to rally and create cohesion in those deemed normal. Foucault further explores these mechanisms of exclusion: The exile of the leper and the arrest of the plague do not bring with them the same political dream. The first is that of a pure community, the second that of a disciplined society.91 Partitioning is also an essential element of enforcing categorisation: the leper or the plague-stricken are to be separated, divided and controlled to avoid contaminating the population, but also to enforce control and deter political subversion. The ‘nonhuman’ leper becomes a dangerous monster, a common target for hatred, embodying what is abnormal and impure, struck by divine punishment. In The Ugly Swans, the lepers are kept in the leprosarium as they are seen as impure, both physically and politically. They are seen as bad influences on the children, who are slowly becoming estranged from their parents and spend all their time within the leprosarium. Pavor, a governmental agent, talks to Golem, the leprosarium physician about getting access to the leprosarium, which he has been denied. Pavor then threatens to write an exposé revealing ‘why the slimies are luring in the children’ as they ‘suck their blood, and second of all, defile them.’92 Although saying this sarcastically to threaten Golem, this evokes images of the lepers in medieval romances, in which the blood of the innocent – children or maiden – is used to cure leprosy.93 They also recall images of the vampire, such as Dracula’s sucking of Mina’s blood and defiling her with his teeth. Pavor’s use of these images signifies that he too views the lepers as monstrous, contagious agents whom he would like to displace by closing down the leprosarium. Pavor expresses the popular fears concerning the lepers’ interaction with the children and the adults’ frustration at not being allowed to enter the facility. He explains the leprosarium is protected by barbed wire, closed off to all but the children. Pavor tells Victor: ‘nothing stops the kids from entering, nothing stops

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__________________________________________________________________ the slimies from leaving the place and you and I can’t get near the place.’94 The leprosarium, which is meant to contain the lepers, becomes a restricted area. The adults complain about the barbed wire and even suspect that the government, under the authoritarian orders of Mr President, conduct military and industrial experiments on the lepers, which can be dismissed as conspiracy theories.95 Pavor reflects that the ‘world is full of barbed wire,’ articulating that many physical and ideological barriers and categories are put in place by humankind.96 But Golem tells Victor that that the adults have misconceptions about who is imprisoned: ‘Maybe [the lepers] are not behind the barbed wire, maybe you are.’97 While the lepers are thought to be detained because of their illness and their monstrosity, it is in fact the adults who are caged by their immutable ideological categories; the lepers’ ability to move in and out of the leprosarium makes them free in comparison to the adult’s imprisonment within their ideologies. While the leprosarium initially indicates the need to contain and shun the lepers, it serves to protect them from the adults’ brutality. In town, they are physically assaulted and caught in bear traps laid in front of residences to impair their movements, although this is illegal. Despite all this they do not want to retaliate against the adults. After Victor rescues one of the lepers from the traps, he advises him to go to the police to report the incident. However, the leper clearly states his indifference, saying that he has no ‘interest’ in doing so as to him it ‘doesn’t make any sense.’98 Instead, the lepers seem much more interested in the children, whom they educate and care for, fostering their intellectual potential. The lepers are also indifferent to their illness. Victor believes that the leprosarium serves as a treatment facility to help cure the lepers. However, Golem, the physician in charge, explains that curing them is an impossible task as the lepers of the novel are suffering from a genetic disease. Golem explains that his ‘patients never recover’99 as he ‘cannot cure genetic diseases.’100 He also defends the lepers stating that they are ‘seriously and hopelessly ill. […] But despite it they retain their kindness and intelligence, so there’s no need to cast aspersions on them.’101 Golem defends the lepers as being more humane than the humans who pretend to be, and he even states that the lepers ‘don’t want to be cured.’102 They see the illness as their valuable distinguishing feature from mankind’s inhumanity allowing them to operate outside their paradigms of categorisation. However, the leprosarium performs a function other than protecting and healing the lepers. As Csicsery-Ronay argues ‘The zone of the novum is the leprosarium, where the “slimies,” evolutionary prodigies […] are collected.’103 For CsicseryRonay, the novum – the Latin word for the new – suggests a ‘“hole,” or a fringe, of the real world,’ a zone where the normal rules of reality can be changed.104 This echoes Tom Moylan’s account of the novum as: the unexpectedly new, which pushes humanity out of its present towards the not yet realized. For humanity to develop, we must

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__________________________________________________________________ keep an open faith with the future and guard against the memory which draws us back into the past and the anxiety which consumes us in the present.105 The novum – the leprosarium – constitutes a stark break from history and offers utopian avenues. It disconnects humanity from a past made up of differentiation and the fear of otherness, from war and conflict, hatred of the other. As Csicsery-Ronay argues, the novum is a ‘rationalized version of the fairy tale’s magical realm.’106 In the Strugatskys’ The Ugly Swans, the novum is directly connected to fairy tales as it refers to ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin’ – as well as to ‘The Ugly Duckling.’ Golem mocks Victor, who fears the lepers will act like the pied Piper, as do many of the parents.107 Victor replies that he would not be surprised to see the lepers take the children to ‘kingdom come’ as in the fairy tale.108 In Robert Browning’s ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin,’ a piper, who has been refused payment for having led the rats of Hamelin away, entices children with his pipe and takes them to a mountain where ‘A wondrous portal opened wide.’109 This gate can be read as the kingdom of heaven as well as an idealised world, away from the adults’ depravity. In Browning’s poem, the piper claims that he ‘use[s his] charm / On creatures that do people harm.’110 The piper benevolently rescues the children from the over-indulging mayor and his advisors who live off the rest of the inhabitants and who cheat the piper of his wage. The children are led away from a society in which man betrays others, does not care for his community and perpetuates the mistakes of history. The leprosarium represents the novum, the transformation of history, where lepers perform miracles which allow the children to escape the bleakness of history. This becomes apparent when Victor is interviewed by the children who are interested in his novels. The children ask Victor how he sees them in the future, and he replies that he wants them to be intelligent, kind and to work ‘only for the good of mankind,’111 towards a future where people ‘don’t trample on one another and don’t kill.’112 This is problematic for the children; they have read all of his novels, which they find are full of ‘negativism,’113 peopled with ‘dirty, unpleasant types’114 who are nonetheless ‘realistic.’115 The children wonder if Victor wants them to be like these characters, as for them, it does not constitute a novum, but rather, ‘a dead end’ in which history perpetuates itself.116 They do not want to ‘waste [their] strength working for the good of those types’117 as there is no ‘pressure point’118 that exists in man that would make him change. One of the children tells Victor: ‘you’ve [Victor’s generation] exhausted yourself with your infighting and your lying and your war against lying which you carry out by thinking up new lies’119: mankind’s history is only made of wars, justified by propaganda which wrongly justifies killing. Instead, the children want to build a new world away from humanity’s inflexibility. Victor does not react well to the children’s comments. Feeling attacked, he tells the children that they are ‘cruel’

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__________________________________________________________________ and that they are ready to destroy his ‘old world.’120 Victor is unable to abandon his confrontational frame of mind, evidencing that humanity cannot live without fighting. The children then clarify their purpose for Victor: they want to create a new world simply abandoning the old one, without referring to ‘past history.’121 They are content to leave history as represented in Victor’s novels and as known from humanity’s behaviour, embodied in Victor’s own actions as he is a womaniser, an absent father, he is drunk most of the time and brawls with everyone who disagrees with him. Victor realises that his fighting attitude is inherently human: ‘without fight we simply can’t manage.’122 Humanity’s hostile attitude is also expressed in the many references to wars. One of these is made by, Diana, Victor’s current girlfriend, who she states that in some places ‘they hate Jews, in other places they hate blacks, and we hate slimies’; humanity’s history demonstrates that it cannot help fighting and hating what it sees as otherness.123 Eventually, the children take up permanent residence in the leprosarium, the novum where a series of biblical miracles occur, allowing the transcendence from the old world. As the adults gather around the leprosarium in an attempt to retrieve their children, they hear ‘the Voice’ ringing out like ‘thunder,’ exuding boundless tolerance, implicitly the voice of God.124 This can be confirmed with the many references to the apocalypse: Golem explains that the rain – which is linked to the lepers – will fall on an empty city, it will wash the pavements, soak through the roofs, the rotting roofs. Then it will wash everything away, the city will dissolve into primordial earth.125 Victor replies to this by simply saying ‘the apocalypse’ and the language used by Golem mimics that of a biblical prophecy also reminiscent of Noah’s flood.126 The Voice tells the adults that they ‘are deforming [the children] in their own image,’127 a pastiche of Genesis’ ‘and God created mankind in his own image.’128 The Voice tells the parents that the children have moved to the leprosarium of their own free will, informing the adults they: no longer wish to live the way you live and the way your forebears lived. You love to imitate your forebears and consider this a human virtue, and they don’t. They don’t want to turn into drunkards and debauchers, into petty slaves and conformists. They don't want you to turn them into criminals; they don't want your families and they don’t want your government.129 The children desire anarchy –freedom from a power which divides and rules – which they see as the only way to dissolve the boundaries created by ideological

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__________________________________________________________________ indoctrination passed on from generation to generation by depraved adults, corrupt governments and vice. However, these miracles are not the most impressive to Victor, who views the lepers’ ability to teach the children as supernatural, even superhuman. He ponders on the lepers’ ability to teach the children to think for themselves so that they break away from previous epistemological categories and find new avenues of thought; which makes Victor realise that people keep on ‘treading down the old paths.’130 Victor reflects that ‘we can’t think for ourselves’ and lap up the crooked ideology that comes out of governments.131 In contrast, he calls the lepers – who to teach the children to think independently – ‘supermen,’ a label which recalls Nietzsche’s concept of the Übermensch, the ‘superman.’ In Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche explains that man is an animal that has to be overcome, changed into the superman.132 He tells of man’s soul that it is ‘lean, monstrous, famished,’ also poor, dirty and miserable.133 Calling man ‘a polluted river,’134 he expresses the need for man to be virtuous, altruistic, generous, perceptive and to think critically,135 ideas which are at work in The Ugly Swans. Cynically, Victor calls the lepers ‘homo super,’ a species having transcended homo sapiens.136 He reflects how the lepers are regarded as monstrous, yet misunderstood: ‘A new species arising out of an old one, and we call it a genetic illness.’137 In The Ugly Swans, evolution is regarded as a disease, as monstrous and abnormal, because its newness transgresses the boundaries of what is regarded as normal. Instead, mankind does not realise that it is not evolving from its own monstrosity which prevents change. At the end of the novel, the lepers perform one last miracle: ushering in a new world for the children. Victor is allowed to stay briefly in the town to witness this miracle before leaving. He meets with Irma, who has grown into a young adult, suggesting that the children are not only geographically displaced, but also temporally, thus breaking away from history. Victor sees the purity and humbleness of this new world in which his ‘town was no more,’138 replaced with a sunny, verdant landscape covered with ‘new grass.’139 Irma wears a ‘simple dress’ and walks barefoot, almost a return to an Edenic state where clothing no longer serves to represent one’s identity and status: elements that were used to create categories have been abolished.140 However, Victor has to go back to his world, with the other adults, suggesting that for them utopia is impossible to achieve. Earlier in the novel, Victor was reflecting how homo super could be the subject of ‘a utopia,’141 but ‘to write something like that you’d have to stuff yourself with LSD.’142 Utopia cannot be conceived, let alone realised, because of man’s inability to accept difference and otherness; man is blinded by the categories that have haunted history, embodied here by the ancient, classical exclusion of the leper. In The Ugly Swans, utopia is rendered possible through the lepers, whose supposed monstrosity reflects mankind’s actual monstrosity, revealing that utopia is impossible for them, just as their ideological barbed wire bars them from the leprosarium.

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__________________________________________________________________ 4. Conclusion: Monstrosity and Impossible Utopia Both of these novels illustrate the dichotomy of monstrosity, as well as its discursive, ideological nature. Those in power or in a place of authority, or those considered normal because they fit in the discursive categories of acceptability, create discourses and categories which suppress subversion and difference and turn those seen as abnormal into monsters. Mina and Lucy are both lepers, described as contagious agents which threaten to disrupt the normal order of things. Their desire for more agency and freedom, anchored and represented by the discourses of the ‘New Woman,’ makes of them monstrous entities whom Van Helsing wants to normalise or annihilate. In The Ugly Swans, fears are expressed over the possible physical contagion of the lepers. The adults are concerned by the lepers’ influence over the children, who no longer submit to their parents’ authority. The lepers are depicted as perverting agents, because of their physical difference and because they threaten to change the categories of hatred that mankind finds itself trapped in. However, in both novels, the supposed monsters bring about category crises. As divine messengers, they show the way to a different life, by illustrating how mankind prevents mobility. Mina’s and Lucy’s leprosy reveals the repressed desire for women to assert their sexuality, their freedom and their agency. More particularly, Mina proves that a woman can escape her repression and demonstrate her abilities, which she is said to never have. The Strugatsky Brothers’ lepers also reveal that man needs to be more inclusive of difference, more accepting, and less confrontational. In these two novels, the leprous characters expose the power of those who dictate the norms to prevent mobility. By doing so, the lepers conform to the etymological definition of monster: that which reveals. They unravel the mechanisms, the discourses, and the ideas of those who dictate the norms; however, they serve to reveal a more sinister monster: the cruel and inhumane nature of humanity, which portrays otherness as monstrous, instead of including it in its community and changing its categories. Tellingly, these two novels use the ancient disease of leprosy to illustrate how categories of exclusions have always existed, while offering new pathways for change: the New Woman, a new species, the novum. Irene Bulla argues that Tommaso Landolfi’s fiction points to the idea that monsters are to be found within ourselves. His fiction ‘sabotag[es] the human need for “telling”,’ in the sense of narrating and categorising; that is, Landolfi’s monsters reflect and make us think about the act of narration – that is creating fiction – but also of narration and creation of categories, and offer new monsters, new creations, new possibilities.143 Similarly, Dracula’s and The Ugly Swans’s lepers reflect the ideological mechanisms of exclusion which disrupt the utopian potential for transformation associated with the novum, the space of change and of miracles. Instead, the novels shut out the utopian horizon: at the end of both novels, the monsters are defeated, as is the case with Mina, or excluded, as is the case with the lepers who no longer reside in the human realm. In doing so, these fictions suggest the permanence of

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__________________________________________________________________ the creation of categories, the creation of barriers which shut the utopian horizon. As long as barriers exclude otherness, monsters will remind us of the monstrosity of the categories of exclusion.

Notes 1

Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, ‘Monster Culture (Seven Theses),’ Monster Theory: Reading Culture (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), 4. 2 Ibid., 6. 3 Ibid. 4 Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, ‘Postcript: The Promise of Monsters,’ The Ashgate Research Companion to Monsters and the Monstrous (Farnham: Ashgate Publishing, 2012), 461-4. 5 Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, ‘Postcript: The Promise of Monsters,’ 463. Cohen’s statement relates to Thomas More’s conception of utopia, a pun on the Greek words eutopia (the good place) and outopia (the not-place) which creates an interspace between what could be and what is not, suggesting ways to transform the order of things. The concept of transformation, of change and of acceptance of otherness – present in Cohen’s concept of the interspace – are some of the defining features of utopia. Tom Moylan defines utopia as an ever receding horizon, thus constantly bringing new conditions and also signifying progress. Thus, the concept of a horizon suggests openness, which contrasts to that of enclosure and exclusion; consequently, the concept of utopia is intuitive to the inclusion of otherness. See also Tom Moylan, Scraps of the Untainted Sky: Science Fiction, Utopia, Dystopia (Oxford: Westview Press, 2000), 49. 6 Cohen, ‘Monster Culture,’ 12. 7 Ibid. 8 Bram Stoker, Dracula (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 284, 296, 321, 362. 9 See Moylan, Scraps of the Untainted Sky: Science Fiction, Utopia, Dystopia, 49. 10 Irene Bulla, ‘Monstrosity and the Fantastic: The Threats and Promises of Monsters in Tommaso Landolfi’s Fiction,’ in this volume. 11 Ibid. 12 See Cohen, ‘Monster Culture,’ 4, 12. 13 Bulla, in this volume. 14 Ibid. 15 Ibid. 16 Susan Sontag, Illness as Metaphor (New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1978), 43. 17 Robert Henryson, The Testament of Cresseid, ed. Denton Fox (Thomas Nelson: London, 1968), l.304-5. 18 Ibid., l.80.

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__________________________________________________________________ 19

Ibid., l.340. Ibid., l.613. 21 Sontag, Illness as Metaphor, 57-58. 22 Ibid., 58. 23 Other examples of people being punished with leprosy because of their sin include ‘Amis and Amiloun’ which Amilioun becomes a leper as punishment for deceiving the King, who thought he was fighting Amis as a revenge for having taken his beloved. See Richard Coer de Lion; The Lyfe of Impomydon; Amis and Amiloun, ed. Henry Weber (Edinburgh: George Ramsay and Co., 1810), ll.21852328. For more information, see Corinne Saunders, ‘Bodily Narratives: Illness, Medicine and Healing in Middle English Narratives,’ Boundaries in Medieval Romance, ed. Neil Cartlidge (Cambridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2008), 183 and Ivana Djordjević, ‘Rewriting Divine Favour’, Boundaries in Medieval Romance, ed. Neil Cartlidge (Cambridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2008), 161. See also Peter Lewis Allen, who contents that leprosy is often associated with ‘the sin of lust’ (33). He gives further exemplification in The Wages of Sin Disease, Past and Present (Chicago: Chicago University Press: 2002), 33-34. 24 Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilisation (Oxon: Routledge Classics, 2001), 3. 25 Allen, The Wages of Sin: Sex and Disease, Past and Present, 26. 26 Foucault, Madness and Civilization, 6. 27 Cohen, ‘Monster Culture (Seven Theses), 4. 28 Andrew Hock-Soon Ng, Dimensions of Monstrosity in Contemporary Narratives: Theory, Psychoanalysis, Postmodernism (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), 4-5. 29 Allen, Wages of Sin, 35. 30 Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish, trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: Vintage, 1979), 1979. 31 Susan Sontag, AIDS and Its Metaphors (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1988), 17. 32 Ibid., 18. 33 Ibid., 11. 34 Ibid., 16. 35 Sontag exemplifies this by arguing that homosexual men are blamed for contracting AIDS because of their sexual practises and as such are turned into deviating outcasts. See AIDS and Its Metaphors, 24-26. 36 Leviticus 13:45. 37 Bram Stoker, Dracula, 20. 38 Ibid., 284, 296, 321, 362. 39 See Leviticus 13:45 40 See Leviticus 22:5. 41 Stoker, Dracula, 296. 20

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Joseph Valente explores how this mark is the mark of the beast in his reading of the novel as an expression of Irish identity in the face of colonial England. He explains that Mina’s scar is a duplicate of the one left by Johnathan on Dracula’s forehead, and that therefore Mina, who represents Irish identity in the novel, is scarred and contaminated by Englishness. See Joseph Valente, Dracula’s Crypt (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2002), 94. See also endnote 44. 43 See Revelation 9:4 in which those who wear the seal of God are to be spared from the wrath of God. 44 Joseph Valente reads Mina’s name as ‘Anglo/Celtic-Irish.’ See Valente, Dracula’s Crypt, 141. He sees Mina as evoking personae of a feminised Ireland, such as Cathleen Ni Houlihan, or the Speirbhean, both female personifications of Ireland (130-141). Her English heritage is slightly more obvious, as she lives in England. Valente also sees this heritage – apparent in her maiden name ‘Murray’ – threatened by her marriage to the English Johnathan Harker (93). Mina is simultaneously Irish and English, Catholic and Protestant, native and settler (130) and does not allow Johnathan or Dracula to possess her and threaten her Irish heritage (94). 45 Glenn Willmott, Modernist Goods: Primitivism, the Market and the Gift (Toronto: Toronto University Press, 2008), 38. 46 Ibid. 47 Ibid., 39. 48 Valente, Dracula’s Crypt, 124. 49 For more information on the New Woman, see Carol Senf’s ‘“Dracula”: Stoker’s Response to the New Woman,’ Victorian Studies 26.1 (Autumn 1982): 33-49; see also Sally Ledger, The New Woman: Fiction and Feminism at the Fin de Siècle (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1997). 50 Willmott, Modernist Goods, 16. 51 Nancy Armstrong, ‘Feminism, Fiction and Utopian Promise of Dracula,’ Differences 16.1 (2005): 7. 52 Willmott, Modernist Goods, 17. See also Armstrong, ‘Feminism, Fiction and Utopian Promise of Dracula,’ 7. 53 Stoker, Dracula, 1, 2. 54 Ibid., 53. 55 Ibid. 56 Ibid., 105. 57 Ibid. 58 Isabella Beeton’s first volume of Household Management, includes many recipes. Beeton compares the mistress of a household to the general of an army, who needs to perform her ‘duties well and intelligently’ for her servants to follow her example, for her house to be ordered, and for her family to be happy. Stoker engages with Beeton’s ideas, possibly satirising them, by representing Johnathan as

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__________________________________________________________________ having to collect recipes for Mina. Also, the novel’s engagement with the New Woman can be read as a reaction against Beeton’s idealisation of domesticity. Isabella Beeton, The Book of Household Management (London: Ward, Lock and Co, 1907), 9. 59 Stoker, Dracula, 88. 60 Ibid., 89. 61 Ibid., 171. 62 Ibid., 59. 63 Carole Senf, ‘“Dracula”: Stoker’s Response to the New Woman’, Victorian Studies 26.1 (1982): 42. 64 Ibid., 43. 65 Ibid., 43. 66 Ibid., 44. 67 Stoker, Dracula, 159. The word ‘illness’ is used to refer to all the character’s ailments after they are bitten by Dracula. Jonathan is said to be ‘weakened by the long illness’ (154), and Dr Stewart explains of his patient in the mental asylum that the ‘traces of such an illness as his do not lightly die away’ (99) causing a ‘delirium’ (99). 68 Ibid., 214. 69 Manuella Dunn-Mascetti, Vampire: The Complete Guide to the World of the Undead (London: Penguin, 1994), 111. 70 Stoker, Dracula, 164. 71 Ibid., 165. 72 Ibid., 367. Dracula also appropriates Johnathan as he claims that ‘this man belongs to [him]’ (39) and Mina: [You…] are now to me, flesh of my flesh; blood of my blood; kin of my kin; my bountiful wine-press for a while; and shall be later on my companion and my helper (288). Dracula’s taking possession of Johnathan has been read as expressing homoerotic desire. See Jan B. Gordon, ‘The “Transparency” of Dracula’, Bram Stoker’s Dracula: Sucking through the Century, 1897-1997, ed. Carol Margaret Davison (Oxford, Toronto: Dundurn, 1997): 102; Marilyn Brock, ‘The Vamp and the Good English Mother: Female Roles in Le Fanu’s Carmilla and Stoker’s Dracula,’ From Wollstonecraft to Stoker: Essays on Gothic and Victorian Sensation Fiction, ed. Marilyn Brock (McFarland: Jefferson NC: 2009) 120-131. Peter J. Kitson, ‘The Victorian Gothic,’ A Companion to the Victorian Novel, ed. William Baker and Kenneth Womack (Greenwood: Westport, 2002), 170. This statement has also been read as an assertion of ownership brought about by industrialisation and capitalism, realised in Dracula’s accumulation of estate. See Nina Auerbach, Our Vampires, Ourselves (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), 71. 73 Ibid., 149. 74 Ibid., 234.

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Ibid., 235. See also Armstrong, ‘Feminism, Fiction, and the Utopian Promise of Dracula,’ in which she argues that ‘The hybrid child whom he fathers contains some of Dracula's blood, along with the blood of the other men who supplied transfusions to combat the vampire blood within Mina’s body’ (264). Mina’s son can therefore embody the potential for hybridity. While this indicates the possibility for a more inclusive society without boundaries, Mina’s child also symbolises boundary maintenance. He is a boy to whom Van Helsing will pass on his principles and ideas. 77 Stoker, Dracula, 378. 78 Ibid., 377. 79 Andersen, Hans Christian, ‘The Ugly Duckling,’ Hans Christian Andersen: Fairy Tales, ed. Jackie Wullschlager (London: Penguin Books, 2004), 151-9. 80 In ‘The Martian Among Us: Wells and the Strugatskys,’ George Slusser explains that ‘Victor is the ugly duckling’ (68) In ‘Towards the Last Fairy Tale: On the Fairy-Tale Paradigm in the Strugatskys’ Science Fiction, 1963-72,’ Itsvan CisceryRonay argues the lepers are the ugly swans of the title (20). Critics are divided over the issue; however, this ambiguity is intentional, as the novel explores the ambivalence and the mirroring nature of monstrosity. 81 Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, The Ugly Swans, trans. Alice Nakhimovsky and Alex Nakhimovsky (New York: Macmillan, 1980), 3. 82 Ibid., 4. 83 Ibid., 191. 84 Ibid., 17. 85 Ibid., 6. 86 See Leviticus 13:45. 87 Strugatsky, Ugly Swans, 21. 88 Leviticus 13:46. 89 Foucault, Discipline and Punish, 199. See also endnote 30. 90 Ibid., 198. Foucault adds that the practise of partitioning society, that is creating further boundaries, stems from the treatment of the plague-stricken: ‘those sick of the plague were caught up in a meticulous tactical partitioning in which individual differentiations were the constricting effects of a power that multiplied, articulated and subdivided itself’ (198). 91 Ibid., 198. 92 Ibid., 134. 93 See endnote 23. 94 Strugatsky, The Ugly Swans, 86. 95 Csicsery-Ronay claims that the lepers ‘are collected to do scientific research for Mr President’s military-industrial complex.’ Csicsery-Ronay, ‘Towards the Last Fairy Tale: On the Fairy-Tale Paradigm in the Strugatskys’ Science Fiction, 196376

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__________________________________________________________________ 72.’ Science Fiction Studies 13, no. 1 (Mar 1986): 20. The fact that Pavor, the government agent, cannot gain access to the leprosarium and that groups of thugs are abducting lepers shows that this is no more than a conspiracy arising from the fear of the lepers and from the adults not being able to gain access to the leprosarium. 96 Strugatsky, The Ugly Swans, 86. 97 Ibid., 137. 98 Ibid. 99 Ibid., 90. 100 Ibid., 91. 101 Ibid., 88. 102 Ibid., 90. 103 Csicsery-Ronay, ‘Towards the Last Fairy Tale,’ 20. 104 Ibid.,16. He also adds that ‘These zones function as rationalized versions of the fairy tale’s magical realm’ (16), that is, alternate spaces of magical – utopian possibilities. See also Simonetta Salvestroni, ‘The Ambiguous Miracle in Three Novels by the Strugatsky Brothers,’ Science Fiction Studies 11.3 (Nov 1984): 292, in which she states that the leprosarium stands for a world ‘of miracles and sorcery similar to those of fairy tales.’ 105 Tom Moylan, ‘The Locus of Hope: Utopia versus Ideology,’ Science Fiction Studies 9.2, (Jul 1982): 159. See also Salvestroni, ‘The Ambiguous Miracle in Three Novels by the Strugatsky Brothers,’ 296 in which she explains that Victor’s ‘relationship with whatever is difficult to compartmentalize in pre-existing categories (in this case, an “other” which is instinctively repugnant, like the leper colony) does not conform to any established pattern; so that it is open to a contact, a dialogue, with the “other” and hence to the possibility of enrichment,’ that is open and deviating from past categories. 106 Csicsery-Ronay, ‘Towards the Last Fairy Tale,’ 16. 107 Strugatsky, The Ugly Swans, 91. The narrative also reveals that ‘not a single cat is left in town, the mice have taken over’ (59), just as in the opening of the fairy tale as the rats have ‘killed the cats.’ Robert Browning, ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin,’ The Poems, Volume I, ed. John Pettigrew (London: Penguin, 1991), l.11. 108 Ibid., 91. 109 Browning, Robert, ‘Pied Piper of Hamelin,’ l.227. 110 Ibid., l.76-77. 111 Strugatsky, The Ugly Swans, 67. 112 Ibid., 71. 113 Ibid., 69. 114 Ibid. 115 Ibid.

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Ibid., 73. Ibid. 118 Ibid., 69. 119 Ibid. 120 Ibid., 75. 121 Ibid., 76. 122 Ibid., 6. 123 Ibid., 46. 124 Ibid., 161. 125 Ibid., 20. 126 Ibid. 127 Ibid., 162. 128 Genesis, 1:27. 129 Strugatsky, The Ugly Swans, 161. 130 Ibid.,164. 131 Ibid., 225. 132 Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra (London: Penguin, 1971), 41. 133 Ibid, 42. 134 Ibid. 135 Ibid., 44. 136 Strugatsky, The Ugly Swans, 197. 137 Ibid., 196. 138 Ibid., 233. 139 Ibid., 234. 140 Ibid. 141 Ibid., 197. 142 Ibid., 197-8 . 143 Bulla, in this volume. 117

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__________________________________________________________________ Slusser, George. ‘The Martians among Us: Wells and the Strugatskys.’ Visions of Mars: Essays on the Red Planet in Fiction and Science, edited by George Slusser Howard V. Hendrix, Eric S. Rabkin. Jefferson NC: McFarland, 2011. Sontag, Susan. Aids and Its Metaphors. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1988. ———. Illness as Metaphor. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1978. Stoker, Bram. Dracula. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998. Strugatsky, Arkady and Strugatsky Boris. The Ugly Swans. Translated by Alice and Alex Nakhimovsky. New York: Macmillan, 1980. Valente, Joseph. Dracula's Crypt: Bram Stoker, Irishness, and the Question of Blood. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2002. Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. Willmott, Glenn. Modernist Goods: Primitivism, the Market and the Gift. Toronto: University of Toronto, 2008. Elsa Bouet received her PhD in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh in 2013 for her thesis entitled ‘Hitting the Wall: Dystopian Metaphors of Ideology in Science Fiction.’ Her current research interests include Dystopian Literature, Ideology, Monstrosity and Literary Theory.



Monstrosity and the Fantastic: The Threats and Promises of Monsters in Tommaso Landolfi’s Fiction Irene Bulla Abstract My chapter investigates the relationship between monstrosity and the fantastic, considered here as a literary mode with a well-defined historical and literary breeding ground and a more or less identifiable set of formal and thematic features. Far from being interchangeable with fantasy literature, the fantastic, which is born around the beginning of the nineteenth century and flourishes over the following decades, survives into the twentieth century in more fluid and composite ways. After a brief foray into the features of so-called traditional fantastic, I shift the focus to Italian twentieth-century fantastic and the monsters it produces, with special attention to the creatures born among the pages of Tommaso Landolfi. Their paradoxical nature, both alluring and terrifying, stands out especially when we consider them in the context of the broader relationship between monstrosity and the fantastic. Key Words: Fantastic literature, Italian literature, monstrosity, monster theory, Tzvetan Todorov, Tommaso Landolfi. ***** The origin of the critical discussion of fantastic literature could be traced to the famous 1919 essay by Sigmund Freud, Das Unheimliche, where he discusses the notion of the uncanny from both a psychoanalytical and an aesthetic point of view.1 The essay delves into the network of motifs that resonate through E.T.A. Hoffman’s short story Der Sandmann, one of the foundational works of the fantastic genre, but extends the analysis to all the main sources of the uncanny (which are, incidentally, the most common devices for the activation of the fantastic space in literature): the Doppelgänger, the recurrence of the same (déjà vu), wishes or presentiments coming true, magic and witchcraft, death (dead bodies, ghosts and spirits), live burial, dismembered limbs. Freud’s study opens with an in-depth analysis of the semantic nuances of the word unheimlich. As the opposite of heimlich, which denotes something familiar, intimate, belonging to the home, the word unheimlich typically refers to something that is unfamiliar or unknown. Yet, something heimlich is also ‘concealed,’ ‘kept from sight, so that others do not get to know about it’: therefore unknown.2 As a result, the meanings of heimlich and unheimlich end up overlapping completely, exposing both the ambiguous nature of the uncanny experience and the apparently contradictory conditions for its activation. In fact, Freud’s conclusion is that the uncanny arises when something once known (and then forgotten) resurfaces in

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_______________________________________________________ consciousness: namely, when a particular event brings with it the return of a repressed ideational content, such as the castration complex, or a surmounted primitive belief, such as the belief that inanimate objects possess a life of their own (animism). For instance, a story about a lost limb with a life of its own (Le Pied de Momie by Gautier) or about blinding (such as Hoffmann’s Sandmann) brings up the fear of castration, which the subject has overcome (repressed) in order to submit to the reality principle. Similarly, stories in which wishes can change reality (The Monkey’s Paw by W. W. Jacobs) or statues come to life (La Vénus d’Ille by Mérimée) are unsettling because they remind us of a surmounted cultural code, a magical way of thinking that scientific rationality has superseded. Freud’s declared interest is in the aesthetic conditions required for the arising of the uncanny. Uncanny situations are always so when they present themselves in reality (although some of the above-mentioned situations or events are not likely to take place), yet this is not always the case for a literary or fictional setting. Not all literary works featuring the return of the repressed are uncanny: for instance, some of Hans Christian Andersen’s stories feature inanimate objects coming to life, and yet they do not instil any feeling of uneasiness in the reader. Freud’s hypothesis is that the basic condition a work of fiction needs to satisfy in order to give rise to uncanny feelings is verisimilitude, intended as the highest possible adherence to reality. The story, in other words, disguises itself as a piece of realistic fiction, only to overthrow the reader’s expectations by introducing an extraordinary element: ‘[the author] deceives us into thinking that he is giving us the sober truth, and then after all oversteps the bounds of possibility.’3 The uncanny arises when the reader experiences a conflict of judgment (Urteilsstreit) between what s/he thinks is possible (and therefore conforming to the reality principle) and the remnants of suppressed beliefs that the story frames as worthy of trust, thereby pitting against each other two cultural codes with completely different rules and principles. Through this theoretical articulation, Freud lends a more subtle meaning to the Jentschian notion of ‘intellectual uncertainty’ and raises the stakes of the psychological conflict activated by the uncanny. To be sure, the regurgitation of an old or superseded content or model of thought apparently digested by a system, throws a sinister light on the balance achieved through that digestion. The tight system of empirical rationalism cannot afford even one intrusion by magical and pre-rational thought, on pain of collapsing. With these findings, Freud inadvertently laid the foundations for future theorists of fantastic literature. While not every piece of fantastic fiction is necessarily uncanny, the notion of an insoluble contrast between the natural world and some sort of supernatural realm is established by some critics as a basic condition for every fantastic text. Only, the activation of such oppositional categories (rational/irrational, possible/impossible) is articulated in such a way that the stability of these oppositions, instead of being confirmed, is put into question.4 French theorists of the fantastic in the 1950s and ‘60s, such as Pierre-George Castex5 and Louis Vax,6 elaborate on the notion

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_______________________________________________________ of the fantastic as irruption. Roger Caillois frames the fantastic as a cognitive ‘scandal,’ ‘a break in the acknowledged order, an irruption of the inadmissible within the changeless everyday legality.’7 This was the theoretical basis for the understanding of the fantastic when Tzvetan Todorov joined the critical debate with his Introduction à la littérature fantastique (1970). While he fundamentally agrees with his French predecessors by stressing the importance of the relationship between the mysterious event and the worldview encouraged by the story, he grounds his theory of the fantastic on the hésitation produced in the character and reader when faced with a choice: In a world which is indeed our world, the one we know, a world without devils, sylphides, or vampires, there occurs an event which cannot be explained by the laws of this same familiar world. The person who experiences the event must opt for one of two possible solutions: either he is the victim of an illusion of the senses, of a product of the imagination -- and the laws of the world then remain what they are; or else the event has indeed taken place, it is an integral part of reality -- but then this reality is controlled by laws unknown to us. Either the devil is an illusion, an imaginary being; or else he really exists, precisely like other living beings – with this reservation, that we encounter him infrequently. The fantastic occupies the duration of this uncertainty. Once we choose one answer or the other, we leave the fantastic for a neighboring genre, the uncanny or the marvelous. The fantastic is that hesitation experienced by a person who knows only the laws of nature, confronting an apparently supernatural event.8 Todorov designs a spectrum of genres in which the fantastic occupies the central space between the uncanny on the one side (fiction where the apparently supernatural event is revealed to be natural), and the marvellous on the other (fiction where the supernatural is a normal feature of the world depicted, such as it is in fairy-tales and fantasy fiction).9 We have to note that the state of hésitation (reminiscent of Freud’s ‘conflict of judgment’) is always a temporary state before a ‘choice’ is made (by both the protagonist and the reader) as to the real nature of the event encountered. This makes the fantastic a liminal space, between two different genres into which it eventually flows. There are many limitations to this view. Ferdinando Amigoni regards the two terms of the choice as decidedly unbalanced, seeing that one term allows for a confirmation of a complex Weltanschauung, with its deep values and investments, while the other implies a complete rebuttal of it; the ‘epistemological

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_______________________________________________________ vertigo’ staged by the fantastic narration is unlikely to be relieved by a simple rational choice.10 This in turn is mirrored by Lucio Lugnani’s proposal to substitute the notion of hésitation with that of impasse. In his view, the temporary opposition between natural/rational and supernatural/irrational is not a sufficient interpretive tool for the state of radical doubt in which the character and the reader are cast: The fantastic impasse arises from [the lack of a rational explanation] and it is not in any way the hesitation between one thing and the other, but a complete state of deadlock [...]; [it is not about] wavering between two alternatives, but doubting the validity and rightness of the reality paradigm as a cultural and axiological code, as a mechanism of knowledge and interpretation of the world; it is not about the hesitation of someone who is at a juncture, but the confusion of someone who ended up in a dead-end street and cannot turn back.11 The uncanny or étrange exposes the apparently supernatural event as completely natural (cf., for instance, the common ‘it was all a dream’ device) and confirms the belief in a rational world shared by the text and its readers. On the other hand, the relation between the fantastic and the marvellous (already elaborated on, although in different terms, by Sigmund Freud) deserves to be examined in more depth, as it also illuminates, by contrast, the connection between fantastic and realistic. In fairy-tales, fables and fantasy, the author sets up a world in which magic and enchantments are the norm, where dragons roam freely across the land, toads transform into princes and animals talk like humans. What would be supernatural in a different kind of narrative is completely natural in this fictional world: the fairy-tale has a high degree of autonomy from the realm of the possible, since it creates its own definition of normality. The reader buys into this world through a willing suspension of disbelief. A fantastic story, however, does not encourage such disbelief; on the contrary, it reassures the reader as to its extreme degree of referentiality, and by doing so it sets up a solid background against which to project the fantastic disruption. In this tension between the flow of everyday normality and the shocking intrusion of the irrational, the fantastic mode finds both its raison d’être and destabilising power.12 In fact, according to Rosemary Jackson, ‘the fantastic exists in a parasitical or symbiotic relation to the real.’13 If we substitute ‘real’ with ‘realism,’ we can illuminate further the literaryhistorical pedigree of the fantastic. In fact, it is noteworthy that the fantastic mode, as opposed to the tragic or comic, has a relatively recent terminus a quo. One of the consequences of the great cultural shifts that took place between the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century is the development of a

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_______________________________________________________ widespread belief in the scientific method as a stable paradigm through which the world could be interpreted and classified. Positivistic thought and its literary expression, realistic narrative, excluded the supernatural from the realm of the possible, in favour of a faith in empirical evidence and an interest in the physical world. The fantastic, which was born around the same time (Hoffmann’s tales begin to be published in the 1810s, although the first fantastic text, according to Todorov, is Jacques Cazotte’s Le Diable Amoreux, 1772), channels the dark side of this cultural and philosophical atmosphere, which finds its inverted image in narratives of permeable boundaries and breaches of logical rigour. The fantastic impasse can thus be seen as a spiritually troubled reaction to the scientific mindset based on the principle of non-contradiction, a dead-end street where ‘either/or’ yields to ‘both/and,’ or perhaps to ‘neither/nor.’14 This is the heart of the fantastic mode, which embodies, in Todorov’s words, ‘the uneasy conscience of the positivist nineteenth century.’15 * When present in a fantastic text, monstrosity points to a threshold. It alerts us to some degree of interference between this world and others, sleep and wake, delirium and lucidity. There are undeniable functional similarities between the role of the monstrous creature or event in a fantastic story and the device of the ‘mediating object,’ a stylistic staple of fantastic literature as described by Lucio Lugnani.16 Let us briefly illustrate, by way of example, how this device works in Iginio Ugo Tarchetti’s story Un osso di morto (The dead man’s bone, 1869). The protagonist-narrator keeps an unknown man’s kneecap on the desk as a paperweight. One night, the dead man comes to visit him in a dream, lamenting how he has to keep his shin attached to his thigh with a black ribbon to make up for the missing bone. The narrator eagerly offers the kneecap to its rightful owner and then wakes up. In the morning, he finds the bone missing from his desk, replaced by nothing else than a black ribbon.17 How this could have happened, we are told, is completely beyond the narrator’s comprehension. This story, like many other fantastic stories, thematises the paradox of having to explain the ‘inesplicabile.’ Both the narrator and the reader know that an object cannot cross the threshold of the dream and materialise in the real world. And yet, the ribbon is right there, hard evidence of an impossible, unacceptable truth. The mediating object is a signifier belonging to the everyday world (a piece of evidence which can be assessed through the five senses) but carrying with it a signified from another dimension. Staying in the semantic field of language, it is a text written in familiar words, yet carrying an incomprehensible, disquieting, alien message. This object mediates precisely between the paradigm of reality established by the story and the outside, nether- or parallel world from which the fantastic attack on the real is carried out. The mediating object, with its

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_______________________________________________________ impossibility to be placed, with its uncertain citizenship between the real and the unreal, embodies with its mere presence the shocking permeability of the boundaries on which our system of thought is based. ‘The law of the fantastic,’ writes Sartre, ‘condemns it to encounter instruments only. These instruments are not meant ... to serve men, but rather to represent unremittingly an evasive, preposterous finality.’18 According to Lugnani, the mediating object in fantastic fiction is at once documentum (irrefutable evidence) and monumentum (from the Latin verb monere, to remind, advise, warn).19 The etymological sameness with the word monstrum alerts us to what I believe is a deep structural point of connection between mediating objects and monsters in the fantastic landscape. As demonstrated, the fantastic mode finds its energy in the tension between irreconcilable pulls or forces: the laws of nature as principles regulating time, space and causality, with rational, logical thought as arbiter of the possible, and a shred of the supernatural, the irrational, the impossible making its way into a world that, before this intrusion, appeared to be stably and coherently structured. The uncertain status of the mediating object, its alienness and yet its unsettling familiarity, is also part of the way monstrosity is constructed in cultural discourse. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen alerts us to the in-between nature of the monster: The monster is that uncertain cultural body in which is condensed an intriguing simultaneity and doubleness: like the ghost of Hamlet, it introjects the disturbing, repressed, but formative traumas of ‘pre-’ into the sensory moment of ‘post-,’ binding the one irrevocably to the other. ... The monster haunts; it does not simply bring past and present together, but destroys the boundary that demanded their twinned foreclosure.20 Monstrous liminality implies a fundamental epistemological threat: in its horrid face, ‘scientific enquiry and its ordered rationality crumble.’21 Monstrosity maps a world outside of the reality paradigm, inducing vertigo with its alluring and terrifying possibilities:22 ‘[f]ull of rebuke to traditional methods of organising knowledge and human experience, the geography of the monster is an imperiling expanse, and therefore always a contested cultural space.’23 In a fantastic text, the monster is the usher of Urteilsstreit, token of hesitation, point of impasse. If we keep in mind that, in Carla Benedetti’s words, ‘the fantastic is an experience of limits’ and a relentless probing of their validity, we can understand the key role that monstrosity plays in the organisation of fantastic worlds by reason of its inherent ‘interstitiality.’24 Naturally, I am not implying that every fictional work where monsters appear is a fantastic work, nor that the fantastic depends upon monsters in order to open up its ‘epistemological vertigo.’ Only that in a narrative mode centred on the notion of borders and on their

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_______________________________________________________ unsettling and inexplicable transgression, monstrosity is often a catalyst and agent of this transgression. If anything, we might say that fantastic literature has an inherently monstrous vocation as the narrativisation of a space where cultural codes and spiritual worlds bleed into one another, exposing the precarious nature of the walls that purport to keep them separate. * In his study, Todorov provides a rather specific terminus ad quem for the fantastic. The French-Bulgarian theorist associates the death of the genre with the advent of psychoanalysis, which, in his view: has replaced (and thereby made useless) the literature of the fantastic. There is no need to resort to the devil in order to speak of an excessive sexual desire, and none to resort to vampires in order to designate the attraction exerted by corpses: psychoanalysis, and the literature which is directly or indirectly inspired by it, deal with these matters in undisguised terms.25 Admittedly, the psychoanalytical notion of a ‘talking cure’ has much to do with narrative; and at the same time, fantastic fiction does give voice to the destabilising urges of the unconscious in the guise of monstrous or supernatural presences. Still, this idea of a mutual exclusion (diachronic and functional) is too unyielding to be given credit.26 What this controversial passage does highlight, however, is an undoubted difference between forms of fantastic fiction preceding and following the great intellectual turmoil triggered, among other factors, by the appearance of Freud’s writings and Einstein’s formulation of relativity theory, which shook the Positivistic episteme to its foundations. On the literary-historical plane, the emergence of radical aesthetics championed by the avant-garde movements undermines with varying degrees of organisation the theory and practice of bourgeois realism. The notion of artistic verisimilitude grows complex and troubled. Going back to the discussion of symbiotic duality between fantastic and realism, we can conclude that, as the ways of conceiving the real become more fluid, so do the ways in which the fantastic ‘scandal’ imposes on reality. The twentieth century sees the development of a non-traditional fantastic, less strictly codified, where the dialectics between the rational and the irrational are articulated in different ways. I am aware that my discussion of the general features of the fantastic runs the risk of overlooking the profound differences running through, say, E. A. Poe’s fiction, Hoffmann’s tales, the French fantastic as embodied by Nerval as opposed to Gautier and Mérimée, Henry James’s ghost stories, elements of Stevenson’s and

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_______________________________________________________ Stoker’s work, and so on. In fact, the fantastic is a genre especially difficult to codify (perhaps this is the reason why almost every discussion of fantastic literature opens with a theoretical premise – mine is no exception). However, these few brush-strokes should help contextualise and frame the question that I am going to tackle next, that of the nature of Italian fantastic literature and the way it develops into the twentieth century, either as a genre or as traces in other types of texts. * In the 1830s, when Giacomo Leopardi wrote in Pensieri that no people believe in ghosts less than the Italians, he voiced a popular opinion: that the literature of the uncanny and the supernatural was in fact ill-suited to the national character.27 In Italy, fantastic literature developed relatively late (around 1870), and had peculiar features compared to other European traditions. The reasons for this are many and multifarious. Firstly, the struggles for political unification of the Risorgimento period gave a strong political and patriotic tinge to the Romantic current, favouring a generally realistic streak over a fantastic one. The influence of Catholicism, the diffusion of idealist philosophy, and the weight of the classical tradition also hindered the development of the genre. Finally, a belief in the myth of Mediterranean ‘sanity’ resulted in a sceptical distance from a literature that revelled in the dark recesses of the unconscious. Still in 1950, Gianfranco Contini wrote a blurb for his anthology of Italian fantastic stories, Italie Magique, with the following observations: There is a tendency to locate the monopoly of magical sensibility in literature in the mists of the North and the mirages of the East. In the country of intelligence, surrealism was an attempt to dismiss the intellect with essentially intellectual procedures [...] In the heart of the West, where the lucidity of control is inescapable, another solution is possible [...]: to isolate the exception through the filter of irony.28 While nineteenth-century fantastic literature in Italy, such as that embodied by Tarchetti or the Boito brothers, pays a stronger debt to the gothic atmosphere of ‘forest-born and ice-fostered whisperings’29 imported from France, Germany or the United States, the great fantastic tradition trickles into many diverse rivulets in the literary landscape of twentieth-century Italy. The works of Massimo Bontempelli, the founder of ‘realismo magico,’ render fantastic nightmares as lucid visions of a ‘desiccated,’ functional, classical aesthetics.30 Alberto Savinio creates a fascinating world in which fantastic elements merge with psychoanalytical notions and surrealistic suggestions. Giorgio Vigolo populates the city of Rome with ghosts

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_______________________________________________________ from the past in order to find ‘the unknown in the known,’31 while Primo Levi discloses the non-sequiturs of everyday life and human behaviour in fantastic-cumsci-fi tales centred, as much as his Auschwitz memoirs, on the idea of ‘l’uomo violentato’ (the violation of mankind).32 Fantastic elements strongly inform the short stories of Dino Buzzati and the hyper-literary paradoxes of Giorgio Manganelli, while Antonio Tabucchi uses the fantastic mode ‘in order to question the ontological basis for our experience and place in the world.’33 However, Tommaso Landolfi (1908-1979) is probably the author who interpreted the fantastic paradigm in the most personal and self-reflexive manner. His work embodies, and pushes to the extreme, some of the common tendencies of the Italian branch of the fantastic, namely the meta-literary approach and what we could call a dispersion of the supernatural. To be sure, the fantastic mode in general is inherently concerned with the substance and possibilities of language, as opposed to the seeming referential transparency of the realist novel. Thanks to the bounty of theoretical digressions on diegesis, dramatized debates on matters of aesthetics (such as the famous terminological discussion on wunderlich and wunderbar in E.T.A. Hoffmann’s The Deserted House), and the strong presence of the narrator’s voice (usually belonging to a character in the story), the act of narration is pushed to the foreground. According to Carla Benedetti: telling others something that is hard to believe, something the narrator himself still regards as incomprehensible and would rather exclude from the realm of the possible, something that challenges his cognitive abilities, something that escapes definition and puts to the test the very possibility of discourse, is an event just as relevant as the one experienced by the character.34 This feature is even more developed in the Italian fantastico, which has a strongly educated, intellectual and ‘jaded’ nature.35 Tommaso Landolfi, in particular, finds in the fantastic mode of narration the means of inquiry par excellence into the conditions, possibilities and limitations of literature. As we shall see later, language is for Landolfi a living and breathing thing, at once empowering and annihilating, both the subject of a troubled enquiry and the means with which this enquiry must be carried out. Landolfi’s fantastic builds its creative tension between a deep mistrust in the act of narration (‘I don’t want to write, nor do I want to be written’)36 and an equal and opposite love, even a worship, for the power of language and its ever-slippery nature.37 Gabriele Pedullà has recently dubbed twentieth-century Italian fantastic as ‘un fantastico senza soprannaturale’ (a fantastic without the supernatural).38 While this is at first glance contradicted by the amount of typically fantastic paraphernalia

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_______________________________________________________ featured in these works (living dolls, mannequins, ghosts, haunted houses, monstrous creatures), there is a significant difference in the symbolic investment made in these figures. To paraphrase Stefano Lazzarin, Italian fantastic is not about rough materials, but about the functions assigned to those materials.39 In a canonical fantastic text, the source of fear or unease is relatively easy to pinpoint (if impossible to make sense of): the extraordinary event, sometimes materialised in the mediating object, sometimes in monstrous events or embodiments, carries out its attack on the real from a blatantly other dimension, parallel to (or on the outskirts of – hic sunt dracones) the reality paradigm. In later fantastic literature, the unheimlich is born within the folds of the real. It lurks in the imperceptible rifts of the everyday; it gives a nightmarish quality to the waking state and tinges sanity with the shadow of madness. The result of this state is not generally fear but bewilderment, not circumlocution but a loss for words (the cognitive and existential impasse is more openly connoted as such; the idea of a choice could not be further away). There are no need for monsters and living dead, automata and werewolves, and when they do appear, they represent a sort of immanent threat rather than a transcendent one. Therefore the living doll in Landolfi’s La moglie di Gogol (Gogol’s Wife) is also a metaphor for literary creation and the uneasy relationship between a writer and his work; the traditional theme of the haunted house is the background of a deeply human tragedy (Landolfi’s Racconto d’Autunno [An Autumn Story]); and disquietude is generated by the monsterisation of the most common objects (cf. the drop of water in Buzzati’s short story Una goccia [One drop of Water]; the entrails of a dead rat in Landolfi’s Mani [Hands]). * As the ways of understanding and practicing the fantastic evolve, so the monsters shape-shift and mutate in unprecedented ways, colonising the body and the mind, questioning the foundations of identity and humanity. In Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters, Judith Halberstam conceives the history of monstrosity as a progression towards total exposure and obscene visibility. In her view, postmodern monsters such as Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs represent ‘the frenzy of the visible’ (she quotes Linda Williams) as the chief source and phenomenology of the monstrous.40 However, one could also identify an equal and opposite tendency and approach monstrosity as a concept that evolves from a visible set of characteristics (one thinks of the very same works examined by Halberstam such as Stevenson’s, Shelley’s and Wilde’s, where the monster unmistakably shows itself, as the etymology dictates) to a less visible and somehow more disquieting shape, culminating in today’s wealth of serial killer narratives (people who are ordinary on the outside but monstrous on the inside) or contamination and virus-related fantasies (zombies, bodysnatchers, epidemics,

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_______________________________________________________ etc.).41 Without stretching the analysis this far, I would say that the monsters haunting Landolfi’s pages reflect this general tendency. Monstrosity becomes harder to see, to place, to associate with a distinctly, inherently monstrous form. As a result, the textual cage cannot tame and domesticate the exception through a sense-making narrative: there is a surplus of meaning overflowing from the pages, the Derridian ‘supplement’ evoked by Cohen as he describes the cognitive challenge posed by the monster.42 If monsters are ‘the visible edge of the hermeneutical circle,’43 and as such they ‘police the borders of the possible,’44 modern fantastic monsters have made their home in the circle itself, so that the edge is not so visible anymore. This does not apply exclusively to the Italian fantastic. For instance, the protagonist of H. P. Lovecraft’s ‘The Shadow over Innsmouth’ (1936) eventually turns into one of those hybrid sea-creatures he fears (the monstrous gene is in his own blood); Cortázar’s axolotl and its fascinated admirer eventually switch consciousness, or blend into one (‘The Axolotl,’ 1952). The threat to the roots of identity and humanity is more and more explicit, and parallel to this, fear has a less localizable object and becomes bewilderment and loss of coordinates. * Tommaso Landolfi’s fiction heightens the focus on language typical of all fantastic narration, and at the same time it explores the disquieting face of the familiar. The supreme synthesis of these efforts is the notion of monstrous language. As the subject loses its grip on signification, language becomes opaque and words develop a life of their own, defying the controlling power of narrative with the infective cancer of nonsense, revealing spaces in which the paradigm of reality begins to rot.45 If the fantastic is an experience of limits, Landolfi’s fantastic is first and foremost an experience of the limits of language; if the fantastic is a narrative of impossibility, Landolfi’s fantastic is about the impossibility of narrative. He regards the notion of a classically coherent, sequentially structured narrative (such as the one underlying realistic fiction) as untenable: ‘one must be at least a little crazy to tell a story,’ he remarks as he explains the choice of title for his 1966 short story collection ‘Racconti impossibili.’46 The exquisite paradox of Landolfi’s work realizes itself in this systematic flaunting of its impossibility. Let us read a significant passage of Landolfi’s pseudo-diary Des Mois, in which the narrator dwells on what he calls ‘parole-viticcio,’ tendril-words, and the effect they have on the mind: We all have, either voluntarily or by accident, done the experiment of tossing and turning a word in our heads until all meaning leaks out, leaving the word empty. At this point the

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_______________________________________________________ word seems to detach itself, not only from the object to which it is normally tied, but from every possible object or foothold or support. The word starts to curl up, and twine around itself within the mind. At first it resembles the tips of a branch, which the fire in the fireplace twists and shrivels before burning them, and then the emptied word resembles only itself. We could call these words that have no conceivable relationship with the world of phenomena ‘tendril-words.’ Now, what are they? Are they unrecognizable objects or actual standalone words? And, in the latter case, where are they and what do they symbolise? And we ourselves — what are we supposed to do with them, in which space, in which abyss of the soul should we let them swarm? Once again we cannot but feel overcome by them; nor, dismayed, do we find anything better than to retreat hastily from that world of [...] [threatening shadows] and return the words to their trite, tentative meaning.47 ‘Tendril-words’ open up a ‘space’ or ‘abyss’ (the ‘imperiling expanse’ of the monstrous) where the reassuring correspondence between signifier and signified loses its tightness. In a perversion of the mechanism of the unheimlich, what seemed familiar is now estranged and revealed as alien. The ‘terrifying experiences’48 brought about by these fragments of linguistic matter signal a shift in the way the fantastic narration conceives and represents its objects of fear. The disconnection between a symbol and what it should stand for creates ‘proper linguistic vampires,’49 an updated version of our beloved bloodsuckers. Here, the encounter with the monstrous happens at the edge of language, where the narratorprotagonist experiences a state of deadlock: the abyss is far too ominous to be faced, as it threatens the disintegration of the mind, but the alternative is nothing more than a ‘trite’ and ‘tentative’ self-delusion of communication. According to Rosemary Jackson: the fantastic ... pushes towards an area of non-signification. It does this either by attempting to articulate ‘the unnameable,’ the ‘nameless things’ of horror fiction, attempting to visualize the unseen, or by establishing a disjunction of word and meaning through a play upon ‘thingless names.’ In both cases, the gap between signifier and signified dramatizes the impossibility of arriving at definitive meaning, or absolute ‘reality.’50 In Landolfi, ‘thingless names’ are indeed evidence of a world out of joint, small leaks in the seemingly watertight system of the paradigm of reality. The threat lies in what we consider more familiar – our own words, what makes us human.

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_______________________________________________________ The tendril-word obsessing the mind of the narrator in the bizarre sci-fi novel Cancroregina (Cancerqueen) is ‘porrovio’: a non-existent word coined by Landolfi, which also designates an elusive, lurking creature. The tendril-word is also a tendril-monster (that is, an inconceivable name denotes an impossible creature). The novel is divided into two parts. In the first, a lucid narrator explains, in his diary-logbook, how he found himself in the spaceship Cancerqueen with the body of its dead inventor orbiting around it. The second part is the chronicle of the protagonist’s progressive descent into madness, again recounted by himself. Everything in the novel, starting with the title, seems to mock the notion of integrity and wholeness. The porrovio appears at the end of the novel. It is an elusive beast that can be known only by its impact:51 the consequence of its appearance is the outbreak of madness, manifested in the form of incoherent and rambling speech and in the actual disintegration of discourse. Turning again to Judith Halberstam, we can agree with her when she relates monstrosity to ‘the crisis occasioned by the inability to tell, meaning both the inability to narrate and the inability to categorize.’52 Right before the diary ends (with many dots, the signal fading out into deep space), the narrator muses over the porrovio, a beast resembling ‘a tapir, a pig and a babirusa’ that appears ‘when the night runs like a hare in the sun’ and ‘spies on [him] from the shadow,’ making madness ‘hatch’ in his brain.53 The effort of description stretches the possibilities of language somewhere between poetry and delirium, reminding us of other unimaginable creatures such as Kafka’s odradek.54 The ontologically liminal status of the monster, truly ‘a Linnean nightmare,’55 is then revealed: For a long time my life has been obsessed by the search for and arranging of words. The porrovio roams around, grey, in the darkness, the porrovio comes and goes, the porrovio is a mass I cannot swallow. The porrovio is not a beast: it is a word.56 As Paul Valéry once wrote, there is only one thing more frightening than a monster: trying to describe one.57 Unsurprisingly, then, impossible monsters come with impossible names. Landolfi conjures up an impressive number of languagebending archaisms or plain neologisms in an effort to describe the ineffable. The noun porrovio, for instance, does not belong in the dictionary but is highly evocative, as it carries with it suggestions of abnormality (porro, a wart on the skin) and permeability (poro, as in the pore on a surface or on the skin).58 In a mirror image of the act of name-giving (finding names to describe existing things), the word porrovio, with its ‘insufferable psychic intensity,’59 imposes itself upon the mind until it is given a shape; and this shape, disturbing hybrid in between

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_______________________________________________________ species, in between sanity and psychosis, embodies an osmotic fluidity of boundaries mediated by and carried out through a perversion of language. As the much-quoted phrase by Hugh of St. Victor goes, monstra vocantur quia monstrant: we call them ‘monsters’ because they show or point to something (or they ‘stand for’ something, much like a word stands for its referent).60 In their being gateways to alternative dimensions, monsters transcend themselves and become signs to be interpreted, questions to be answered, although not always successfully (‘the ghost tells us it looks like something, but it never says what’).61 What to do, then, with a monster that breaks the comfort of binary signification, to the point that it ‘roams freely’ between the realm of mots and that of choses? How could it not lead the rationalising mind to the brink of the ‘abyss of the soul,’ the ‘world of threatening shadows’ in which madness lurks? This unhinged fluidity is the mark of tendril-monsters. In order to make sense of a ‘traditional’ monster (think of the vampire and its long pedigree in oral and written culture), the reader need only activate textual connections to a cultural heritage s/he at least partially shares with the author. This allows for interpretation in the light of what came before – for instance, it allows the reader to evaluate the effectiveness of a particular intertextual reference. In other words, ‘we all have a shelf in our mental library where unicorns can be neatly placed.’62 On the contrary, the tendril-monster offers an unprecedented instance of monstrosity: no one has ever seen a porrovio (not even the narrator, we suspect, despite what he is telling us), no one knows what it looks like, nor can it be ‘shelved’ or made sense of through taxonomical language since it completely eludes description.63 There are no porrovi, vipistrelli nor veranie in traditional fantastic literature; that is because these impossible creatures are ‘undoubtedly post-freudian [...]: monstrous debris surfacing from the unconscious, regurgitated from a dream or a nightmare, emerging from the deep when [psychic] censorship loosens its grip or gives in altogether.’64 Another tendril-monster in Cancerqueen is the vipistrello (a variation on the standard Italian word for bat, pipistrello). This ‘mental bat’ flaps around against the inside of a person’s skull, but can be expelled with a particularly strong sneeze. As noted by Stefano Lazzarin, this figure is partially a wink to a long pedigree of metaphorical bats (Dürer, Baudelaire), but its significance cannot be reduced to an allegory of spleen.65 By materialising out of the brain, the ghost becomes flesh, evidence of the untenability of the inside/outside dichotomy: it brings with it some sort of ‘putrefaction of axiological and cognitive models.’66 The skull is porous, and the initial v- becomes the token of disintegration. In La Pietra Lunare (The Moonstone) another invented word designates a slippery class of beings: the veranie, hybrid creatures with women’s torsos and goat’s legs. The verania Gurù is a bridge figure between the real world and the nocturnal territory of magic and dreams, but her uncertain ontological status is not associated with a collapse of meaning. A girl by day, a were-goat at night (the

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_______________________________________________________ character-narrator, Giovancarlo, witnesses her metamorphosis, an erotically connoted fusion with a goat), she introduces him to a parallel world of mutant creatures and lunar divinities. There is an ambiguous investment in this figure. On one hand, she has openly monstrous features. When Giovancarlo sees her for the first time, sitting at a table, he gazes avidly at the upper part of her beautiful womanly body until his eyes fall on her legs: he ‘expect[s] to see a slender ankle, a little foot.’ Instead, what he sees makes his blood run cold: ‘In place of a slender ankle and a pretty foot, from her skirt peeped out two cloven goat’s feet, quite elegant, admittedly, and yet sticklike [...].’67 Her ‘monstrous appendages’ repel the young man, but at the same the ‘bizarre combination’ that is her hybrid body is framed as an object of desire; she ‘possesses an enigmatic sexual splendor paralleling the ambiguity of reality itself.’68 Gurù’s hybrid and metamorphic body hints at a dimension in which perhaps contamination is not gangrenous, but productive; not obfuscating but revelatory.69 Significantly, her alterity is also linguistic. She speaks the simple yet enigmatic language of nature and sings ‘strange and revolting lullabies’; as many critics have noted, she is the incarnation of poetry, a fantasy of expressive plenitude. In this sense, as Giovancarlo finally understands the words to one of her uncanny lullabies, he goes through an initiatory experience that his return to the daily world cannot dissipate completely.70 At times, Landolfi’s attraction for the strange is intertwined with images of sickness and disease, revealing a debt to the Gothic tradition and to the Scapigliati. Still, these images are better interpreted in the light of Landolfi’s specifically fantastic concerns. In the story ‘Un Petto di Donna’ (‘A Woman’s Breast’), the protagonist saves a beautiful woman from being run over by a car. Out of gratitude, she grants him the wish to kiss her on the nipple (the man is mesmerised by her beautiful breasts). When she takes off her slip, she reveals – to the ‘supreme horror’ or the man - two inverted nipples, ‘dark and flaccid crevice[s], akin to the mouth of a toothless old man.’71 The man is repulsed and fascinated by her ‘turpitude’72 and decides to kiss her ‘indecently inward nipple,’ ‘obscene beast nestled in the crack of a crumbling wall.’73 This disturbing flaw in an otherwise perfect body exercises an indefinable attraction on the protagonist. This unnamed woman is an exquisitely fantastic figure, and so is the verania Gurù: in both cases, an abnormal feature is in striking contrast to the wholeness of a ‘normal’ body. The monster, then, becomes a mise en abîme of the whole text as an apparently harmonious system where a part is incongruous and impossible to reconcile. The fantastically disrupted (textual) body provokes a diegetic and narrative double take, with its scandalous element functioning as a question mark through its alluring and terrifying mystery. Torn between disgust and desire, the protagonist of ‘A Woman’s Breast’ loses himself in the engulfing appeal of that black hole. As in The Moonstone, the gaze is

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_______________________________________________________ at the centre of a dialectics of desire and disgust that is central to the experience of the monstrous. Indeed, the text literally zeroes in on the breasts of the woman with a descriptive close-up, reminiscent of the cinematic gaze described and theorised in the same year by Laura Mulvey.74 Often, the reflection on monstrosity and language intersects with cruelty and violence. While the sadist strain in Landolfi’s work deserves a separate investigation, one instance is particularly relevant to our purpose. In the short story ‘La Muta’ (‘The Mute’), the namesake female character is slashed to death by the narrator-protagonist who, in a state of half delirium, tries desperately through his violent act to penetrate and possess her silence – to crack its mystery. Once again an incongruous feature, which is linguistically connoted, is equated to a hazy, everslippery promise of authenticity. In this story, the unattainable ‘truth’ the protagonist is after is envisaged as both ‘refulgent’ and ‘monstrous’:75 Here, I will talk at random, I’ll let the silence fill me and the pen run the way it wants; maybe some monstrous, refulgent truth will gush out of my words. Refulgent and monstrous! How laughable. Or is it? What is refulgent - could it not, should it not be monstrous too [...]? Aren’t these two necessary elements of the same image, or rather, two faces of the same necessity?76 Any access to this truth must necessarily be mediated by words, and yet it is barred by the gangrenous appendages of a rotten language whose words are empty shells, like ‘beautiful hazelnuts [...] eaten from the inside by some secret vermin.’77 At the same time, these images of corruption do not exhaust the full paradoxical potential of monstrous imagery in Landolfi. The monster, as a breaker of category and enemy of structure, reveals and embodies a disturbance in the paradigm of reality; this revelation, as shocking as the sight of goat’s feet on a human body, tears open the fabric of discourse to offer the glimpse of an ‘imperiling expanse’ swarming with incoherent bodies and echoing with uncanny lullabies. This dimension is reminiscent of the zone of the novum as discussed by Elsa Bouet, which is symbolized in her analysis by the physical space of the leprosarium.78 Perhaps monstrosity may after all be an alternative to the world of ‘trite, tentative meaning’ in which man is confined by language, if only one had the courage to peer into the abyss. As terrifying as that may be, there is something even worse: a world that is deaf to the dark promises of monsters, the most inhuman world possible (‘when the world gives up on the marvellous – that’s when it scares me the most’).79 Landolfi’s work is a negative hymn to that ‘world of threatening shadows’ where foul and fair are promiscuously intertwined. At the same time, the way in which Landolfi explores the intersection of monstrosity and language exemplifies the rarefaction of monstrosity that is typical of twentieth-century fantastic. His works suggest that, in a world where

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_______________________________________________________ monstrosity appears to be more and more within ourselves, sabotaging the human need for ‘telling’ (again in the double sense of ‘narrate’ and ‘categorise’), studying our monsters may very well be the best way to understand ourselves.

Notes 1

In fact, German psychiatrist Ernst Jentsch had already devoted an essay to the subject in 1906 (On the Psychology of the Uncanny). His theory, which Freud’s analysis develops further, links the unheimlich to the ‘intellectual uncertainty’ arising from a lack of logical coordinates. In a way, Jentsch describes the uncanny experience but does not delve into its deep psychic roots, nor into the aesthetic conditions necessary to produce it. 2 Sigmund Freud, ‘The Uncanny,’ The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works, edited by James Strachey, vol. XVII (London: Hogarth Press, 1955), 222. 3 Sigmund Freud, ‘The Uncanny,’ 250. From here on, I will be using the term ‘realistic’ to describe a text that is founded on, and unfailingly adheres to, what Lucio Lugnani refers to as ‘the reality paradigm’ (‘il paradigma di realtà’). In his view, the intersection of science (as a set of notions) and axiology in a specific time and space determines the paradigm of reality of a specific age. In Umberto Eco’s understanding, it is the shared set of utterances about the world regarded as being true by the author and the readers (qtd. in Ferdinando Amigoni, Fantasmi nel Novecento [Torino: Bollati Boringhieri, 2004], 22). What is relevant to our discussion is the degree of closeness to the real that realistic fiction claims to possess. It is this claim that the fantastic appropriates and then disproves. 4 Lucio Lugnani, ‘Verità e Disordine: Il Dispositivo dell’Oggetto Mediatore,’ La narrazione fantastica, edited by Remo Ceserani et al. (Pisa: Nistri-Lischi, 1983), 177. All translations from the Italian are mine, unless otherwise specified. 5 Pierre-George Castex, Le Conte Fantastique En France De Nodier à Maupassant (1951, Paris: José Corti), 1974. 6 Louis Vax, L’Art et la Littérature Fantastique (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France), 1960. 7 The quotations are found respectively in Roger Caillois, ‘De la Féerie à la Science-Fiction,’ Anthologie du fantastique (Paris: Éditions Gallimard, 1966), 8; and Au Coeur du Fantastique, qtd. in Tzvetan Todorov, The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1975), 26. 8 Todorov, Tzvetan, The Fantastic, 25. 9 It is often argued that Todorov’s criteria, if faithfully applied, allow for a very small number of works to be included in the category of pure fantastic literature. Todorov himself, aware of the fluidity and elusiveness of his object of study,

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_______________________________________________________ allows for a middle ground between the three main genres, namely the fantasticuncanny and the fantastic-marvellous. 10 Ferdinando Amigoni, Fantasmi nel Novecento, 15-16. 11 Lucio Lugnani, ‘Verità e Disordine,’ 72-73. 12 I agree with the substantial number of theorists who consider the fantastic a mode rather than a genre, among which are Irène Bessière, Rosalba Campra, Remo Ceserani and Stefano Lazzarin. For Rosemary Jackson, the fantastic is ‘a literary mode from which a number of related genres emerge’ (Fantasy: The Literature of Subversion, London & New York: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1981, 4). Neuro Bonifazi regards the fantastic as ‘a type of discourse qualifying many traditional genres (fiction, drama) and extending across the arts (literature, figurative art, cinema)’ (Teoria Del Fantastico e il Racconto Fantastico in Italia: Tarchetti-PirandelloBuzzati, Ravenna: Longo, 1982, 55-56). In this chapter, I alternate between the terms ‘mode’ (the fantastic as ‘a type of discourse’) and ‘genre’ (referring to a body of works informed in various degrees by that discourse). 13 Rosemary Jackson, Fantasy: The Literature of Subversion, 20. 14 For a discussion of paradox in regard to the fantastic, and especially as a theoretical approach to Tommaso Landolfi’s work, cf. Matthew Reza ‘«Noi Siamo Uni»: Paradox in Tommaso Landolfi’s Fantastic Literature,’ The Italianist 35.1 (2015): 78–90. 15 Tzvetan Todorov, The Fantastic, 168. 16 The already quoted work by Lugnani (‘Verità e Disordine’) is entirely devoted to establishing the features and functions of the ‘mediating object.’ 17 The story, most probably inspired by Théophile Gautier’s Le pied de momie (1840), is found in Tarchetti’s Racconti fantastici, Milano: Bompiani, 1993. The collection is available in English with a translation by Lawrence Venuti (Fantastic Tales, San Francisco: Mercury House, 1992). 18 Qtd. in Rosemary Jackson, Fantasy, 41. 19 Lucio Lugnani, ‘Verità e Disordine,’ 189. 20 Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, ‘Preface: In a Time of Monsters,’ Monster Theory: Reading Culture (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), IX-X. 21 Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, ‘Monster Culture (Seven Theses),’ Monster Theory: Reading Culture, 7. 22 On the monstrous experience as vertigo cf. Asa Simon Mittman, ‘Introduction: The Impact of Monsters and Monster Studies,’ The Ashgate Research Companion to Monsters and the Monstrous, edited by Asa Simon Mittman and Peter Dendle (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012), 8. 23 Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, ‘Monster Culture (Seven Theses),’ 7. 24 Mary Douglas, qtd. in Steven Schneider, ‘Monsters as (Uncanny) Metaphors: Freud, Lakoff, and the Representation of Monstrosity in Cinematic Horror,’ Other Voices 1.3 (1999): np, viewed 15 Jan 2015,

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_______________________________________________________ http://www.othervoices.org/1.3/sschneider/monsters.php. 25 Tzvetan Todorov, The Fantastic, 160. 26 This view does no honour to the specifically aesthetic concerns of fantastic literature - and the loss of ‘disguise’ does not make the fantastic ‘scandal,’ however thematised, any less relevant. 27 Giacomo Leopardi, Pensieri, IV, edited by Antonio Prete (Milano: Feltrinelli, 1994), 37-38. 28 Gianfranco Contini, Introduction (blurb) to Italie Magique (Paris, Éditions des Portes de France, 1946). 29 H.P. Lovecraft, ‘Supernatural Horror in Literature,’ Collected Essays, Volume 2: Literary Criticism. Edited by S. T. Joshi (New York: Hippocampus Press, 2004), 86. 30 An articulation of his theory of ‘realismo magico’ is found in L’Avventura Novecentista (Firenze: Vallecchi, 1974). 31 Qtd. in Silvia Zangrandi, Cose dell’Altro Mondo: Percorsi nella Letteratura Fantastica Italiana del Novecento (Bologna: Archetipo, 2011), 106. 32 Primo Levi, ‘Primo Levi: Come Scongelare la Bella Ragazza dopo Cent’Anni,’ interview with Ugo Buzzolan, La Stampa, 13 January 1978. 33 Ceserani, Remo, ‘Fantastic and Literature,’ Encyclopedia of Italian Literary Studies: A-J, edited by Gaetana Marrone, Paolo Puppa and Luca Somigli (New York: Routledge Taylor and Francis Group, 2006), 687. 34 Carla Benedetti, ‘L’Enunciazione Fantastica come Esperienza dei Limiti,’ La Narrazione Fantastica, ed. Remo Ceserani et al. (Pisa: Nistri-Lischi, 1983), 331332. 35 This is the adjective used by Lucio Lugnani (‘smaliziato’ in Italian) in ‘Verità e Disordine’ (208) to describe the belated and self-reflexive character of Italian fantastic literature. 36 This is a sentence Landolfi always used to say, according to his friend Carlo Bo. It is recorded in Bo’s introduction to the first volume of Landolfi’s collected works (‘La scommessa di Landolfi,’ Opere, edited by Idolina Landolfi, vol. 1, [Milan: Rizzoli, 1992], IX). 37 Tommaso Landolfi, ‘Prefigurazioni: Prato,’ Ombre, Opere, vol. 1, 744-745. 38 Gabriele Pedullà, ‘Pirandello, o la Tentazione del Fantastico,’ preface to Luigi Pirandello, Racconti Fantastici, edited by Gabriele Pedullà (Torino: Einaudi, 2010), X. 39 Stefano Lazzarin, ‘«Centuria»: Le Sorti del Fantastico nel Novecento,’ Studi Novecenteschi 53 (1997): 143. 40 Judith Halberstam, Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters (Durham: Duke University Press, 1995), 1. 41 On this cf. Abigail Lee Six and Hannah Thompson, ‘From Hideous to Hedonist: The Changing Face of the Nineteenth-century Monster,’ The Ashgate Research

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_______________________________________________________ Companion to Monsters and the Monstrous, 237-255; and Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock, ‘Invisible Monsters: Vision, Horror, and Contemporary Culture,’ in the same volume, 275-289. 42 Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, ‘Monster Culture (Seven Theses),’ 7. 43 Ibid. 44 Ibid., 12. 45 Many articulations of monstrosity examine it in the light of its intersection with language. An archetypal example in Italian literature can be found in Dante’s Inferno XXXI, where the giant Nimrod is heard babbling (or babeling, as Amelia Rosselli would put it) an incomprehensible language, signalling his exclusion from signification. In this collection, Kristen Wright’s chapter explores how Caliban’s access to language is imperfect and denotes his monstrous nature, while Aaron’s moral monstrosity is revealed and actualized precisely through his words. 46 Tommaso Landolfi, ‘Rotta e Disfacimento dell’esercito,’ Opere, vol. 2, 675. 47 Tommaso Landolfi, Des Mois, Opere, vol. 2, 765. (The translation is found in Gio Clairval, ‘Dino Buzzati: Interpretation of Buzzati and the Colomber,’ Weirdfictionreview.com, 12 February, 2012, viewed on 3 January 2015, http://weirdfictionreview.com/2012/02/weirdfictionreview-coms-101-weirdwriters-4%E2%80%89-%E2%80%89dino-buzzati/. Blog.) 48 Ibid. 49 Ferdinando Amigoni, Fantasmi nel Novecento, 83. 50 Rosemary Jackson, Fantasy: The Literature of Subversion, 41. 51 As argued by Asa Simon Mittman, the monstrous takes so many culture-specific forms that any general definition based on mere observation is impossible: rather, ‘the monster is known through its effect, its impact’ (Asa Simon Mittman, ‘Introduction: The Impact of Monsters and Monster Studies,’ The Ashgate Research Companion to Monsters and the Monstrous, 6). 52 Judith Halberstam, Skin Shows, 23. She refers to Gothic literature specifically, but I find this a useful insight for understanding monstrosity in general. 53 Tommaso Landolfi, Cancroregina, Opere, vol. 1, 564. 54 This strange creature appears in Kafka’s short story ‘The Cares of a Family Man,’ Franz Kafka: The Complete Stories, edited by Nahum N. Glatzer, translated by Willa and Edwin Muir (New York: Schocken, 1971), 427-29. 55 Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, ‘Monster Culture (Seven Theses),’ 6. 56 Tommaso Landolfi, Cancroregina, 564. 57 Qtd. in Massimo Riva, ‘Per Speculum Melancholiae: The Awakening of Reason Engenders Monsters,’ Monsters in the Italian Literary Imagination (Detroit: Wayne State UP, 2001), 279. 58 Stefano Lazzarin, ‘Parole-viticci: Bestiario e Onomastica di Tommaso Landolfi,’ Studi Novecenteschi XXXIV 74 (2007): 317-318. 59 Ferdinando Amigoni, Fantasmi nel Novecento, 82.

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David Williams, ‘Monsters Then and Now,’ Lo Sguardo 9 II (2012), 239. Charles Grivel, qtd. in Ferdinando Amigoni, Fantasmi nel Novecento, 86. 62 Ferdinando Amigoni, Fantasmi nel Novecento, 25. 63 The idea of monsters being all the more threatening because of their ability to escape articulation is also found in Derrida, for whom every instance of monstrosity is by definition ‘unprecedented’: ‘A monster is a species for which we do not yet have a name, which does not mean the species is abnormal, namely, the composition or hybridization of already known species. Simply, it shows itself [elle se montre] - that is what the word monster means – it shows itself in something that is not yet shown and that therefore looks like a hallucination, it strikes the eye, it frightens precisely because no anticipation had prepared us to identify this figure’ (emphasis in the original; the excerpt, which needs to be contextualised within Derrida’s continued interest in discursive monstrosity, is found in the interview ‘Passages—from Traumatism to Promise,’ Points...: Interviews, 1974-1994, edited by Elisabeth Weber, translated by Peggy Kamuf et al., [Stanford: Stanford UP, 1995], 386). 64 Stefano Lazzarin, Parole-viticci, 314. 65 Stefano Lazzarin, ‘Vipistrello, Colombre, Animale Giglio: Vampiri Linguistici del Novecento Italiano,’ Italies 10 (2006): 13. Viewed 11 May 2014. http://italies.revues.org/634. 66 Stefano Lazzarin, Parole-viticci, 318. 67 Tommaso Landolfi, La Pietra Lunare, Opere, vol. 2, 126. 68 Manuela Gieri, ‘Landolfi, Tommaso,’ Cassell Dictionary of Italian Literature, edited by Peter Bondanella, Julia Conway Bondanella, Jody Robin Schiffman (London: Cassell, 1996), 309. 69 In this collection, Elsa Bouet addresses the theme of leprosy in the light of its utopian and revolutionary potential. In both Dracula and The Ugly Swans, the body of the leper is a culturally contested space through which power can be challenged and displaced. These works, however, end up confirming the categories of exclusion that the leprous characters expose as inherently monstrous. (Elsa Bouet, ‘Utopian Leprosy: Transforming Gender in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and History in the Strugatsky Brothers’ The Ugly Swans,’ in this volume). 70 For more on La Pietra Lunare as initiation cf. Simona Micali, ‘Il corpo del mostro. Retoriche del neofantastico,’ Between IV 7 (2014): np, viewed 12 January 2015, http://ojs.unica.it/index.php/between/article/view/1123. 71 Tommaso Landolfi, ‘Un Petto di Donna,’ A Caso (Milano: Rizzoli, 1975), 128. 72 Ibid., 133. 73 Ibid., 135. 74 I am referring to Mulvey’s influential 1975 essay ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’ (Visual and Other Pleasures, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009, 1427). 61

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The encounter with monstrosity as an overwhelming and conflicting experience, beyond imagination and representation, is reminiscent of the aesthetic experience of the sublime. In fact, the Kantian notion can be productively applied to the study of monstrosity (cf., among others, Maria Beville, The Unnameable Monster in Literature and Film, London: Routledge, 2013). 76 Tommaso Landolfi, ‘La Muta,’ Tre Racconti, Opere, vol. 2, 443. 77 Tommaso Landolfi, ‘La Penna,’ Un Paniere di Chiocciole, Opere, vol. 2, 925. 78 Elsa Bouet, in this volume. 79 Tommaso Landolfi, ‘Il Rigatore,’ Del Meno (Milano: Rizzoli, 1978), 188. Bibliography Amigoni, Ferdinando. Fantasmi nel Novecento. Torino: Bollati Boringhieri, 2004. Benedetti, Carla. ‘L’Enunciazione Fantastica come Esperienza dei Limiti.’ La Narrazione Fantastica, ed. Remo Ceserani et al., 289-353. Pisa: Nistri-Lischi, 1983. Beville, Maria. The Unnameable Monster in Literature and Film. London: Routledge, 2013. Bonifazi, Neuro. Teoria Del Fantastico e il Racconto Fantastico in Italia: Tarchetti-Pirandello-Buzzati. Ravenna: Longo, 1982. Bontempelli, Massimo. L’Avventura Novecentista, Firenze: Vallecchi, 1974. Buzzolan, Ugo. ‘Primo Levi: Come Scongelare la Bella Ragazza Dopo Cent’anni.’ Interview with Primo Levi. La Stampa, 13 January 1978. Caillois, Roger. ‘De la féerie à la science-fiction.’ Anthologie du fantastique, edited by Roger Caillois, 7-24. Paris: Gallimard, 1966. Castex, Pierre-George. Le Conte Fantastique En France De Nodier à Maupassant. Paris: José Corti, 1974. Ceserani, Remo. ‘Fantastic and Literature.’ Encyclopedia of Italian Literary Studies: A-J, edited by Gaetana Marrone, Paolo Puppa and Luca Somigli, 685-688. New York: Routledge Taylor and Francis Group, 2006.

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_______________________________________________________ Clairval, Gio. ‘Dino Buzzati: Interpretation of Buzzati and the Colomber.’ Weirdfictionreview.com, 12 February, 2012. Viewed on 3 January 2014. http://weirdfictionreview.com/2012/02/weirdfictionreview-coms-101-weirdwriters-4%E2%80%89-%E2%80%89dino-buzzati/. Blog. Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome. ‘Preface: In a Time of Monsters.’ Monster Theory: Reading Culture, edited by Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, VI-XIII. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996. ———. ‘Monster Culture (Seven Theses).’ Monster Theory: Reading Culture, edited by Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, 3-25. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996. Contini, Gianfranco. Introduction (blurb) to Italie Magique. Paris: Éditions des Portes de France, 1946. Derrida, Jacques. ‘Passages—from Traumatism to Promise.’ Points...: Interviews, 1974-1994, edited by Elisabeth Weber, 372-395. Translated by Peggy Kamuf et al. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1995. Freud, Sigmund. ‘The Uncanny.’ The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works, edited by James Strachey, 217-256. Vol. XVII. London: Hogarth Press, 1955. Gieri, Manuela. ‘Landolfi, Tommaso.’ Cassell Dictionary of Italian Literature, edited by Peter Bondanella, Julia Conaway Bondanella, Jody Robin Schiffman, 308-309. London: Cassell, 1996. Halberstam, Judith. Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters. Durham: Duke UP, 2000. Jackson, Rosemary. Fantasy: The Literature of Subversion. London & New York: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1981. Kafka, Franz. ‘The Cares of a Family Man.’ Franz Kafka: The Complete Stories, edited by Nahum N. Glatzer, 427-29. Translated by Willa and Edwin Muir. New York: Schocken, 1971. Landolfi, Tommaso. Cancroregina. Opere, edited by Idolina Landolfi, 519-565 . Vol. 1. Milan: Rizzoli, 1992.

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_______________________________________________________ ———. Del Meno. Milano: Rizzoli, 1978. ———. Des Mois. Opere, edited by Idolina Landolfi, 681-802. Vol. 2. Milan: Rizzoli, 1992. ———. ‘La Muta.’ Opere, edited by Idolina Landolfi, 431-450. Vol. 2. Milan: Rizzoli, 1992. ———. ‘La Penna.’ Un Paniere di Chiocciole. Opere, edited by Idolina Landolfi, 922-925. Vol. 2. Milan: Rizzoli, 1992. ———. Rotta e Disfacimento dell’Esercito. Opere, edited by Idolina Landolfi, 673-677. Vol. 2. Milan: Rizzoli, 1992. ———. ‘Un Petto di Donna.’ A Caso, 119-136. Milano: Rizzoli, 1975. Lazzarin, Stefano. ‘«Centuria». Le Sorti del Fantastico nel Novecento.’ Studi Novecenteschi XXIV 53 (1997): 99-145. ———. ‘Parole-viticci: Bestiario e Onomastica di Tommaso Landolfi.’ Studi Novecenteschi XXXIV 74 (2007): 307-337. ———. ‘Vipistrello, Colombre, Animale Giglio: Vampiri Linguistici del Novecento Italiano.’ Italies 10 (2006). Viewed 11 May 2014. http://italies.revues.org/634. Lee Six, Abigail, and Hannah Thompson. ‘From Hideous to Hedonist: The Changing Face of the Nineteenth-century Monster.’ The Ashgate Research Companion to Monsters and the Monstrous, edited by Asa Simon Mittman, 237255. Farnham: Ashgate, 2012. Leopardi, Giacomo. Pensieri. Edited by Antonio Prete. Milano: Feltrinelli, 1994. Lovecraft, H.P. Collected Essays, Volume 2: Literary Criticism. Edited by S. T. Joshi. New York: Hippocampus Press, 2004. Lugnani, Lucio. ‘Verità e Disordine: Il Dispositivo dell’Oggetto Mediatore.’ La Narrazione Fantastica, edited by Remo Ceserani et al., 177-288. Pisa: NistriLischi, 1983.

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_______________________________________________________ Micali, Simona. ‘Il Corpo del Mostro. Retoriche del Neofantastico.’ Between IV 7 (2014): 1-25. Viewed 12 January 2015. http://ojs.unica.it/index.php/between/article/view/1123. Mittman, Asa Simon. ‘Introduction: The Impact of Monsters and Monster Studies.’ The Ashgate Research Companion to Monsters and the Monstrous, edited by Asa Simon Mittman and Peter Dendle, 1-14. Farnham: Ashgate, 2012. Mulvey, Laura. ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema.’ 1975. Visual and Other Pleasures. 14-27. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. Pedullà, Gabriele. ‘Pirandello, o la Tentazione del Fantastico.’ Preface to Racconti Fantastici by Luigi Pirandello, edited by Gabriele Pedullà, I-XXXVI. Torino: Einaudi, 2010. Reza, Matthew. ‘«Noi siamo uni»: Paradox in Tommaso Landolfi’s Fantastic Literature.’ The Italianist 35.1 (2015): 78–90. Riva, Massimo. ‘Per Speculum Melancholiae: The Awakening of Reason Engenders Monsters.’ Monsters in the Italian Literary Imagination, edited by Keala Jewell, 279-296. Detroit: Wayne State UP, 2001. Schneider, Steven. ‘Monsters as (Uncanny) Metaphors: Freud, Lakoff, and the Representation of Monstrosity in Cinematic Horror.’ Other Voices 1.3 (1999). Viewed 15 Jan 2015. http://www.othervoices.org/1.3/sschneider/monsters.php. Tarchetti, Iginio Ugo. Racconti Fantastici. Milano: Bompiani, 1993. Todorov, Tzvetan. The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1975. Vax, Louis. L’Art et la Littérature Fantastique. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1960. Venuti, Lawrence, trans. Fantastic Tales by Iginio Ugo Tarchetti. San Francisco: Mercury House, 1992. Weinstock, Jeffrey Andrew. ‘Invisible Monsters: Vision, Horror, and Contemporary Culture.’ The Ashgate Research Companion to Monsters and the Monstrous, edited by Asa Simon Mittman, 275-289. Farnham: Ashgate, 2012.

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_______________________________________________________ Williams, David. ‘Monsters Then and Now.’ Lo Sguardo 9 II (2012): 239-258. Zangrandi, Silvia. Cose dell’Altro Mondo: Percorsi nella Letteratura Fantastica Italiana del Novecento. Bologna: Archetipo, 2011. Irene Bulla was born in Rome, Italy. She pursued a B.A. and an M.A. in English and German literature at the University of Roma Tre, followed by an M.A. in Anglo-Irish Literature at University College Dublin (Ireland). She is currently a doctoral candidate in the department of Italian at Columbia University. Her dissertation project focuses on the notion of monstrosity in twentieth-century fantastic literature. She has published articles on modern Italian theatre, Italian fiction and horror cinema, as well as the Italian translation of David Storey’s novel This Sporting Life (Il Campione, with Guido Bulla, Rome: 66thand2nd, 2011). Her interests include modern Italian literature, fantastic fiction, the theory and practice of translation and biography studies.

Part IV Gazing at Monsters



‘This Thing of Darkness I Acknowledge Mine’: Man’s Monstrous Potential in The Tempest and Titus Andronicus Kristen D. Wright Abstract In the Renaissance, monsters were a popular spectacle featured in broadside ballads, drama, and other mediums. However, this fascination with looking at monsters was also tempered by a fear of what influence those monstrous spectacles could have on an audience. The stage in particular was criticized by Puritans such as William Rankin and John Northbrooke as a place that infected audiences with monstrous ideas; audiences enjoyed watching monsters and villains, but some people feared that this enjoyment would make the audience more susceptible to taking on those evil qualities themselves. This potential for monstrosity to be contagious then influenced the way that monstrosity was depicted on the stage, particularly in Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus and The Tempest. In these works, the villains Aaron and Caliban are both physically different from the other characters, but it is their social interactions and attempts to convince others to commit evil that makes them truly monstrous. Although some characters are physically marked as monstrous, this proves to be an unreliable indicator of a character’s true monstrous potential. Language can manipulate and encourage monstrous desires, and the true monster is not the one that you can easily see, but the monster that is potentially within anyone. Key Words: Aaron, Caliban, early modern, language, monsters, performance, race, Renaissance, sexuality, Shakespeare, theatre. ***** 1. Introduction: Monsters on the Renaissance Stage As discussed in the other chapters of this book, humans have always been fascinated with the idea of the monster, and we are particularly interested in seeing and experiencing monstrosity. In the Renaissance, the stage and printed broadside ballads were both popular ways of displaying monstrosity to eager, paying audiences. Shakespeare even directly references the market for looking at monsters in The Tempest when Trinculo, who has just seen the monstrous Caliban, comments that if he were in England ‘and had but this fish-painted, not a holiday fool there but would give a piece of silver. There would this monster make a man; any strange beast there makes a man.’1 However, Trinculo, while obviously saying that displaying a monster is lucrative, also punningly suggests that any monster can pass for an Englishman. This moment of joking thereby hints at the difficulty in distinguishing between monsters and men. A creature like Caliban has the physical appearance of a monster, but Renaissance authors and scholars are increasingly

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__________________________________________________________________ interested in not just how appearance denotes monstrosity, but also how behaviour can be monstrous, thus blurring the line between monsters and humans. Sir Thomas Browne, in his Religio Medici (1642), perhaps best expresses this view of humanity’s monstrous potential when he argues that ‘we naturally know what is good, but naturally pursue what is evil [….] In brief, we are all monsters.’2 According to Browne, humans are a moral paradox: they can act against their nature and are thus naturally unnatural. Man is therefore both human and inhuman. This monstrous duality is frequently depicted in Renaissance tragedies, which, unlike late medieval works, do not necessarily connect monstrous appearance to monstrous behaviour. Humans can choose to follow their instincts for good, or they can choose to ‘pursue what is evil,’ and this choice is not necessarily related to appearance. This potential for man to act and become monstrous contributes to unease about the impact of stage performances on those who view them. Sir Philip Sidney defends the portrayal of evil people both on the stage and in poetry when he argues that ‘if the poet do his part aright, he will show you in Tantalus, Atreus, and such like, nothing that is not to be shunned; in Cyrus, Æneas, Ulysses, each thing to be followed.’3 As long as the poet shows the villain being punished, the audience will learn a valuable moral lesson rather than being corrupted by what they have seen. However, other writers of the period disagreed, and instead argued that seeing any sort of villainy or monstrousness at all could threaten to infect those who saw it, regardless of the dramatic outcome. In his vitriolic 1587 treatise A Mirror of Monsters, William Rankin not only rails against theatres for corrupting their audiences with scenes of sex and villainy, but he also calls the actors themselves monsters because they infect the world with their corruption: Some term them Comedians, othersome Players, manie Pleasers, but I Monsters, and whie Monsters? Because under colour of humanitie, they present nothing but prodigious vanitie. These are […] fiends that are crept into the worlde by stealth, and holde possession by subtill innation.4 For Rankin, actors are monsters because they present evil and monstrous deeds, and because they use their performances as a way to infect the audience and breed more monsters. John Northbrooke echoes these sentiments in his Treatise (1577) when he claims that in the theatre: Satan hath not a more speedie way, and fitter schoole to work and teach his desire, to bring men and women into his snare of concupiscence and filthie lustes of wicked whoredom, than those places and playes, and theatres are.5

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__________________________________________________________________ While Sidney trusts an audience to learn a valuable moral lesson in the destruction of villains and monsters, Rankin and Northbrooke see the potential for monstrous ideas to be disseminated to a large audience. For the Renaissance audience, watching a play is not necessarily just a release of emotion or a catharsis but also a moral influence. Plays therefore become a chance for the audience to witness sinful or monstrous behaviours, but they also risk becoming monstrous themselves. Despite these dire warnings, plays maintained their popularity through the English Renaissance, and Shakespeare, among others, did not hesitate to depict characters that both look and act monstrous. Shakespeare, however, not only shows monstrous characters, but he also directly engages with what it means to watch, listen to, and even become a monster. In his plays Titus Andronicus (1589) and The Tempest (1610/11), he presents two characters, Aaron and Caliban, who both possess unusual or monstrous bodies and who demonstrate that monstrosity is not just passed through physical reproduction; words and ideas can also be monstrous and used to infect or corrupt those who hear them. These characters are noteworthy for the fact that even though they are visually marked as villainous and even monstrous, they both commit few overt acts of violence, but instead, like the skilled performers about whom Northbrooke worries, they try to convince others to commit crimes on their behalf by infecting others with their monstrous ideas. While being able to visually identify a monster typically suggests that the monster can be isolated and destroyed, Shakespeare challenges the idea that monsters can always be seen and cast out from society in such a simple way. Aaron and Caliban’s appearance invites the audience to read specific meanings into their race and form, including expectations that they will be physically and sexually aggressive; yet their true threat lies not in their physical bodies but in their use of language and in their ability to reveal the potential monstrosity in other, seemingly ‘normal’ characters. 2. Aaron and the Threat of Monstrous Speech Although he is not outwardly monstrous, Aaron’s appearance both marks him as different and creates certain expectations for his behaviour. His presence as the sole black character on an otherwise white stage would have been visually striking, and his unique appearance would have conveyed its own set of meanings, his black skin carrying a number of period connotations. Although it is unclear what specific country Aaron is from, Tamora describes him as ‘my sweet Moor’6 and he also refers to his own blackness7 and ‘fleece of curly hair,’8 indicating his African heritage. In the medieval period, Africans were frequently depicted as physically monstrous,9 but as colonialism and travel increased in the Renaissance, older depictions of Africans as bodily monstrous were no longer tenable. Africans became familiar, with the slave trade from 1554 onward bringing even larger numbers of Africans to England.10 Thus, as the world became less mysterious, the monsters were pushed to the edges of the known world. So the popular depictions

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__________________________________________________________________ of giant Ethiopians with boars’ tusks and dogs’ heads fell out of favour, resulting in more depictions of Africans who look like Aaron or Othello. Yet, this is not to say that European society was prepared to humanize Africans entirely, and while Renaissance authors deemphasized monstrous visual characteristics for black Africans, black skin itself was often used as an indicator of monstrous behaviour or urges, and a number of reasons were cited to justify these beliefs. For example, while the writers of the medieval period were certainly familiar with the stories of Ham and Cain, ‘it was only during the early modern period that writers began to trace Ham’s lineage strictly to Africa.’11 Ham was cast out for looking on Noah’s nakedness, and both the incestuous, sexual nature of this crime and the idea that black skin denotes sin increasingly mark his descendants in early modern thought.12 This connection of the story of Ham to the blackness and nature of Africans is important in understanding perceptions of African sexuality, and it provides a convenient explanation for why Africans should be enslaved: Ham and his descendants were cursed to be servants (a fact that further justifies Aaron’s status below the white Romans and Prospero’s enslavement of Caliban13). The biblical explanation for African skin colour and justification for slavery was then combined with some retention of classical and medieval climatic theory, which claimed that the heat of the African sun would literally scorch people black. For example, in his thirteenth century work De Natura Loci Albertus Magnus claims: we see that those things which are born in the hottest places are the hottest, and exceedingly wrinkled from dryness, as a pepper seed, and very black on account of their heat as are the Ethiopians[…] and the semen which is conceived is burned by the very strong heat, and their bodies grow dark on account of the scorching of the body.14 Heat was not only believed to affect the physical appearance of a person, but it was also believed to negatively affect the body’s humours, and therefore the personality.15 In Chroniques des Ducs de Normandie, written around 1150, Benoît of Saint-Maure describes far southern regions of Africa in which: the days are hot and burning [and there are] people of different kinds who have no law, religion, or reason, justice, or discretion; not knowing the difference between right and wrong, they are more felonious than dogs.16 Another example occurs in Jacques de Vitry’s 1597 work Libri duo, quorum prior orientalis, siue Hierosolymitanae, in which he claims that ‘in the East, especially hot regions, bestial and wanton people, to whom the austerity of the Christian

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__________________________________________________________________ religion seems intolerably burdensome […] easily embark on the path which leads to death.’17 So, people with darker skin were not only assumed to be sinful, but it was also believed that ‘the “intense heat” of Africa produced intemperate lust,’18 as well as aggression, laziness, and a lack of faith. The biblical and climatological claims about black African sexuality were reinforced by medieval and Renaissance travel writing, which both frequently presented descriptions of monstrous African bodies and sexuality. In his Travels (1298), Marco Polo emphasized the sexually unappealing nature of Africans when he described the women ‘with large mouths and thick noses, and ill-favoured breasts, four times as large as those of other women.’19 This description is not only unflattering, but it serves to make their sexual/reproductive bodies monstrous, a feature that was repeated in other depictions of Africans and even in later Irish and Native American ones as well.20 Later, in A Geographical Historie of Africa (1600), Johannes Leo Africanus continued these stereotypes when discussing the very continent on which he was born. He claimed that Africa possessed: [G]reat numbers of people, which lived in brutish and savage life, without any king, governour, common wealth, or knowledge of husbandrie. Clad they were in skin of beasts, neither had they any peculiar wives: in day time they kept their cattell; and when night came they resorted to ten or twelve both men and women into one cottage together, using hairie skins in stead of beds, and each man choosing his leman.21 According to Africanus the men and women were both savage in behaviour and appearance, and their sexual relationships were uncontrolled and animal like. These depictions of African promiscuity and the growing exposure to actual Africans due to the slave trade were the source of increased social anxiety regarding interactions and possible sexual mingling. Making a non-traditional sexual desire monstrous is a way to contain it, a theme or tendency that is also repeated with the conflation of homosexual desire and paedophilia as discussed by Sergio Juárez in his chapter.22 Furthermore, the belief that Africans were destined for servitude made their sexual conquest an enactment of colonial dominance, or as claimed by Theo Goldberg: European and Christian identity is increasingly expressed in terms of masculinity, its superiority and power are described and comprehended as the penetration, rape, and husbanding of an inferior and feminized race.23 The continuance of medieval ideas about the African libido, the concern about forbidden sexuality, and the desire for colonial domination then created the setting

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__________________________________________________________________ for many literary works, such as The Tempest and Titus Andronicus, to examine the nature and repercussions of these illicit unions. Aaron’s appearance, therefore, firmly establishes him as part of the threatening African other who must be kept in servitude in order to mitigate his physical and sexual threat. Aaron is deeply concerned with his status – which seems to be rather ambiguously not quite a slave but not quite free either – and with demonstrating that he is not bound by social beliefs or conventions. When Aaron first speaks, he immediately reveals his hopes to ‘mount aloft with [his] imperial mistress’24 as she assumes her new role as Empress of Rome. However, even as he imagines himself as co-ruler or even holding Tamora in ‘amorous chains,’25 he must constantly remind himself not to think in terms of slavery. He tells himself: ‘Away with slavish weeds and servile thoughts! / I will be bright, and shine in pearl and gold, / To wait upon this new-made empress. / To wait, said I? To wanton with this queen.’26 Aaron does not intend to stay in the servile position that he is expected to fulfil, but instead he intends to conquer Tamora sexually, thus outwardly fulfilling stereotypes about lustful African men while also demonstrating that it is not lust, but rather ambition that drives him. However, while Aaron is quick to use his sexuality as a weapon, he relies more on his mind than on his body to achieve his villainous intentions, and he is quick to demonstrate that appearances are not always true indicators of personality. Rather than being lustful, Aaron proudly reminds the fair skinned Tamora that ‘Venus govern[s her] desires’ while ‘Saturn is dominator over [his].’27 In contrasting Tamora’s amorous temperament with his own cold one, he simultaneously implies that Tamora is sinful and unnatural for being a married woman actively pursuing a black man, and he casts aside the standard expectations of behaviour for someone with black skin. This, however, does not mean that he is uninterested in sex with Tamora, but rather that he is driven by the desire for revenge instead of physical pleasure: ‘No, madam, these are no venereal signs. / Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand, / Blood and revenge are hammering in my head.’28 He seeks Tamora’s bed not out of lust, but out of a desire for revenge against the society that has oppressed him. Despite the fact that he is not driven by lust, by sleeping with Tamora, who is both a white European and the new Empress of Rome, Aaron fulfils one of the classic roles of a monster as described by Jeffrey Jerome Cohen; Aaron is ‘the political-cultural monster, the embodiment of radical difference, [who] paradoxically threatens to erase difference in the world of its creators.’29 His black skin reminds the audience that he is different while his sexual liaisons with Tamora create a mixed race child that defies easy classification as either white or black. Aaron’s sexual desire for a white woman is presented as both forbidden and monstrous since it threatens to break down social taboos. In the Renaissance, there was already anxiety about erasing the barrier between races and classes, and this was exacerbated by the traditional belief that the father was primarily responsible

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__________________________________________________________________ for the creation of a child. Thus there was not generally a fear of black women because: the orthodox discourse about gender still works to contain the problem of color dominance within the black man – white woman paradigm: that a white woman married to a black man should bear a son who replicates the father actually fulfils the deepest patriarchal fantasy of male parthenogenesis […] in which women were imagined primarily as receptacles for male seed.30 The idea of a black man and a white woman troubled the early modern mind because, not only does it represent the conquest of white by black (the male always being perceived as the conqueror unless he is unnaturally unmanned) but the offspring of such a union are largely assumed to be black, indicating a darkening of the white bloodline. Stories about black men and white women therefore both affirm male dominance in any sexual encounter (since the black male is depicted fathering black children) and create anxiety about interracial mingling. In medieval romances such as The King of Tars (c. 1330) this problem could be solved by the dark skinned father’s conversion to Christianity, which would often cause his literal whitening and admittance into the white Christian society; however, as stories of miraculous whitening became unbelievable, black male/white female relationships became more problematic since conversion no longer solved the problem of race. The black male who would not be controlled became the subject of great sexual concern. Examples of aggressive and lustful black male characters occur with some frequency in Renaissance plays including Thomas Dekker’s Eleazer in Lust’s Dominion (1599) and George Peele’s Muly Mahamet in The Battle of Alcazar (1589). As claimed by Eldred Jones, these characters ‘were usually embodiments of villainy, needing no elaborate psychological reason for their character; they were bad because they were black.’31 Their skin clearly displayed their ill intentions, and they posed a threat to both the social and sexual order. Like many of his contemporaries, Shakespeare also utilizes the expected patterns of physical and sexual aggression for African male behaviour and depicts a series of characters, including Aaron, who either fulfil these expectations or fall victim to them.32 Of Aaron and Caliban, Aaron is the more effective at directly challenging the social order through sex. While Caliban angrily claims that if he hadn’t been prevented he would have ‘peopled else / This isle with Calibans,’33 Aaron succeeds in seducing the Empress and producing a mixed race child. When Tamora gives birth, the nurse describes the child as ‘loathsome as a toad / Amongst the fair faced breeders or our clime / The Empress sends it thee, thy stamp, thy seal.’34 Then,

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__________________________________________________________________ Aaron not only makes a claim for the superiority of black skin, but he points out that the baby has already broken racial boundaries in its combination of black skin and white blood: Look how the black slave smiles upon the father As who should say ‘Old lad I am thine own.’ He is your brother, lords, sensibly fed Of that self blood that first gave life to you, And from that womb where you imprisoned were He is enfranchisèd and come to light. Nay he is your brother by the surer side, Although my seal be stampèd in his face.35 Aaron is most humanized when holding his child, but he also frequently reminds the audience that the child is a threat to the established social order. Aaron describes the child as a slave, and he imagines that the womb, which imprisoned Tamora’s white sons, enfranchised his black son. He also reminds the audience that the identity of the child’s mother is certain since she gave birth (‘the surer side’), but his ‘seal be stampèd’ in the form of the child’s blackness, which reaffirms the period belief that children will look like their fathers. Aaron’s black features are dominant, but the child’s white mother promises him the ability to claim a higher social station. Although Aaron attempts to disrupt the social order by fathering a black child with the Empress, his threat is actually lessened by the fact that the child’s paternity is so clearly ‘stampèd’ by their shared skin colour. Aaron’s son can never pass as the son of the Emperor and will therefore never be a true threat to the social order. In this case, visual difference does act as an indicator of station/parentage and preserves the imperial bloodline; however, Shakespeare immediately complicates this idea with Aaron’s next plan. Although Aaron’s dark skinned child must be hidden and cannot take the throne of Rome itself, Aaron still attempts to threaten the Roman succession by replacing his child with the child of one of his countrymen. He tells Chiron and Demetrius that his countryman Muletius has just become a father and, despite expectations that children will look like their fathers, ‘his child is like to [its mother], fair as you are.’36 Aaron intends for them to swap out this fair skinned child for his own and ‘by this [Muletius’] child shall be advanc’d, / And be received for the Emperor’s heir.’37 Aaron thereby replaces the threat of his own black son becoming Emperor with an equally severe, yet more plausible threat: that a child who is African but appears white could be substituted instead. The belief that children will carry the appearance of the father is comforting when trying to determine paternity (and contain monstrosity); Aaron threatens all of this by demonstrating that paternity, just like thoughts and intentions, cannot be so easily seen.

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__________________________________________________________________ As demonstrated by his attempt to disrupt the imperial succession through his plotting rather than his own offspring, Aaron is most threatening not in his physical body but in his ability to manipulate others into carrying out his schemes. Although Aaron is able to reproduce sexually, and even to threaten the succession, he is most adept at reproducing verbally by convincing others to behave monstrously as well; he is a monster who can reproduce in unforeseen ways. Early in the play, Aaron buries a bag of gold, setting in motion his plan to frame Titus’ sons for murder, and as he does this he proudly muses that even if he were witnessed, no one could truly interpret his intention and that he will use their belief that he is subservient against them: He that had wit would think that I had none, To bury so much gold under a tree, And never after to inherit it. Let him that thinks of me so abjectly Know that this gold must coin a stratagem, Which cunningly effected will beget A very excellent piece of villainy.38 Aaron, therefore, threatens to reproduce both physically, by begetting a child, and mentally, by begetting villainy. Unlike a lustful or physically violent period African stereotype, Aaron is dangerous precisely because he recognizes what others think about him. He then takes advantage of these misassumptions and uses his superior wit and skill with language to manipulate others to his villainous purpose. A purely physical monster would be a more direct and easily fought threat, but Aaron subverts expectations and uses his intelligence and knowledge as a weapon to turn others into monsters as well. One reason that Aaron is so adept at manipulating the other characters is that he appears to be strikingly well read, and from the early scenes he uses his knowledge to instruct and influence those around him. Although it is Chiron and Demetrius who carry out Lavinia’s brutal rape and dismemberment, it is Aaron who gives them the idea that rather than fighting over who should have her, they can use guile to take her from her husband: ‘Tis policy and stratagem must do That you affect, and so must you resolve, That what you cannot as you would achieve You must perforce accomplish as you may. Take this of me: Lucrece was not more chaste Than this Lavinia, Bassianus’ love.39

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__________________________________________________________________ Like a good schoolmaster, Aaron instructs the boys to copy an example from Roman history, but this example teaches rape rather than virtue. As argued by Vernon Gay Dickson, ‘the play enacts emulative self-fashioning as resulting in monstrous characters, decisions, and texts that are fragmented, partial and even horrid’;40 the boys model themselves off of Aaron’s corrupted versions of Ovid and thus become monstrous. Aaron then demonstrates his knowledge again when he draws on Ovid and tells Tamora that ‘This is the day of doom for Bassianus: / His Philomel must lose her tongue to-day.’41 Thus Aaron teaches the Goths not only how to imitate the classical Roman stories, such as Tarquin’s rape of Lucrece and Ovid’s tale of how Tereus raped Philomela and cut out her tongue, but he also teaches them how to outdo the original villains and to escape punishment for their crimes. They do not make Tereus’ mistake of leaving the victim with her hands to communicate. In this ability to teach others to be monstrous, Aaron is at his most threatening. He is capable of reproducing sexually, but he can create more monsters in his image through his infectious speech and lessons than through his physical body. Marcus reads the mark of a ‘craftier Tereus’ on Lavinia’s ‘lopp’d and hew’d’ body,42 but although her mutilated body reveals Aaron’s inspiration, it does not reveal his identity. Aaron is careful not to be too personally involved in the actual crimes, and instead he convinces Chiron and Demetrius to follow his lesson exactly when they maim Lavinia and hide Bassianus’ body in ‘the hole where Aaron bid us hide him.’43 In fact, Aaron is such an effective teacher that no one else can overrule his horrible lessons. Before she is raped, Lavinia cries out in vain ‘O, let me teach thee!’44 begging the boys to learn sympathy from her; however, they already have fashioned themselves according to Aaron’s teaching and her new lessons fall on deaf ears. The danger posed by Aaron then stems almost entirely from his speech; his appearance is a marker of difference, but Aaron actively chooses to behave monstrously and to encourage others, no matter their appearance, to behave monstrously as well. Aside from stabbing the nurse, Aaron does not commit any other direct acts of violence in what is a notably violent play. However, he excels at convincing others to commit violent acts for him, and he even convinces Titus to mutilate himself. When Saturninus condemns two of Titus’ sons for the murder of Bassianus, Aaron convinces Titus that the emperor will relent if Titus sacrifices one of his hands in exchange. Titus willingly agrees and even asks Aaron for help in cutting the hand off, exclaiming ‘O gentle Aaron! / Did ever raven sing so like a lark / that gives such sweet tidings of the sun’s uprise?’45 Aaron adeptly manipulates Titus with good news so that Titus overlooks Aaron’s appearance and forgoes any doubt about Aaron’s promises. However, Aaron draws attention yet again to his appearance and glories in the idea that he will make his corrupted soul match his dark skin, and he says to himself: ‘Let fools do good, and fair men call for grace, / Aaron will have his soul black like his face.’46 Aaron’s skin colour,

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__________________________________________________________________ therefore, is not only a marker of his physical difference; by his own admission, he seeks to make his soul match the blackness of his skin. Aaron does not seem to believe that his appearance means that he must be monstrous, but he chooses to be evil and to get revenge for his position beneath the Romans and Goths. Aaron’s ability to manipulate others through speech is perhaps best displayed after he is captured by Lucius, a scene in which Aaron once again uses his mind and voice to invert the expected power dynamic. Lucius wants to physically revenge the Andronicii on Aaron by killing both Aaron and his son; however, rather than just killing Aaron quickly, Lucius makes him climb a ladder so that he can be hanged, an act which draws out the execution and also gives Aaron a high vantage point from which to speak. The ladder thereby acts like a pulpit or stage, allowing Aaron to display his physical body and to clearly address both the crowd of soldiers and the theatre audience. Aaron then takes full advantage of this platform, and within his first few lines he manages to manipulate Lucius so that he will be allowed to continue speaking and his child will be spared: AARON: Lucius, save the child And bear it from me to the Emperess. If thou do this, I’ll show thee wondrous things, Which highly may advantage thee to hear. If thou wilt not, befall what may befall, I’ll speak no more but ‘Vengeance rot you all!’ LUCIUS: Say on, and if it please me which thou speak’st Thy child shall live.47 Aaron not only wagers his child’s life on the power of his speech, but he also makes an implicit claim for the power of words. In her article on the play, Molly Easo Smith claims that ‘Aaron’s eagerness to talk about his misdeeds reveals his primary goal hereafter in the play, namely, to inflict psychological torment on his hearers by recounting their vulnerability to his villainies.’48 Aaron certainly does enjoy using his words to psychologically wound people, yet the meaning of Aaron’s words goes further than wanting to injure people through just hearing about his villainies. With his promise that by speaking he will ‘show thee wondrous things,’ Aaron is at least implicitly making a claim that hearing something is equivalent to being shown something, a claim that is surprisingly similar to Sidney’s claim that the poet can ‘show’ both good and bad examples. 49 But then Aaron goes even further, and as he gleefully recites his many villainies, he equates speaking about villainy to the act itself: Even now I curse the day—and yet I think Few come within the compass of my curse Wherein I did not some notorious ill:

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__________________________________________________________________ As kill a man, or else devise his death, Ravish a maid, or plot the way to do it, Accuse some innocent, and forswear myself, Set deadly enmity between two friends.50 For Aaron, ‘the compass of his curse’ is as dangerous as being within reach of his hands, and when given the chance to speak he can do far worse than causing people to feel sorrow; he can set in motion the horrible events themselves. When Lucius can finally listen to no more, he orders Aaron taken down from the scaffold for a worse death, but even then Aaron will not stop speaking and tells Lucius, ‘would I were a devil, / To live and burn in everlasting fire, / So I might have your company in hell, / But to torment you with my bitter tongue.’51 Aaron does not imagine tormenting Lucius physically, but rather he imagines his words as the worst torment that he could inflict. Lucius eventually has Aaron gagged so that he cannot keep speaking from the scaffold, but ironically, when it comes time to execute Aaron, he presents him with one final stage from which to display his wicked tongue. In the final moments of the play, Lucius commands that his soldiers ‘Set [Aaron] breast-deep in earth and famish him, / There let him stand and rave and cry for food.’52 This, however, actually allows Aaron to be the final spectacle of the performance as he is buried up to his neck on stage. Furthermore, as claimed by Molly Easo Smith, the image of Aaron’s head sticking above the ground further demonstrates how effective he has been in making Rome headless through his systematic destruction of both the royal family and bloodline.53 Lucius attempts to create a ‘spectacle of royal power and authority,’54 but instead he gives Aaron a final chance to mock him: ‘Ah, why should wrath be mute and fury dumb? / I am no baby I, that with base prayers / I should repent the evils I have done.’55 At the end of the play, Aaron is still on the stage, and although his body has been restrained, he is able to speak and to use his voice as a weapon. Language, a hallmark of civilization that often distinguishes man from both beast and monsters, is now a tool to corrupt and undermine supposedly civilized people. Aaron is punished for his crimes, but Shakespeare denies his audience an ending that would remove this threat from sight and instead leaves Aaron on stage demonstrating that the unseen threat of monstrous intentions and language are both more dangerous and more difficult to conquer than the monstrous body itself. Aaron’s blackness is a visual marker of his monstrous intentions, but evil intentions cannot always be so easily seen. Aaron will die, but he has already reproduced himself both physically in his son and mentally in those that have committed monstrous acts at his urging. 3. Caliban and the Monster Inside While Aaron’s blackness is his only physical difference and his true monstrosity is his ability to manipulate and corrupt through language, Caliban

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__________________________________________________________________ appears to be the opposite: his physical body is monstrous and his ability to manipulate through language is limited. Yet, despite Caliban’s lesser ability with language and his monstrous physical body, he can still be read as a lesson about man’s potential to become monstrous through language. Although the text allows for a great deal of interpretation about Caliban’s appearance, and depictions of Caliban have varied from performance to performance, his monstrous difference from the other characters is clear the first time that the audience sees him on the stage. The fools Stephano and Trinculo repeatedly remind the audience of his appearance, calling him many names including a ‘strange fish,’56 a ‘puppy-headed monster,’57 and a ‘moon-calf.’58 Literary critics frequently read Caliban as a monstrous representation of New World peoples, but this overlooks the fact that Caliban is of African descent instead of being a true native islander (he was born on the island after his pregnant mother was marooned there). Shakespeare, in fact, twice identifies Caliban’s mother Sycorax as from Algiers: PROSPERO: …Where was [Sycorax] born? Speak, tell me! ARIEL: Sir, in Algiers. PROSPERO: O’ Was she so! I must Once in a month recount what thou hast been, Which thou forget’st. This damned witch Sycorax, For mischiefs manifold and sorceries terrible To enter human hearing, from Algiers.59 Prospero does not bring this up in passing but rather places a great deal of emphasis on the fact that she was Algerian, perhaps because Algiers was also the homeport of the Barbary corsairs, a group of pirates notorious from the sixteenth century to the nineteenth century for capturing and selling Christians into slavery in Africa and the Middle East. This emphasis seems to indicate that not only is Caliban of African descent, but that his mother is also from an area where Africans challenge European superiority, just as Caliban’s presence on the island challenges Prospero’s superiority. Despite his African heritage, Caliban is never specifically described as black, but Prospero does say that Caliban was ‘got by the devil himself / Upon thy wicked dam,’60 and the devil is commonly depicted as black (a descriptor used with Aaron as well). Prospero also calls Caliban a ‘freckled whelp,’61 a term which could mean spotted or dappled, perhaps hinting that Caliban is of mixed race.62 In his African parentage and monstrous form, Caliban can be linked to medieval depictions of Africans as monsters. For example, in his first century work The Natural History, Pliny the Elder claims that: It is not at all surprising that towards the extremity of [Ethiopia] the men and animals assume monstrous form, when we consider

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__________________________________________________________________ the changeableness and volubility of fire, the heat of which is the great agent in imparting various forms and shapes to the bodies.63 But, as discussed regarding Aaron, the type of monstrosity attributed to Africans necessarily began to change in the late medieval period due to ‘increasing contact with peoples geographically, culturally, and seemingly, physically different from people of familiar form. Over time then the Plinian categories grew increasingly empty.’64 By giving Caliban a monstrous appearance and African parentage, Shakespeare may be drawing, at least in part, on this older tradition of depicting Africans as monstrous, even though this tradition had largely been dropped by his contemporaries and even by Shakespeare himself in his other depictions of Africans. However, despite Caliban’s definite African heritage and his possible links to medieval depictions of monstrous African peoples, his appearance is uniquely monstrous and Shakespeare may be drawing on the Renaissance popularity of depictions of monstrous single births rather than the older depictions of monstrous races. Prospero describes Caliban not as a native islander or a displaced African, but instead he portrays Caliban in terms of an animal or monster: ‘Then was this island / (save for the son that [she] did litter here, / A freckled-whelp, hag-born) not honor’d with / A human shape.’65 Caliban’s mother is a witch and a hag, but she is presumably human; however, Caliban’s appearance is so far out of the norm for humans that Prospero does not count him as a human resident of the island. Furthermore, because he has a human mother, Caliban is not a standard member of a monstrous race, but he is rather the product of a monstrous birth. There is no indication that his mother looked out of the ordinary, and although Prospero claims that Caliban was ‘got by the devil himself,’ Prospero never actually saw Caliban’s father.66 Caliban’s father might have been the devil, but neither Prospero nor the audience actually knows. No matter who his father is, Caliban’s appearance is unique to himself, and his status as a monstrous birth necessitates a different analytical approach than if Caliban were solely derived from either a monstrous race or period perceptions about Africans in general. In their work on monstrous births and prodigies in the medieval and early modern periods, Lorraine Daston and Katherine Parks discuss how monstrous races were typically viewed as part of the wonder and diversity of God’s creation, and that these groups symbolize man’s various vices and sins, thus the black skin of Africans could be read as warnings about lust or distemper; however, ‘monstrous individuals, portents, and prodigies […] were rarely read allegorically and were treated not as symbols but as signs.’67 According to common medieval and Renaissance beliefs, ‘temporary deviations from the natural order […] were deliberate messages, fashioned by God to communicate his pleasure or (much more frequently) his displeasure with particular actions or situations.’68 A Renaissance audience would not only have read Caliban as a lustful or intemperate African, but they would also have expected

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__________________________________________________________________ to read some specific meaning into Caliban’s existence. He is not just an African or colonial native figure; his very uniqueness means that his physical body is also meant to be read as a message from God or at least a more direct commentary on the sins of those around him. However, like other monstrous births, the message contained in his monstrous form is not immediately clear and must be interpreted through his behaviours and interactions with the other characters. Despite his monstrous appearance, Miranda and Prospero do try to teach Caliban their language and culture, which at least acknowledges his potential humanity. This also indicates that they do not blame Caliban for his monstrous form, which fits with the fact that ‘Christians usually interpreted monsters as signalling not individual but collective sin; it is for this reason that they rarely blamed the monster’s parents, still less the monster itself.’69 Miranda and Prospero do not seem interested in interpreting the meanings of Caliban’s form, but they do attempt to educate him, and at least in their minds, they treat him kindly. Caliban looks like a monster but is at least part human; he therefore should possess some human nature or goodness and is deserving of some kindness. However, when Caliban rebels and attempts to rape Miranda, both Miranda and Prospero immediately connect his wicked behaviour with his monstrous appearance and blame his form for their failure to civilize him. For Miranda, Caliban’s ugly appearance cannot be imprinted with goodness; he is already set as wicked and an ‘Abhorred slave / Which any print of goodness will not take.’70 Prospero also comments on Caliban’s appearance, but he goes further and directly connects Caliban’s monstrous appearance with his monstrous thinking: ‘And as with age [Caliban’s] body uglier grows, / So his mind cankers.’71 Jen Baker notes in her chapter that Victorian sexologists ‘such as Krafft-Ebbing, and his English counterpart, Havelock Ellis, often imply that sexual perversions were fundamentally “written on the body”,’72 and in these moments Prospero and Miranda assume much the same connection between Caliban’s body and his desire to commit rape. The other characters read Caliban’s appearance as an outward show of his corrupted nature, and this helps them to disregard any lesson his body might signify for them. Just as the Spartans of 300 discussed by Carlo Comanducci cannot see their own internal monstrosity because they believe that their natural strength and beauty signifies their superiority to monsters,73 the human characters in The Tempest cannot see their own potential or inner monstrosity when they compare themselves to Caliban’s physical monstrosity. He does not look like them, so they cannot see what lesson his monstrous form might signify. They naturalize his position as a slave and monster, thereby separating themselves mentally and physically from him. Despite his monstrous appearance, Caliban is not particularly physically threatening, a fact that is demonstrated by his inability to intimidate Prospero or to rape Miranda and populate ‘the isle with Calibans.’74 Instead, Caliban’s threat, both physical and to the social order, is tied to his use (or mis-use) of language,

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__________________________________________________________________ which threatens to both reveal and inspire monstrosity in the other characters. However, Caliban’s monstrous physical difference distracts the other characters, specifically Prospero, from seeing how their own actions might be monstrous as well; they expect monstrous behaviour from one who looks monstrous. However, this expectation is both demonstrated and challenged by the characters’ varying relationships with language and community. Language and appearance are often paired in this play, and just as the other characters see Caliban’s monstrous appearance as an indicator of moral corruption, they also frequently connect beautiful form with the civilized use of language; the character with a monstrous form rejects civilized language and the beautiful characters embrace it. Miranda delights in the ‘brave form’ of Ferdinand,75 and he also thinks she is beautiful. Then, his pleasure is furthered when he realizes that she also speaks his language: ‘My language? heavens! / I am the best of them that speak this speech, / Were I but where ’tis spoken.’76 Miranda’s appearance first marked her out for Ferdinand’s attention, but her ability to speak his civilized language demonstrates that she too is a civilized person and a potential equal. In contrast to the beautiful Miranda and Ferdinand sharing a native language, the monstrous Caliban must be taught civilized language. In fact, with the exception of Trinculo and Stephano, the other characters comment on Caliban’s rejection of language nearly as much as his appearance. Caliban even admits to his disdain for language, and when Prospero calls to him, Caliban complains that: When thou cam’s first, Thou stroks’t me and made much of me, wouldst give me Water with berries in’t, and teach me how To name the bigger light, and how the less, That burn by day and night; and then I lov’d thee And show’d thee all the qualities o’ th’ isle, The fresh springs, brine pits, barren places and fertile, Curs’d be I that did so!77 Caliban showed the recently marooned Prospero and Miranda all of the secrets of the island, thus allowing them to survive, and in exchange he received language, which he considers to be a far inferior gift. He complains to them that ‘You taught me language, and my profit on’t / Is, I know how to curse. The red plague rid you / for learning me your language!’78 Caliban believes that the gift was useless because it did not allow him to maintain control of the island; he can only ineffectually curse at Miranda and Prospero, which allows him to vent his anger but little else. This is far different from Aaron who believes that his own power exists within the ‘compass of his curse.’79 Where Caliban fails is that, unlike Aaron, he does not realize that magic is not the only type of language that can be powerful. He claims to reject what he views

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__________________________________________________________________ as useless language, and instead he seeks for magical language that will allow him to gain power. Yet, even as he rejects language, he uses it to convince Stephano and Trinculo to attempt to overthrow Prospero. Caliban speaks submissively to Stephano and Trinculo and then uses their trust and belief in their superiority over him to convince them to steal Prospero’s book, telling them that they must ‘first possess [Prospero’s] books’80 before they can defeat him. Although Caliban does not possess the verbal skills that Aaron does, he realizes that Prospero’s power comes from the words in books, even if his own cursing has been ineffectual. However, these inept and comical attempts to gain Prospero’s magic are doomed to failure, and Trinculo’s repeated call for the others to ‘kiss the book,’ in this case meaning to kiss and swear on a bottle of wine rather than the Bible, further emphasizes their inability to take any language (even that of the Bible) seriously.81 Caliban’s failure to understand the value of social language is particularly noticeable since Miranda berates him in an earlier scene for throwing away such a valuable gift. She tells him: I pitied thee, Took pains to make thee speak, taught thee each hour One thing or other. When thou dids’t not, savage, Know thine own meaning, but wouldst gabble like A thing most brutish, I endow’d thy purposes With words that made them known.82 Miranda calls Caliban a savage not because of how he looks, but because of his refusal to recognize the importance of language. Language allows a person to know ‘thine own meaning’ and it is a trait of a ‘savage’ to ‘gabble’ and to reject civilized language. Furthermore, Miranda explicitly connects ‘purposes / With words,’ making a claim not unlike Aaron’s that words are as powerful as deeds. The ability to speak with others and to even convince them of your ideas is a great gift. The play, therefore, contrasts the monstrous looking Caliban, who rejects both human community and language, with the beautiful Miranda and Ferdinand, who embrace language as both powerful and a communal force. However, in addition to the contrast between Miranda and Caliban, Shakespeare presents an additional commentary on the monstrous potential of language and the humans who speak it in the contrast and similarity between Caliban and Prospero. Caliban rejects the communal aspects of language and desires to only know magical language so that he can conquer the island, but this is expected and even forgivable due to his monstrous form; however, Prospero, who looks normal, committed a similar rejection of all but magical language when he was in Milan. Prospero used his love of study and books to gain power over Caliban and the island, yet Prospero’s magic and love of books were the reason that he lost his dukedom. Prospero tells

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__________________________________________________________________ Miranda how as he became more engrossed in his studies, his brother Antonio took over more and more power as the acting Duke of Milan. He admits to Miranda that all he wanted to do was to read and ‘The government I cast upon my brother, / And to my state grew stranger, being transported / and rapt in secret studies.’83 Prospero blames his brother for taking the dukedom from him, and Antonio is certainly guilty of this crime, but Prospero also admits that his ‘library / Was dukedom large enough.’84 Prospero is so focused on the words in books that he forgets the outside world until he almost loses everything. He studies words, but he forgets to use them to rule and to stay in power. Prospero’s scheming brother Antonio, however, recognizes his brother’s weakness and then uses his own words to manipulate the situation and to seize power. Thus, in Prospero’s scheming brother Antonio, Shakespeare again demonstrates the power of words to inspire villainy and to be used toward a monstrous end, but in a way that is much more effective than anything that Caliban (or Aaron) can achieve. When Prospero is distracted with the words in books, Antonio sees this opportunity to seize power and it ‘awak’d an evil nature,’85 in him so that he convinced himself and others that he should be Duke instead: Like one Who having into truth, by telling of it, Made such a sinner of his memory To credit his own lie — he did believe He was indeed the Duke, out o’ th’ substitution, And executing the outward face of royalty.86 Antonio becomes so used to acting like the Duke in his brother’s absence that he finally convinces himself that he is the legitimate Duke. He is able to make his own memory into a ‘sinner’ in order to convince himself of what he wants to be true. He is then able to convince the King of Naples to join his cause and to oust Prospero. For Antonio, truth gives way to self-delusion and monstrous desire, and, like Aaron, he is able to use his understanding of persuasion and manipulation to convince others to join his monstrous cause. Therefore, in Prospero and Antonio there are two different versions of monstrous language. Antonio is skilled at manipulating language for his own devious purposes, but Prospero, like Caliban, has no time for common language, and so he loses the ability to rule his Dukedom (just as Caliban lost the ability to rule his own island). Prospero, however, does eventually realize that he has neglected society for too long in favour of his magical books. In the final scene of the play, Prospero conjures a magic circle in which everyone stands charmed while he reveals himself to his treacherous brother and the King of Naples. But, even as he uses his magic to regain his temporal power, he declares that he will give up on magic forever after:

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__________________________________________________________________ But this rough magic I here abjure; and when I have requir’d Some heavenly music (which even now I do) To work mine own end upon their senses that This airy charm is for, I’ll break my staff, Bury it certain fadoms in the earth, And deeper than did ever plummet sound I’ll drown my book.87 He recognizes that in order to re-join society off the island, he must put aside the obsession with books and magic that got him exiled in the first place. His magical words are a tool that he will use one more time and then he will cast them away. The play, therefore, presents the extremes of how language and display can be used and shows the ways that men can lose the civilizing force of language and become like monsters. Just as Prospero disregarded common language and society in order to focus on his magical books, thus losing his Dukedom to the verbally manipulative Antonio, Caliban also rejects civilized, social interactions and language in favour of seeking only language that he believes will bring him power. Caliban, therefore, becomes a doppleganger and warning for both Prospero and the audience, since Caliban’s monstrous form visually depicts the monstrous potential within man. Caliban, Prospero, and Antonio all demonstrate that no matter their outward appearance, anyone is capable of misusing the supposedly human and civilizing force of language. In both his physical form and actions, Caliban reveals that words and social language have power and should not be discounted because they do, in fact, elevate us above the brutish beasts. Prospero even recognizes that Caliban represents the corrupt potential within himself when he tells the others ‘this thing of darkness I / Acknowledge mine.’88 Both Caliban and Prospero attempt to cast off the social order that they find useless or oppressive in favour of seeking magic or language that will give them control of the world around them; they have no time for social language but only for language that can give them power. Caliban is literally Prospero’s slave, but he is also a physical reminder of what can happen when language is abused and it is used to cause social upheaval rather than as a part of social interaction. Although they look different and use language differently, both Caliban and Aaron show the danger of manipulative language and its ability to reveal the hidden monster within seemingly human characters. Aaron demonstrates how language can be used to infect others with a monstrous idea and tear down social order, and Caliban shows the potential of man to become monstrous and barbarous by disregarding the social nature of language. In either case, their physical bodies mark them as different, but their minds and actions mark them as monstrous. The monster is no longer just an outside entity whose physical body must be feared, but an infectious presence that is perhaps best summarized by Michel de Montagne

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__________________________________________________________________ when he claims ‘I have seen no more evident monstrosity or miracle in the world than myself.’89 In these characters, Shakespeare demonstrates that language can both express and even awake monstrosity in man. Monstrous bodies can still be threats or warnings, but the true danger lies in the fact that just as language is simultaneously a civilizing and corrupting force, humans have within them a monstrous potential.

Notes William Shakespeare, The Tempest, The Riverside Shakespeare, 2nd Edition. ed. G. Blakemore Evans and J. J. M. Tobin (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1997), 2.2.28-31. 2 Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici, ed. L. C. Martin (London: Oxford University Press, 1964), 55. 3 Sir Philip Sidney, A Defense of Poesy, (Glasgow, 1752), 35. Gale Eighteenth Century Collections Online, viewed on 11 Jan. 2015 http://find.galegroup.com.proxycu.wrlc.org/ecco/infomark.do?&source=gale&prod Id=ECCO&userGroupName=wash31575&tabID=T001&docId=CW3310006289& type=multipage&contentSet=ECCOArticles&version=1.0&docLevel=FASCIMIL E. 4 William Rankin, A Mirror of Monsters, (London, 1587) Early English Books Online, viewed 10 October 2014, http://gateway.proquest.com.proxycu.wrlc.org/openurl?ctx_ver=Z39.882003&res_i d=xri:eebo&rft_id=xri:eebo:citation:99850856. 5 John Northbrooke, A Treatise, ed. Arthur Freeman (New York: Garland Publishing, 1974), 59-60. 6 William Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus, The Riverside Shakespeare, 2nd Edition. ed. G. Blakemore Evans and J.J.M. Tobin (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1997), 2.3.51. It should also be noted that the term ‘Moor’ could either be used to describe a dark skinned Middle Easterner or a black African during the Renaissance. 7 Ibid., 3.1.205. Other characters also frequently reference his black skin as well as his son’s. 8 Ibid., 2.3.34 9 For more on the way that black skin is depicted as monstrous and a mark of sinful behaviour in the Middle Ages see Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, ‘On Saracen Enjoyment: Some Fantasies of Race in Late Medieval France and England,’ Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 31, no. 1 (2001): 114-146; Mary FloydWilson, English Ethnicity and Race in Early Modern Drama (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003); and Irina Metzler, ‘Perceptions of Hot Climate in Medieval Cosmography and Travel Literature,’ Medieval Ethnographies: 1

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__________________________________________________________________ European Perceptions of the World Beyond, ed. Joan Pau Rubies (Surrey: Ashgate Publishing, 2009), 379-415. 10 For a more detailed discussion of the increasing presence of Africans in England see: Eldred Jones, The Elizabethan Image of Africa (The University Press of Virginia for The Folger Shakespeare Library, 1971), 15-21. 11 Floyd-Wilson, English Ethnicity and Race in Early Modern Drama, 10. 12 Ibid. 13 Caliban’s African descent will be discussed below. 14 Albertus Magnus, De Natura Loci, An Appraisal of the Geographical Works of Albertus Magnus and his Contributions to Geographical Thought, trans. Sister Jean Paul Tilmann (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1971), 101. 15 Interestingly there is some disagreement among writers as to what this effect would be. Albertus Magnus claimed that ‘Because of evaporation their hearts are made timid and cold having few humors,’ but this belief that black skin is associated with a timid nature becomes less common over time. 16 Translation found in Metzler, ‘Perceptions of Hot Climate,’ 77. 17 Jacques de Vitry, Libri duo, quorum prior orientalis, siue Hierosolymitanae, Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality, qtd and trans. John Boswell (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), 279: ‘in partibus Orientis, et maxime in calidis regionus bruti et luxuriosi homines, quibus austeritas Christianes religionis intolerabilis et importabilis videbateur,…viam que ducit ad mortem, facile sunt ingress.’ 18 Floyd-Wilson, English Ethnicity and Race in Early Modern Drama, 23. 19 Marco Polo, The Travels of Marco Polo the Venetian, ed. and trans. William Marsden (Garden City: Doubleday, 1948), 305. 20 Ania Loomba, Shakespeare, Race, and Colonialism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 43 and Jones, The Elizabethan Image of Africa, 10. Both of these texts contain more information on similarities between depictions of Irish, Africans, and Native Americans in Renaissance discourse. 21 Johannes Leo Africanus, A Geographical Historie of Africa, ed. and trans. John Pory (London: Eliot’s Court Press, 1600) Early English Books Online, viewed on 2 May 2012, http://gateway.proquest.com.proxycu.wrlc.org/openurl?ctx_ver=Z39.882003&res_id=xri:eebo&rft_id=xri:eebo:citation:99844139. 22 Sergio Fernando Juárez, ‘Association and Conflation of Gay Male Sexuality in Horror,’ in this volume. 23 Theo David Goldberg, Racist Culture: Philosophy and the Politics of Meaning (Cambridge: Blackwell Publishers, 1993), 31. 24 Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus, 2.1.13. 25 Ibid., 2.1.15. 26 Ibid., 18-21.

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__________________________________________________________________ 27 Ibid., 2.3.30-1. Being dominated by the planet Saturn was supposed to impart a cold or grim temperament. It is also interesting to note that the Emperor, Saturninus, is Tamora’s husband, so perhaps Aaron is making a claim to being like the Emperor. 28

Ibid., 2.3.37-39. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, ‘Monster Culture (Seven Theses),’ Monster Theory: Reading Culture, ed. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), 11. 29

30

Linda E. Boose, ‘‘The Getting of a Lawful Race’: Racial Discourse in Early Modern England and the Unrepresentable Black Woman,’ Women, ‘Race,’ and Writing in the Early Modern Period, ed. Margo Hendricks and Patricia Parker (London: Routledge, 1994), 45.

31

Jones, The Elizabethan Image of Africa, 48. Othello notably does not reflect any of these period stereotypes; however, many of the other characters such as Iago and Brabantio accuse him of possessing some of these negative traits. 32

33

Shakespeare, The Tempest, 1.2.353-4. Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus, 4.2.67-9. 35 Ibid., 4.2.119-26. 36 Ibid., 4.2.154. 37 Ibid., 4.2.157-8. 38 Ibid., 2.3.1-7. 39 Ibid., 2.1.104-7. 40 Vernon Guy Dickson, ‘“A pattern, precedent, and lively warrant”: Emulation, Rhetoric, and Cruel Propriety in Titus Andronicus,’ Renaissance Quarterly 62.2 (2009): 381. 34

41

Ibid., 2.3.42-3. Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus, 2.3.41; 2.3.17. 43 Ibid., 2.3.186. 44 Ibid., 2.3.158. 45 Ibid., 3.1.157-9. 46 Ibid., 3.1.204-5. 47 Ibid., 5.1.53-60 48 Molly Easo Smith, ‘Spectacles of Torment in Titus Andronicus’, in Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, 36.2 (1996): 323. 42

49

Sidney, A Defense of Poesy, 35. Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus, 5.1.125-131. 51 Ibid., 5.1.147-150. 52 Ibid., 5.3.179-180 53 Molly Easo Smith, ‘Spectacles of Torment in Titus Andronicus,’ 322 54 Ibid. 50

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__________________________________________________________________ 55

Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus, 5.3.184-186. William Shakespeare, The Tempest, 2.2.27. 57 Ibid., 2.2.154. 58 Ibid., 2.2.106. 59 Ibid., 1.2.261-7. 60 Shakespeare, The Tempest, 1.2.322-3. 61 Ibid., 1.2.285. 62 It should also be noted that in Shakespeare’s time, the word freckled could mean ‘marked with freckles’ similar to the modern sense, or it could mean mottled or dappled, possibly indicating that Caliban has multiple skin colors: ‘freckled, adj.,’ OED Online, Oxford University Press, viewed on 30 May 2012, http://www.oed.com.proxycu.wrlc.org/view/Entry/74365?redirectedFrom=freckled 63 Pliny the Elder, The Natural History of Pliny, trans. John Bostock (London: George Bell and Sons, 1890), 2:101. 64 Goldberg, Racist Culture, 23. 65 Shakespeare, The Tempest, 1.2.281-4. 66 Ibid., 1.2.322. 67 Lorraine Daston and Katherine Parks, Wonders and the Order of Nature (New York: Zone Books, 1998), 52. 68 Ibid. 69 Ibid., 181 70 Shakespeare, The Tempest, 1.2.352-3. 71 Ibid., 4.1.191-2., 72 Jen Baker, ‘Gothic Tales? Producing and Performing the Paedophile,’ in this volume. 73 Carlo Comanducci, ‘Full Metal Abs: The Obscene Spartan Supplement of Liberal Democracy,’ in this volume. 74 Shakespeare, The Tempest, 1.2.354. This moment is also interesting because even though Caliban is unique he imagines himself fathering a new monstrous race, a belief that falls in line with period beliefs about the father being the primary contributor to a child’s appearance. 75 Ibid., 1.2.412. 76 Ibid., 1.2.429-431. 77 Ibid., 1.2.332-336. 78 Ibid., 1.2.363-5 79 Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus, 5.1.126. 80 Shakespeare, The Tempest, 3.2.92. 81 Ibid., 2.2.130. 82 Ibid., 1.2.352-358. 83 Ibid., 1.2.75-77. 84 Ibid., 1.2.109-110. 56

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__________________________________________________________________ 85

Ibid., 1.2.93. Ibid., 1.2.99-104 87 Ibid., 5.1.50-57. 88 Ibid., 5.1.275-276. 89 Michel de Montaigne, ‘Of Cripples’, in The Complete Works, trans. Donald M. Frame (New York: Alfred Knopf, 2003), 958. 86

Bibliography Africanus, Johannes Leo. A Geographical Historie of Africa. Translated and edited by John Pory. London: Eliot’s Court Press, 1600. Early English Books Online. Viewed on 2 May 2012. http://gateway.proquest.com.proxycu.wrlc.org/openurl ?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2003&res_id=xri:eebo&rft_id=xri:eebo:citation:99844139. Boose, Linda E. ‘‘The Getting of a Lawful Race’: Racial Discourse in Early Modern England and the Unrepresentable Black Woman.’ Women, ‘Race,’ and Writing in the Early Modern Period, edited by Margo Hendricks and Patricia Parker. 35-54. London: Routledge, 1994. Browne, Sir Thomas. Religio Medici, edited by L.C. Martin. London: Oxford University Press, 1964. Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome. ‘Monster Culture (Seven Theses).’ Monster Theory: Reading Culture, edited by Jeffrey Jerome Cohen. 3-25. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996. Daston, Lorraine and Katherine Parks. Wonders and the Order of Nature. New York: Zone Books, 1998. Dickson, Vernon Guy. ‘“A Pattern, Precedent, and Lively Warrant”: Emulation, Rhetoric, and Cruel Propriety in Titus Andronicus.’ Renaissance Quarterly 62.2 (2009): 376-409. Floyd-Wilson, Mary. English Ethnicity and Race in Early Modern Drama. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. ‘freckled, adj.’ OED Online. Oxford University Press. Viewed on 30 May 2012. http://www.oed.com.proxycu.wrlc.org/view/Entry/74365?redirectedFrom=freckled Goldberg, Theo David. Racist Culture: Philosophy and the Politics of Meaning. Cambridge: Blackwell Publishers, 1993.

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__________________________________________________________________ Jones, Eldred. The Elizabethan Image of Africa. The University Press of Virginia for The Folger Shakespeare Library, 1971. Loomba, Ania. Shakespeare, Race, and Colonialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Magnus, Albertus. De Natura Loci, An Appraisal of the Geographical Works of Albertus Magnus and his Contributions to Geographical Thought. Translated by Sister Jean Paul Tilmann. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1971. de Montaigne, Michel. ‘Of Cripples.’ The Complete Works. Translated by Donald M. Frame. New York: Alfred Knopf, 2003. Metzler, Irina. ‘Perceptions of Hot Climate in Medieval Cosmography and Travel Literature.’ Medieval Ethnographies: European Perceptions of the World Beyond, edited by Joan Pau Rubies, 379-415. Surrey: Ashgate Publishing, 2009. Northbrooke, John. A Treatise, edited by Arthur Freeman. New York: Garland Publishing, 1974. Pliny the Elder. The Natural History of Pliny. Volume 2. Translated by John Bostock. London: George Bell and Sons, 1890. Polo, Marco. The Travels of Marco Polo the Venetian. Translated and edited by William Marsden. Garden City: Doubleday, 1948. Rankin, William. A Mirror of Monsters. London, 1587. Early English Books Online. Viewed 10 October 2014. http://gateway.proquest.com.proxycu.wrlc.org /openurl?ctx_ver=Z39.882003&res_id=xri:eebo&rft_id=xri:eebo:citation:9985085 6. Shakespeare, William. The Tempest, The Riverside Shakespeare, 2nd Edition, edited by G. Blakemore Evans and J.J.M. Tobin. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1997. ———. Titus Andronicus, The Riverside Shakespeare, 2nd Edition, edited by G. Blakemore Evans and J.J.M. Tobin. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1997.

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__________________________________________________________________ Sidney, Sir Philip. A Defense of Poesy. Glasgow, 1752: 35. Gale Eighteenth Century Collections Online. Viewed on 11 Jan. 2015 http://find.galegroup.com.proxycu.wrlc.org/ecco/infomark.do?&source=gale&prod Id=ECCO&userGroupName=wash31575&tabID=T001&docId=CW3310006289& type=multipage&contentSet=ECCOArticles&version=1.0&docLevel=FASCIMIL E. Smith, Molly Easo. ‘Spectacles of Torment in Titus Andronicus.’ Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 36.2 (1996): 315-331. de Vitry, Jacques. Libri duo, quorum prior orientalis, siue Hierosolymitanae, Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality. Translated and Quoted by John Boswell. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980. Kristen D. Wright is a PhD Candidate at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and she is currently working on her dissertation titled ‘A Monster Turned to Manly Shape’: Monstrosity on the Renaissance Stage. Her research interests include Renaissance drama and poetry, monsters, folklore, and travel literature.

Paedophilic Productions and Gothic Performances: Contending with Monstrous Identity Jen Baker Abstract When Richard von Krafft-Ebing coined the term paedophilia erotica in 1900, a villainous identity was created which, at the time, was considered akin to other deviancies such as homosexuality, gender inversion, and psychic hermaphroditism. Despite such classification being used as a means of social control, Foucault suggested that homosexuality found a way through its categorisation ‘to demand that its legitimacy or “naturality” be acknowledged.’1 The figure of the paedophile, however, is a taboo that has yet to, and may never, overcome monstrous identification in Western culture. Taking its cue from James Kincaid’s notion that through gothic narrative the media and social discourse perpetuate a perception of child abuse as a melodramatic mythos, this chapter examines, firstly, the interplay between fictional depictions of the paedophile and the gothic as well as in narratives that blur the boundary between fiction and non-fiction. Furthermore, this chapter questions whether a stable monstrous identity might be complicated when the narrative is relayed from the paedophile’s perspective. Examining the paedophile as a mythological creature which is produced and performed is not intended to deny the reality and trauma of cases of child sex abuse, but considers how the gothicisation of the figure becomes an overarching identity for all difficult relationships between adult and child. Nor does it deny the pre-history of the figure as the stranger that, as I show, possesses strong links with the gothic through its motifs. Using mainstream exemplary narratives from the inception of the paedophile to the current day, I analyse the role of these fictional narratives in complicating or affirming our perception of the paedophile in light of the growing reports of historical child abuse in the West, from the Church to the celebrity. Key Words: Paedophilia, gothic, sexology, Lolita, Vampires, Werewolves, Stranger Danger, childhood sexuality, identity politics. ***** 1. Introduction: Producing the Paedophile In his influential and controversial studies on the cultural sexualisation of the child (1992 and 1998), James Kincaid proposes that the paedophile in social discourse – the media coverage, the interviews with victims on chat shows, the political propaganda etc., – is a ‘gothic construction’ of Western societies. These institutions create ‘gothic melodramas, monster stories of child-molesting […] playing them out periodically,’ thus perpetuating a mythical narrative of child abuse.2 The effect is to prevent analysis and revision of the stories, attempting,

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__________________________________________________________________ detrimentally, to deny child sexuality and concurrently to project the blame for the sexualisation of the child outward. Kincaid sees each re-telling as ‘a story of nightmare, the literary territory of the Gothic’; yet he boldly proposes that like the gothic tale, the transgression, however distasteful, and the monster, however vile, is alluring in its mysteriousness.3 The following chapter considers how such a hypothesis translates back into the fictional constructions of the paedophile: taking a small sample of well-known depictions, both in fiction and where the cultural and fictional boundaries are blurred, I analyse both explicit and implicit employment of the gothic and consider what is achieved by the effect. Most particularly, this chapter is concerned with the production of the paedophile as a sexual identity and how this potentially problematizes the notion of the Queer Gothic. As suggested by Michael O’ Rourke and David Collings, amongst others, the Gothic and queer theory are interdependent, but is this dynamic all inclusive or potentially exclusive?4 In contemporary culture where does, and has, paedophilia – publically stigmatised as the most abhorrent of deviances – fit into this embrace of the transgressive and subversive? When, in 1886, German psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing published his medico-forensic study Psychopathia Sexualis, he distinguished and categorised patterns of sexual behaviour, which, although previously acknowledged and admonished, had not been scientifically and legally explained and classified. Amongst the various deviant individuals were cases depicting adults whose sexual practices included or concentrated on the abuse of very young children. The early editions of the study included a section on the ‘violation of sexually immature individuals’ by ‘debauchees’, but it was not until the twelfth edition in 1900 (republished as a medico-legal study) that Krafft-Ebing would coin the term paedophilia erotica.5 By describing a condition of sexual arousal in adults in which the object of desire is a child or children, and as the leading medico–legal textual authority on sexual pathology at the time, his assessment of transgressive desires created a specific category of deviancy. The study was therefore central to the production and perception of new socio-legal identities and the subsequent forging of a new social villain. Yet this villain would only assume its duplicitous role – both as the externalised paedophile, depicted in stranger danger campaigns and the child porn or sex slave industry; and the internalised paedophile, which was the result of not only the national recognition of incestuous/familial abuse, but the consensus that the state could interfere in the protection of the child – in the post Second World War period. As evidence from pre-twentieth century court records and newspapers show, this does not mean that, prior to the work of sexologists, practices that would retrospectively be labelled ‘paedophilic’ were approved of or ignored, but would often result in severe punishment.6 However, the specific identity of the paedophile is a product of attempts to control and regulate sexuality in the late nineteenth century.

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__________________________________________________________________ The medico-legal creation of the paedophile and its initiation into social discourse, much like the creation of the homosexual, created a universalising impression to the public that left little room for an understanding of desires that were apparently fuelled by feelings of love rather than by violent sexual power.7 Cases were consistently shown to be sinful and driven by evil, or at the least pitiful desires, whether or not the individual could be proved criminally insane, or despite a lack of violence in their behaviour and thoughts.8 Yet, even today, there is great disparity between the medical, the legal and the cultural definition of ‘paedophile.’9 There is, now, a clinical differentiation between those who are attracted to children and those who sexually abuse children, the latter being the circumstances for the official use of the term. In popular culture, however, the term is used for any situation in which an adult is deemed to display inappropriate attention to a child, though it is interesting to note that the word paedophile was not used by the mass media – one of the key perpetrators in producing disparaging depictions of the paedophile – until over seventy years after its coinage.10 The chapter ahead cannot be a story devoid of child sexuality, particularly because the production of the paedophile coincided with the regulation and manipulation of the discourse on the sexual habits and knowledge of the child, but so often the paedophilic narrative focuses only on the child. The following does not refute the interdependency between child sexuality and paedophilia, but concentrates specifically on the mythically monstrous figure identified either explicitly or implicitly as a molester, abuser, and sometimes an apparent ‘lover’ of children. It does so by glancing at various Western cultural narratives that produce and perform the figure of the paedophile as both victim and perpetrator, as vocal and marginalised, in order to identify consistencies and deviancies in the stories produced in public discourse. 2. Classification and Categorisation A. Producing a Monstrous Identity Far from ‘de-gothicising’ the figure, the medicalisation, and more particularly the psychologising of the figure of the paedophile, expanded the lexicon and imagery available for the gothic narrative. Initially it seems that Krafft-Ebing’s explicit descriptions of certain individuals and their perversions relayed in his psycho-sexual study are stilted by medical lexicon. His distinction between those with psychological compulsions and those who act during conditions of ‘mental weakness,’ such as inebriation, suggest little of the gothic and the ‘unspeakable’ in the secular tone. And yet, Krafft-Ebing’s inability to remain neutral in his analyses of ‘the most disgusting examples’ betrays glimpses of the melodramatic in his horror of the perverse; ‘[j]udgment of the act should ever be guided by the monstrosity and the degree in which it psychically and physically differs from the natural act.’11 An anonymous review of the work in 1893 suggested that it contained something of the obscene and that in their opinion it should at least be

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__________________________________________________________________ ‘unreadable,’ expressing ‘regret that the whole had not been written in Latin, and thus veiled in the decent obscurity of a dead language.’12 A year before the first edition, and thus fifteen years before the specific medical identity of the paedophile was created, English journalist William T. Stead penned a sensational exposé entitled The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon which was published in daily instalments in the Pall Mall Gazette in 1885. Reporting on the horrors of prostitution and the child sex-slave industry particularly, Stead declares the whole city to be complicit in this ‘monstrous evil’; ‘[t]he Home, the School, the Church, the Press are silent. The law is actually accessory to crime.’13 Although much of his work was based on factual evidence he had collected by visiting brothels and interviewing those involved, the hyperbolic language, poetic licence and even false means by which he sometimes acquired or produced information, are demonstrative of a bridge between the medical, cultural, and the fictional depictions of the child sex abuser. The first instalment begins by re-telling the Greek myth of the Minotaur in the Labyrinth. Though not the first to compare London to this topographical nightmare, Stead did, however, use its associations more accurately, comparing the child prostitutes of the city to the doomed Athenian sacrifices and the procurers of these children as monstrous minotaurs. He refers to the exploits as indicative of ‘London’s Lust’; it is not just the individual inhabitants, but the city itself which is a composite life-force plagued by perverse feelings. Stead evokes Dante’s Inferno, quoting a line from the moment in The Divine Comedy when Dante beholds Minos the Infernal Judge to emphasise the hellish landscape and punishments that the people endure.14 Edoardo Crisafulli explains that, despite the tumultuous history of critics attempting to classify Dante’s text, ‘[f]rom the 1750s onwards the majority of British critics described the Comedy as “gothic” [and] “sublime”,’ with Gothicism evoked as ‘another word for the barbarism or primitivism of Dante’s imagination’ whilst ‘[s]ublimity meant that the Comedy’s imagery could arouse powerful emotions in the reader.’15 Certainly in Stead’s appropriation there is an evident evocation of Dante’s text because of its own gothic reimagining of a classical myth and using the familiarity of his readership with the Comedy to incite the anger and pity that would provoke changes in law. What is, perhaps, more intriguing, is Stead’s differentiation between the sexual abuse of children by adults of their own class and those men of higher classes. Stead explains to his readers that all the girls he encountered in his investigations started out as prostitutes specifically at the age of thirteen (or at least professed to have been that age) because this is how the adults who sold them attempted to get around the laws at the time, though in fact ‘many children, […] are ruined before they are thirteen; but the crime is one phase of the incest which […] is inseparable from overcrowding.’16 Whilst incest is undeniably a preoccupation of traditional gothic, Stead is not concerned with lower-class familial paedophilia, which he sees as an inevitable consequence of the confined conditions of the poor. This form of

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__________________________________________________________________ paedophilia, it seems, does not emit the ‘decadence’ of perversity that Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick suggests is required by the social hierarchy of Victorian gothic. She states: creators of ideological meanings for the bourgeoisie were […] busily constructing a view of the social world in which the English class system was shaped like an Oedipal family, with the aristocracy acting the role of parents whose fate it was to be both overthrown and subsumed.17 Thus, although Stead is writing prior to Freud’s development of the Oedipus complex, he constructs a social narrative in which the lower classes are all children, naïvely and animalistically engaging in carnal copulation, whilst the aristocracy – who have portrayed themselves and simultaneously been characterised as the civilised hierarchical adults – have abandoned their duty of care and abused their position of power. The Maiden Tribute pays homage to traditional motifs of gothic literature: a tale full of intrigue, using a series of narratives which includes confessions and letters, and, specifically, contains the story of a girl who tried to flee her captors, which was an essential component of early gothic novels. It takes place in a dangerous and dark location, it includes innocence victimised by evil and sexual perversions, the pursuit of forbidden knowledge and power, and it contains the supposed hero (the English gentleman) who is transformed into the villain/monster through a corruptive, seductive influence.18 B. Monstrous Physiognomies Stead characterises the customers as men who have not put on in outward form “the inglorious likeness of a beast,” but are in semblance as other men, while within there is only the heart of a beast – bestial, ferocious, and filthy beyond the imagination of decent men.19 In doing so he pre-empts, by only half a year, Robert Louis Stevenson’s gothic tale of the divided-self, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886). Despite any explicit references, the lexicon of secrecy central to the novella has been interpreted by critics such as Elaine Showalter as a potential allusion to homosexuality; yet the publishing proximity between Stead and Stevenson’s texts means that the ‘undignified’ pleasures sought by Jekyll which ‘in the hands of Edward Hyde […] soon began to turn toward the monstrous,’ a ‘vicarious depravity,’ could just as easily be interpreted as, more specifically, paedophilia (whether homo- or heterosexual).20 The comparison of the paedophile to the

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__________________________________________________________________ masked Jekyll and Hyde type figure was borne out in scientific studies and remains a staple component of its fictional and cultural productions. Sexologists such as Krafft-Ebing, and his English counterpart, Havelock Ellis, often imply that sexual perversions were fundamentally written on the body; for instance of one patient Krafft-Ebing makes extensive description of his physical appearance: K. is an imbecile, and physically deformed, being scarcely 1.5 metres tall; cranium rachitic and hydrocephalic; teeth bad, furrowed, defective, and irregular. Large lips, idiotic expression, stuttering speech, and an awkward attitude complete the picture of psycho-physical degeneration.21 For Krafft-Ebing the male perpetrators are consistently ‘unmanly,’ ‘childish,’ and ‘imbecilic,’ though not the reflection of Jekyll, certainly a mirror of Hyde as beastly and strong; though this is arguably indicative of a type more likely to be accosted by the police than a composite of all child sex abusers. There are few fictional examples of what could be termed a physiognomic paedophile; perhaps the most notable can be found in the implicit representation of Freddie Kruger in his original incarnations and the more explicit depiction in the latest remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010). Pauline Greenhill and Steven Kohm suggest that Western cultural depictions of the figure varied across the twentieth-century in accordance with social preoccupations, but reflected status rather than physicality; from deranged psychopaths, to damaged deviants, to satanic groups and later corrupt authority figures, ‘the sexual predator expanded to include not only the shadowy stranger operating on playgrounds and schoolyards, but also the largely invisible everyman […] who could easily blend, unnoticed, into the background.’22 The representation of child sex offenders as externally normal figures is not, however, a product of the nineteenth century. Much earlier, under the umbrella term of the stranger, Charles Perrault’s Le Petit Chaperon Rouge (1697), the first literary transcription of the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, ends with the following explicit moral: Children, especially attractive, well bred young ladies, should never talk to strangers, for if they should do so, they may well provide dinner for a wolf. I say “wolf,” but there are various kinds of wolves. There are also those who are charming, quiet, polite, unassuming, complacent, and sweet, who pursue young women at home and in the streets. And unfortunately, it is these gentle wolves who are the most dangerous ones of all.23 Perrault’s work indicates that, despite preoccupations with physiognomy – the belief that the villainous intentions would be apparent in the physical features of

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__________________________________________________________________ the perpetrator – depictions that bordered the realms of fiction/culture propagated the notion that the majority of those who sexually abuse children don a mask of civility that cloaks evil within. 3. Monstrous Origins: Into the Woods Although the term paedophile, and thus the identity, is a product of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the fictional roots of the paedophile as gothic villain could arguably be traced back to the form of the stranger most recognisable in various renditions of the aforementioned ‘Little Red Riding Hood,’ a fairy tale which, despite often tangential associations, demonstrates nevertheless persistent affiliations with the gothic. Literary adaptations and both corresponding and independent illustrations of the eighteenth and nineteenth-century deliberately depict the tale as dark via the landscape, the contrasting images of childhood innocence and shadowy lust, and in the bloody end that characters meet. As Catherine Orenstein, amongst others, has noted, the early textual versions by Perrault and of the old French Regime are overtly and indulgently subversive, engaging in moral didactism but paradoxically delighting in the tale of sexual suggestion.24 In a version entitled ‘The Grandmother’ collected around 1885 by folklorist Achille Millien, the girl unwittingly partakes in the cannibalism of the grandmother before, under the sexually demanding instructions of the wolf, stripping and climbing into bed: ‘all her clothes – her bodice, her dress, her petticoat, and her shoes and stockings – she asked where she should put them, and the wolf replied, “Throw them into the fire, my child. You won't need them anymore”.’25 Greenhill and Kohm observe that few scholars have, at least until more recently, considered the sexual dynamics of classic versions as explicitly paedophilic. Yet, whilst it is important that the earliest tales were indicative of the abuse of power in the adult/child relationship that aided the gothic associations with the depiction of the paedophile, it is also significant to contemplate that such categorisation would be as contextually flawed as re-reading homosexuality into pre-nineteenth century literatures and cultural discourse: the condition of paedophilia and the identity of the paedophile are specific constructions from the early twentieth-century onward. One of the earliest connections between Little Red Riding Hood and Gothic literature, as cited by Zipes, can be found in the 1801 anonymous tribute ballad ‘The Wolf-King; or; Little Red-Riding-Hood: An Old Woman’s Tale’ which was dedicated to Matthew Lewis, author of the violent, gothic romance The Monk (1796): He tore out bowels one and two, — “Little maid, I will eat you!” — But when he tore out three and four, The little maid she was no more!26

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__________________________________________________________________ The anonymous ballad was meant to clearly echo the supernatural ballad entitled ‘The Water King’ in Monk’s novel, which depicted a daemon who ‘wears the appearance of a Warrior and employs himself in luring young Virgins into his snare.’27 Despite the specific reference to the wolf as a werewolf in some old French versions of the fairy tale, combined with dark, macabre imagery (needles, pins, cannibalism, defecation) and landscape, the uncanny doubling of the grandmother, the subversion of sexuality through cross-dressing, a plot recurrently focused on the threat to childhood innocence and purity by an evil masculine presence, the original textual conceptions of Little Red Riding-Hood were not, and are still not, strictly equated with the conventional Gothic by scholars. The two retellings of the story by the Brothers Grimm in the early and mid-nineteenth century were considerably less dark than the older versions, yet the illustrations such as those by Gustave Doré (1883) and Arthur Rackham (1909) retain something of the gothic in their shadowy visions of threat. Sandra Beckett proposes that in modern retellings of Little Red Riding Hood ‘traditional motifs are transfigured and generally subverted to convey new messages and present modern social problems […] re-versions of folk and fairy tales not only reveal shifts in social values and ideologies but also transmit a cultural heritage.’28 I would suggest that when it comes to the wolf-like predator, the paedophile figure, the transmission of heritage outweighs any ideological shift because he remains the villain. Whatever the changing economic and social factors that influence the evolution of the tale, whether Red needs no help or is rescued, whether there is one wolf or two, whether the wolf is misunderstood, the monster is still the monster because he must always apologise for or affirm his position. 4. Monstrous Metamorphosis A. The Queerness of Wolves (and Vampires) Despite the ambivalent relationship between Little Red Riding Hood and the gothic, the use of the wolf to embody the sexual predator (and more particularly, the child abuser) has nonetheless remained a persistent motif in the many revisions, reappropriations and allusions to the tale both away from, but most particularly within, the Gothic. In Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897), a doctor at a hospital tells Van Helsing and Holmwood that before the vampiric Lucy stalked the streets there was a different threat: ‘Only ten days ago a wolf got out, and was, I believe, traced up in this direction. For a week after, the children were playing nothing but Red Riding Hood on the Heath and in every alley in the place.’29 As those familiar with the text are aware, as well as being a vampire, Dracula is able to metamorphose into a mist, a bat and a wolf. However, there is no evidence of Dracula himself attacking children, rather the wolf that is seen is a fairly tame escapee from London zoo; his keeper suggests that the animal was terrified by a visitor whose description leads the reader, and Dr Seward, to the conclusion that the visitor was Dracula.

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__________________________________________________________________ During the interview with the zoo-keeper the lost wolf returns to the keeper’s hut, to which Seward remarks: The animal itself was as peaceful and well-behaved as that father of all picture-wolves—Red Riding Hood’s quondam friend, whilst moving her confidence in masquerade. […] The wicked wolf that for half a day had paralysed London and set all the children in the town shivering in their shoes, was there in a sort of penitent mood, and was received and petted like a sort of vulpine prodigal son.30 Seward betrays a prejudice against the animal derived from a conception created through the familiar fairy tale that had encouraged the gothic formation and negative connotations associated with the wolf. Yet, interestingly, the final line also alludes to an early consideration of the wolfish male (particularly as the gentleman Perrault speaks of) as beyond reproach. One of the most recent pieces which utilises connections between the fairy tale and the paedophile and which focuses on the wolf is Steven Fechter’s 2000 play The Woodsman (adapted for film in 2004) which, as suggested by the title, pays deference to some later versions of Little Red Riding Hood which featured a hero. Other allusions range from the explicit – such as a police officer’s direct comparison between protagonist Walter, who is a carpenter and thus the woodsman of the fairy tale – to the indirect – for instance, in the film she is given a red duffle coat and in both film and stage her name is Robin, a bird signified by its red breast. The protagonist, Walter, is presented as the plain, ordinary everyman. Although he is a paedophile, he is recovering and battling with his desires – and it is these factors that permit him to become the fairy tale hero: the Woodsman. He attacks the real wolf, another paedophile, whom he designates Candy due to his penchant for attracting schoolboys with sweets. Walter describes Candy as in his twenties, clean cut with a pleasant face, good clothes and a good build, but who has been raping boys, unlike Walter, who likes girls and ensures his audience knows that he ‘never hurt them.’31 Despite little to connect it with the gothic or even the more contemporary horror genre, the play still contains its gothic villain: the violent homosexual. Sergio Juárez notes in his chapter that the representation of the monster and its victim problematically constructs queer sexuality in such a way that the ‘narratives are an impetus for violence toward queer bodies’ as well as suggesting that the queer is synonymous with the violent, but furthermore which ‘merge[s] and conflate[s] queer sexuality with paedophilia.’32 Despite advances made through the gay rights movement and the prevalence of discourse on sexuality attempting to expose this notion as antiquated, remarks by President Putin during Russia's Winter Olympics in 2014 that synonymised homosexuality

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__________________________________________________________________ and paedophilia for example, indicate this is still pertinently problematic.33 Elise Chenier notes that: Since the 1960s lesbian and gay activists and social scientists have worked hard to parse the homosexual from the pedophile, two constantly collapsing and overlapping categories, but the slippage between them is key to understanding how discourses about ‘‘stranger danger’’ structure the normal society.34 Chenier is suggesting that in creating this external threat, society normalises the sense of family as a haven from danger and thus the belief that any disruption in, or disintegration of, the family leaves children vulnerable to abuse. The disregard for incestuous abuse, which in the 1980s would be identified as the most common form of child abuse, and the insistence on the threat of the unknown, meant that the minority figure of the unfamiliar paedophile overshadowed the more prevalent problems. Fechter’s drama fails to transcend ideals of the heteronormative – his hero is not only recovering from his transgressions through a heterosexual relationship with a grown-woman, but it is revealed that he was married and had a daughter prior to his conviction. What is achieved, however, is the provocation of the audience by questioning how this sexual perversion is worse than any other. On their first date Walter’s love interest, Nikki, observes that he is ‘damaged’ and starts kissing him and speaking seductively whilst hypothesising that he is perhaps a serial killer.35 The sexual thrill which she attributes to a guy ‘who has sex with young women then, at the moment of climax, slashes their throats, dismembers them, and devours their reproductive organs’ provocatively judges the audience; they must ask themselves why this scenario has some sort of grotesque allure, as evident in the appeal of slasher movies and True Crime novels, but Walter’s transgression does not. 36 The gothic interplay between the fictional and the real is perhaps most evident in fictional depictions and adaptations of real-life cases. For instance, this is shown in Fritz Lang’s 1931 film M, said to have been inspired by the child-related acts of serial-killer Peter Kürten known as ‘The Vampire of Düsseldorf.’ Kürten committed a series of abductions and murders of victims of different genders and ages, but confessed to the molestation of young girls and admitted to drinking the blood of at least one victim in the 1920s. The danger created by the filmic figure of the murderous-paedophile is attributed to, if not enhanced by, his very ability to seem normal, to blend in. Before the perpetrator’s identity is revealed in M a psychiatrist states: ‘Perhaps he’s somebody who, when he’s not in that state of mind which makes him kill, shows the harmless look of a good citizen who wouldn’t kill a fly.’37 Yet, in the penultimate scene, Beckert’s large eyes and strange movements are pronounced, his madness and monstrosity revealed when cornered by an eclectic mob of citizens. A case that also influenced M, amongst

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__________________________________________________________________ other film adaptations, and also occurred in Germany during the same period as Kürten, was that of Fritz Haarmann. Known in the media as ‘The Vampire of Hanover,’ he was executed for the murder of young men and boys between the ages of ten and twenty-two – some of whom died by being bitten through the throat whilst being sodomized. Haarmann was also referred to as a werewolf and ‘The Wolfman’ and is the attributed inspiration for the 1973 film Tenderness of the Wolves (Die Zärtlichkeit der Wölfe) which, although unverified in the real case, portrayed him as a cannibal also, and is a far more gothic, but less psychologicallyprobing representation than M. In her review of M on its release, Gabriele Tergit declared her distaste for the depiction especially considering that the ‘beast was just in court, and already on the screen!’38 For her, the film is both grotesque and carnivalesque: ‘tastelessly calculated to please instincts that favor trashy criminal fiction and sadistic tales, and for which an execution was a popular festival fifty years ago.’39 Tergit speculates that ‘[p]erhaps already the name [Peter] Kürten no longer inspires horror enough, Kürten who did not shrink from cannibalism,’ suggesting that the fictionalisation of the figure has somehow diminished the horror, because it has made a monster of the man and allowed audiences to revel in a distance perhaps less available through the media representations.40 B. Queering the Queer Within the gothic genre the potential for transgressive sexuality is heightened by the interdependency between the queer and the gothic previously mentioned. Like the wolf, the vampire is another traditional monster linked with early formations of the paedophile. The male vampire as paedophile in the gothic genre is a rare and ambiguous character, but utilises the supernatural being for its consistent association with queer sexuality. Once again we are drawn back to Dracula and his literary successors for further subversion: unusually and intriguingly, allusions are made to the actual and intended penetration of infants by, not the dominant male himself, but his Brides and Lucy – perceived by the vampire hunters as the most perverse of acts – abhorrent particularly because of the transgression of the assigned gender roles of femininity, and more particularly, motherhood.41 Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire (1977), the debut in her Vampire Chronicles, makes no clear references to sexual liaisons between adult and child, however, hidden agendas may be surmised in the complex relationship between adult vampire Louis (and to some extent Lestat) and the child vampire Claudia. Claudia’s mind continues to mature whilst her body remains that of a child, but her mental precocity cannot shield the reader from the discomfort evoked by Louis’ recurring descriptions of her, which blur the boundaries between propriety and perversion: ‘I was bound hand and foot here. Not only by that fairy beauty—that exquisite secret of Claudia’s white shoulders and rich luster of pearls, bewitching languor, a tiny bottle of perfume […] from which a spell is released that promises Eden.’42 Their relationship shifts uncomfortably between the

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__________________________________________________________________ androgynous parent and daughter, and lovers, encapsulated by the act of penetration that bound them when Louis fed from her initially. George Haggerty proposes that to ‘understand the Chronicles, in fact, they must be read as gay, and their relations can only be understood in terms of male-male desire.’43 For Candice Benefiel, the dual threats of the vampiric and the homosexual provokes a perversion of the nuclear family, but I would develop upon these notions to consider that it is, furthermore, the conflict caused by Claudia’s sexual presence and the potential for the disruption to the homosexual that intensifies the queer.44 In fact, the relationship is deemed unnatural by other Vampires, suggesting that even within the transgressive community there are deviances that are considered monstrous: ‘But now Claudia has released you, yet still you stay with her, and stay bound to her as your paramour.’45 In Stephen King’s The Library Policeman (1990) the child-rapist was once a real man but within the immediate narrative takes the form of a vampiric revenant, a form that returns, according to Chad Parkhill’s reading, to the mythical formation of the ‘predatory “homosexual paedophile” that disrupts the successful completion of heterosexuality.’46 In IT (1986) King uses a combination of direct and indirect references; for example, a police officer bluntly asks one of the witnesses to a murder by IT ‘[a]re you telling me you believe there was a vampire clown under Main Street Bridge?’47 And he plays on this theme through associative vampire imagery; for instance, when the child Ben Hanscom, pursued by IT, observes that ‘[a]lthough the last of the daylight had struck a rosy glow across the ice of the Canal, the clown cast no shadow. None at all.’48 Furthermore, throughout the novel King uses the paedophilic lexicon of stranger danger campaigns to highlight the extent of ignorance by the adults; such as when Ben’s mother warns him about being careful playing outside after a series of murdered children are found: “[a]t first people thought they were …” She hesitated over the next word, never spoken in her son’s presence before, but the circumstances were unusual and she forced herself. “…sex crimes. […] Maybe they were and maybe they weren’t. Maybe they’re over and maybe they’re not. No one can be sure of anything anymore, except that some crazy man who preys on little children is out there […]”49 The creature itself is not, strictly, either a vampire or a paedophile, but it does only feast on children and is the embodiment not only of the uncanny, of that which ‘ought to have remained … secret and hidden but has come to light,’ but the queer uncanny particularly.50 For the danger is not only physical, but a reminder of the town’s deliberate, selective amnesia to both the historical violence and the current sexual abuse some of the children have been subject to in their own home. Like the Creeper in Sergio Juárez’ chapter, it returns cyclically (roughly every twenty-seven

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__________________________________________________________________ to Creeper’s twenty-three years) and is therefore indicative of some sort of lifecycle of youth and destruction.51 Another of King’s works, the magical realist piece The Green Mile (1996) includes a child-rapist and murderer, William Wharton, shown in both novel and subsequent film adaptation (1999) to be the most monstrous of the convicts in the jail. John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In (2004) subverts the vampire/paedophile relationship by making the vampire child the subject of human paedophilic advances and therefore demonstrating an obvious complication in the predator/prey dynamic. Similar themes are also present in S.P. Somtow’s Vampire Junction (1984) and Valentine (1994) in which protagonist Timmy Valentine, the child-Vampire, is shown as a willing participant if not an instigator of sexual liaisons, and contrasted with the girl Lisa, whom he sires, who was a victim of abuse by her own father. Maria Holmgren Troy’s ‘The Vampire Child: Predator and Prey’ notes many complex paedophilic relationships in Somtow’s series, but highlights the scene in which the vampire Lisa is staked by her uncle as deliberately evocative of the scene in which he discovered his brother violating her when she was a human-child.52 Eli, the child-Vampire of Lindqvist’s novel, is a figure whose subversions are multi-faceted: firstly the child blurs the boundaries of gender, having been born a human boy who was castrated just before transformation and now identifies as a girl and is attracted to a boy. Furthermore, she does not perform the expected predatory and sexualised role of the vampire. She is the reluctant object of the affections of the paedophilic human Håkan, refusing to allow the enactment of his transgressive desires. Although Håkan dreams of touching Eli, he is shown to be a rather puritanical individual: ‘His gaze stopped at an ad for women’s underwear. A woman was posing seductively in black lace panties and a bra. It was crazy. Naked skin wherever you looked. Why was it tolerated?’53 However, when Håkan commits the selfless act of allowing the starving Eli to drain his blood (though this of course could be read as the final sadomasochistic act) he accidentally transforms into a vampire, and mindlessly driven by his lust he pursues and anally rapes Eli. Håkan’s monstrosity is a result of Eli’s own bloodlust, potentially making the man/monster the victim if the dynamic; nevertheless, his perversity is shown to be imbedded, an innate and unnatural predilection toward the child that began long before he met the vampire. 5. Monstrous Monologues A. The Vampirism of Childhood Many non-gothic narratives depict the paedophile as a metaphorical vampire, a parasite sucking the life out of children, and perhaps more specifically, attempting to penetrate the realm of childhood. For instance, talking to his brother-in-law about being located in an apartment opposite a school, Walter in The Woodsman declares it beautiful because ‘[t]he sound of children is the sound of life, Carlos. The sound of grown-ups is the sound of death.’54 And, as shown previously in Rice’s novel, Louis sees Claudia as the means of reversing the fall from Innocence,

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__________________________________________________________________ a means of regaining access to Eden. J.M. Barrie and Lewis Carroll, authors of children’s stories, are often accused, post-mortem, of being child-lovers and are continually portrayed in literary and cultural reconstructions as child-like both in their mannerisms and physicality. One might also, cynically, consider the parasitic qualities of Barrie and Carroll’s fascination with, and immortalisation of, real children in their fictional works. In his original identity as Charles Dodgson, Carroll was well-known for photographing children, often naked, in accordance with the fashions of the time, but nevertheless capturing and eternalising their youth.55 In the final scene of one of the most notorious paedophile narratives, Nabokov’s Lolita (1955), Humbert Humbert laments the loss of Lolita’s ‘voice from that concord’ of melodious sound made by the children, for she is no longer a child; thus, suggesting that achieving eternal youth through immersion in the facets of childhood is the draw for Humbert as well as male artists such as Barrie and Carroll.56 Like Haarman, the Vampire of Hanover, who was suspected of cannibalism, we might suggest once again the ingestion of youth in Humbert’s desire to ‘turn […] Lolita inside out and apply voracious lips to her young matrix, her unknown heart, her nacreous liver, the sea-grapes of her lungs, her comely twin kidneys.’57 Though completely different in genre, form and style, Humbert’s desire to not only consume but assume Lolita, draws interesting parallels with Juárez’s analysis of the Creeper who, according to Juárez, ‘consumes the flesh’ of its victims not only to sustain itself but also to make itself look more human.58 Through his metaphorical devouring of Lolita’s body and soul, Humbert produces not a corporeal identity, like the Creeper, but a psychic identity that allows him to wallow in his childhood desires. Nabokov employs the vampiric imagery throughout: for instance, Humbert recalls seeing a gnat bite on Lolita’s shoulder, which he ‘sucked till [he] was gorged on her spicy blood’ and observed that Lolita had a ‘purplish spot on her naked neck where a fairytale vampire had feasted.’59 This is not a text generally associated with the gothic genre, with the two major film adaptations categorised as comedy-drama and romance-drama. Yet, various intertextual choices indicate the pervading undertones of the gothic, tenuous though they may sometimes seem. For instance, John M. Ingham notes and analyses the influences of and references to Freud’s psychoanalytic case-study Wolf Man (1918) and Little Red Riding Hood in the text which he sees as integral to the theme of sexual trauma.60 Furthermore, as Alfred Appel Jr. observes, Nabokov exploits and parodies the uncanny doppelgänger motif and its animalistic connotations as used in, for example, Dostoevsky’s The Possessed (also referred to as Demons) and Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the shadow in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Hans Christian Andersen’s dark fairy tale ‘The Shadow.’61 In Catherine Spooner’s Contemporary Gothic she formulates a definition of the ‘Gothic-Carnivalesque’ motif that demonstrates ‘a preoccupation with the “folk” grotesque of the circus’ that ‘retains its Romantic/Gothic associations as well,’ but in which ‘the sinister is continually shading into the comic and vice versa.’62

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__________________________________________________________________ Though predating the main texts that contribute to Spooner’s type by around thirty years, elements of Nabokov’s novel such as the exaggerated focus on the perfect contours of Lolita’s body contrasted against her lack of personal hygiene, the kidnapping for sexual defilement turning into the hunt by/pursuit of a mysterious figure, and the farcical murder of Quilty, evokes the humour and chaos associated with the carnivalesque. For Appel Jr. the detail in the moment of Quilty’s death may well ‘emphasize the mock-symbolic association with Lolita; the monstrous self that has devoured Lolita, bubble-gum childhood’; however, ‘as the bubble explodes, so does the Gothic Doppelgänger convention with all its “juvenile connotations”.’63 Nevertheless, although the gothic is unsustained, its persistent, if inconsistent, presence throughout the novel aids the formation of the monstrous paedophile. Spooner’s assertion that ‘one of the most prominent features of the new “Gothic-Carnivalesque” is sympathy for the monster’ is evocative of one of the central concerns for the reader of Humbert’s apparent confession.64 Humbert describes himself as ‘a pentapod monster’ and ‘a cesspool of rotting monsters behind [a] slow boyish smile.’65 The intended effect (whether this is something he believes or not) is to disarm the reader through exaggerated self-perception. It is the story as told by the Wolf. B. Haunted Narratives In his article on the dynamics of heteronormativity and slavery in the works of gothic author Edgar Allan Poe, Peter Cavellio observes that ‘[a]mong Lolita's many rewards is the riotous candor with which it realizes how very thoroughly we are haunted in our understanding of Poe by the many ghostly traces of pedophilia.’66 Where Cavellio tries to discourage biographical readings of the works of both authors, Elizabeth Freeman notes not only the influence of Poe on Nabokov, but a wider intertextuality between various writers concerning what she calls the ‘pedophilic picaresque’ which suggests a literary history that ‘is therefore less a genealogy of influence than a rather incestuous literary kinship web.’67 However, as Alfred Appel Jr. reminds us, Nabokov wanted the reader and the critic to make connections between Humbert and himself, and both pre-empts such readings with deliberate moments of reflective self-analysis contrasted with seemingly (but, in fact, intentionally) unwitting moments of revealing his true monstrosity: any autobiographical reading of Lolita runs the risk of falling into the author’s trap.68 Yet, this insistency in the intentional fallacy serves, in some ways, as a means of heightening the Gothic dynamic of an author that, like his narrator, plays with the reader’s psychological expectations, feasting on their doubts, exercising his power by luring in his readers and setting traps to confound them. Whereas the work by Krafft-Ebing, Stead, M, the early fairy tales, Dracula, The Library Policeman, IT, The Green Mile and the stranger danger videos, are examples of creating the gothic and ostracising the paedophilic monsters through manipulation of the narrative, either by denying them a voice or limiting the

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__________________________________________________________________ dimension of their thoughts and dialogue. The domination of the narrative by the monster does not suffuse the gothic, but it does compromise the stability of the monstrous identity. In The Woodsman, the former technique is used on Candy because he is the monster, whereas Walter’s voice and thoughts dominate the play to allow for his dialogic reparation. In Let the Right One In the insight into Håkan’s history and feelings pre-transformation allows for a more loving, if obsessive, quality to his character that is emphasised by the contrast with the mindless predator created through Vampirism. Coviello suggests that Humbert’s first-person monologue, and references to Poe and his narrators, reveal a commonality that is not based on ‘a single pathology, but a single rhetoric—a single style—of self-perception.’69 I would suggest this emphasises the ability of the voice to confuse the dynamics of monstrosity. Humbert cannot be viewed as simply monstrous, because his feelings and actions are quantified, qualified and questioned by himself. At the very least he can be Spooner’s sympathetic monster. In her chapter on the monstrous desire of Shakespeare’s Caliban and Aaron, Wright suggests that the Elizabethan audience was eager to view any display of monstrosity, in what Joel Slotkin in his discussion of Shakespeare’s Richard III calls ‘Sinister Aesthetics’: ‘a set of cultural conventions governing the representation of evil, which valorize the dark and hideous as admirable poetic subjects and, by association, risk encouraging the very values they label as evil.’70 Therefore, whilst the viewer finds the monster repulsive this is the very reaction that simultaneously attracts them. The contemporary paedophile is a subversion of this appeal in the sense that its outward appearance is normal, or in the most notorious examples particularly handsome and/or charming. Therefore, the audience is drawn to the acknowledged monstrosity: it revels not only in the monster’s downfall but in the monstrosity itself. They do not have the same opportunity as the shipwrecked characters of The Tempest do, to ‘read Caliban’s appearance as an outward show of his corrupted nature.’71 Though, unlike Caliban and Aaron, the fictional paedophile cannot be marked as different via its physicality, they are, as Wright suggests, marked as monstrous by their minds and actions. The temptation would be to attribute this to his status as Other, reminding them of what they are not. However, what Kincaid’s notion about the allure of the monstrous paedophile tale suggests is something representative of an unrecognised desire. As Freud posited in Totem and Taboo: An individual who has violated a taboo becomes himself taboo because he has the dangerous property of tempting others to follow his example. He arouses envy; why should he be allowed to do what is prohibited to others? He is therefore really contagious, in so far as every example incites to imitation, and therefore he himself must be avoided.72

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__________________________________________________________________ Wright notes that contemporary critics of Shakespeare’s plays viewed actors of monstrous roles as themselves infectiously monstrous because they ‘can actually breed monsters through their performances’; and so the hatred of the paedophile may similarly be seen as a derivative of their potential to incite and entice.73 C. Creating Counter Narratives The dual ability to provoke both fear and sympathy has already been noted in relation to Humbert, but is also evident in non-fiction pieces. In Paedophilia: A Radical Case, a treatise published in 1980 by Tom O’Carroll, former chairman of the now disbanded Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), O’Carroll lays out his proposal for changes in the law that would allow consensual sexual relations between adults and children, but also uses it to challenge ‘those people who think I am anything like the vile monster portrayed in the press.’74 He raises an interesting point about the power of voice when explaining how his personal files were confiscated in a raid by the police, but concedes that ‘such pressures are the penalty to be paid for speaking the unspeakable.’75 Although the files were not pornographic, O’Carroll alludes to a policing of the discourse on adult-child sexuality that is set out by Foucault in his History of Sexuality and which perpetuates the myth which Barthes suggests is so destructive to liberation: Myth deprives the object of which it speaks of all History. In it, history evaporates. […] We can see all the disturbing things which this felicitous figure removes from sight: both determinism and freedom. Nothing is produced, nothing is chosen: all one has to do is possess these new objects from which all soiling trace of origin or choice has been removed.76 O’Carroll attempts to gain control by manipulating the discourse that produced and controlled this identity by using the works of sexologists and psychologists to justify the benefits of allowing sexual relationships between adults and children. Quoting psychologist Donald J. West that ‘[f]ar from being unrestrained sex maniacs their approaches to children are almost always affectionate and gentle’, O’Carroll emphasises the likeness West makes between the paedophilic practice and that between two children.77 Furthermore, taking queue from the gay rights movements of the time, he reclaims the word paedophile by referring to himself as such, rather than shunning it. Though the subject may seem distasteful, and the often reasonable claims made by O’Carroll potentially dangerous, questions should be asked about the place of these narratives and fictional narratives as document.78 History has been dominated by selective narratives – that of the rich, the male, the colonist – and in discounting narratives of the villains, a distorted record of history is produced which dissuades an understanding of the mechanisms of human transgression, particularly in a time when child abuse seems rife.

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__________________________________________________________________ Yet, only a few years earlier, Michel Foucault, Jean Danet and Guy Hocquenham also discussed the potential for adult/child relationships, but as wellknown theorists (and presumed non-paedophiles) their work, whilst not championed, was not castigated like O’ Carroll’s. Guy Hocquenghem explains that their open letter to Western governments concerning child sexuality attempts to broaden the debate and avoid the reductive: ‘These new arguments are essentially about childhood, that is to say, about the exploitation of popular sentiment and its spontaneous horror of anything that links sex with the child.’79 Danet emphasises how, as Kincaid expresses nearly twenty-years later, when situations arise for public engagement with the issue of child abuse the choice of language will consistently manipulate the narrative to create ones of apparent incontestable threat: when psychiatrists maintain that sexual relations between adults and children are always traumatising and often repressed, says Danet, ‘what takes place with the intervention of psychiatrists in court is a manipulation of the children's consent, a manipulation of their words.’80 Twenty years earlier Humbert Humbert plays to the public audience by claiming (perhaps falsely) that his desires are a result of an unconsummated, interrupted sexual experience in childhood, mocking the description used by psychologists, by Krafft-Ebing himself, of these crimes as ‘unmanly, childish, and often silly.’81 6. Conclusion Not all depictions of the paedophile are explicitly formed within the genre, or sub-genres of the gothic; whilst the current media paints the perpetrator as the perverted sicko or the pantomime villain, various contemporary literary fictions have attempted to give the paedophile a voice and gain sympathy for the lover of children which seem far removed from the horrors; for instance, Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice (1911), Iris Murdoch’s The Bell (1958), Stephen Fry’s Latin! (1992) Alan Bennett’s The History Boys (2004) and The Habit of Art (2009). In Johann Hari’s commentary on the latter play, however, he suggests Bennett’s is another in the ‘drip-drip of artists defending old men who abuse their power over young boys and girls for sexual pleasure.’82 For Hari, what is monstrous is the attempt to deny the potential horror and gothicism of paedophilia by dressing it up under less provocative terms such as pederasty, and by playing on the connection between the paedophile as eternal child and therefore psychically engaged to the needs of the real child. It seems, then, that there is no space for the paedophile that is not monstrous. Whilst the paedophilic voice can complicate the gothic narrative, for instance where film and literature attempt to subvert the monstrous binary, and others to erase it through the use of first person narrative, authors are defeated by the larger social connotations of the adult/child relationship. Often this is because offering psychological dimension to the paedophile only leads to the objectification of the child. Once the child is offered dimension (such as Eli in Let the Right One In, or the losers club in IT) the paedophile must revert back to monster. Given that

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__________________________________________________________________ the instinctive reaction to descriptions or knowledge of child abuse is, at the very least, documented as one of repulsion and horror, the paedophile – most particularly in its most human appearance – is thus Kristeva’s abject, because the distinction between self and other is threatened. As Carlo Comanducci posits in his chapter, the abject is not even a safe criterion for separating the human from the inhuman, but rather the impossibility of doing so.83 The paedophilic werewolf, the vampire or everyday man refute the boundary between human and inhuman because they are simultaneously both and neither – they refuse, as Comanducci purports, to conform to the role assigned to them. The paedophilia epidemic that has governed the media and politics in the last three decades is also indicative of an alternative preoccupation with the child that in itself threatens the singular stability of the paedophile as monstrous. The child is forced to battle with simultaneous roles as victim and instigator, angel and monster, not autonomously, but via adult intervention. Although social discourse often refers to the child as victim, the subject of paedophilia brings the subject of child sexuality to the fore but betrays an inability by the general public to equate theory with their desired reality. Furthermore, cases are marred by the inheritance of Freud’s abandoned seduction theory, which lead to the acknowledgement that children may embellish or even invent sexual scenarios. The consequences of false allegations are poignantly explored, for instance, in 2012 Danish film The Hunt starring Mads Mikkelsen, and have devastating consequences for the accused who may be violently attacked by communities as well as losing their families and jobs.84 In their introduction to the collection Queering the Gothic, Hughes and Smith suggest that as a genre the gothic has often been required by the publisher or the public to submit to the ‘the eventual triumph of a familiar morality’ and so often lies uneasily on the boundary between propriety and deviancy but has, nevertheless succeeded in interrogating and testing those boundaries.85 M is particularly indicative of this: the murderous paedophile is hunted down and cornered by the mob who are on the verge of murdering him when the police arrive and the legal system prevails over justice. The paedophiles represented in this chapter in particular are all guilty of acting upon their desires, even where the potential for violence is ambiguous or absent. In depictions where a child is slain, as well as abused, there is no redemption for the paedophile; even Walter, the wolf turned woodsman will pay through the loss of his family. As Wright notes of Caliban and Aaron, they ‘must be kept in servitude in order to mitigate [their] physical and sexual threat,’ so to the paedophile, who threatens to disrupt the heteronormative, must be consistently policed.86 The paedophile and paedophilia are, in many ways, representative of what the gothic wishes to be but often cannot: a full descent both within the text and within ourselves into our deepest, darkest desires. For Comanducci ‘[a]s long as they keep a symbolic distance, comfortably establishable in terms of physical or cultural difference, monsters are figures of identification

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__________________________________________________________________ that make it possible to enjoy in fantasy not only the obscene desires we disown and project into them, but also those that they might manifest independently.’87 Yet, Kincaid suggests, the ordinary citizen has not quite come to terms with a potential for enjoyment when it comes to child sexuality, though it lies both latent – the Oedipal myth fulfilled – and blatant as we are constantly confronted by it. On the other hand, perhaps the uneasy relationship between the gothic and paedophilia derives from our very inability to justify such a transgression, it is not the monster we desire to sympathise with, even when the narrative demands we should.

Notes 1

Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality 1: The Will to Knowledge (London: Penguin, 1998) 101. 2 James Kincaid, Child-Loving: The Erotic Child and Victorian Culture (New York: Routledge, 1994) 341. 3 James Kincaid, Erotic Innocence: The Culture of Child Molesting (Durham; London: Duke University Press, 1998) 10-11. 4 Michael O’ Rourke and David Collings, ‘Queer Romanticisms: Past, Present and Future,’ Romanticism on the Net 36–7 (November 2004-February 2005): para. 24 of 42, viewed on 12 January 2015, DOI : 10.7202/011132ar. 5 Richard von Krafft-Ebing, Psychopathia Sexualis: With Especial Reference to the Antipathic Sexual Instinct: A Medico-forensic Study, trans. F.J. Rebman, 12th edn. (New York: Rebman Company, 1900) 561, viewed 5 July 2014, https://archive.org/details/psychopathiasexu00krafuoft. 6 For instance, examples from the Old Bailey proceedings of criminal cases in the City of London and Middlesex between 1674 (when the court was rebuilt after the Great Fire of London) and 1913 (when online public records cease) detail at least 570 documented cases of Sexual Offences against children that express outrage for the ‘filthy bruitish offence’ in ‘July 1678, trial of young fellow.’ See Old Bailey Proceedings online, viewed 15 May 2014, www.oldbaileyonline.org. 7 See Michel Foucault’s hypothesis of the nineteenth-century’s production of the homosexual in The Will to Knowledge: The History of Sexuality, vol. 1, trans. Robert Hurley (London: Penguin Group, 1998) 43. 8 Krafft-Ebing, Psychopathia Sexualis: With Especial Reference to Contrary Sexual Instinct: A Medico-Legal Study, trans. Charles Gilbert Chaddock, 7th edn. (London; Philadelphia: F.A, Davis Co, 1892) 404, viewed 12 May 2014, https://ia600307.us.archive.org/24/items/psychopathiasexualis00kraf/psychopathia sexualis00kraf_djvu.txt. 9 According to the World Health Organisation, the perpetrator must be over the age of sixteen to be classed as a paedophile and the child under the age of thirteen, but five years younger than the perpetrator (so that a sixteen year old may date a

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__________________________________________________________________ twelve or thirteen year old legally for example). See section F65.4 Paedophilia. ‘The ICD-10 Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders Diagnostic criteria for research World.’ World Health Organization. (1993), viewed 12 May 2014, http://www.who.int/classifications/icd/en/GRNBOOK.pdf. 10 See The Times archives, where the first use of the word ‘paedophile’ is not found until an edition from January 1976, and ‘paedophilia’ in March 1976. 11 Krafft-Ebing, Psychopathia Sexualis, 12th edn. 555. 12 Anonymous, ‘Review of the English translation of Krafft-Ebing’s Psychopathia Sexualis with Special Reference to Contrary Sexual Instinct: A Medico-Legal Study, British Medical Journal’, vol 1. (June 24, 1893) 1325. Reproduced at Birkbeck University’s archive of Deviance, disorder and the Self, viewed 10 July 2014, http://www.bbk.ac.uk/deviance/sexuality/anonymous/51-3-20krafft%20ebing.htm. 13 William. T. Stead, ‘We Bid You Hope’, Pall Mall Gazette, July 6, 1885, viewed 5 July 2014, http://www.attackingthedevil.co.uk/pmg/tribute/hope.php. 14 ‘The maw of the London Minotaur is insatiable, and none that go into the secret recesses of his lair return again. After some years' dolorous wandering in this palace of despair–for “hope of rest to solace there is none, nor e'en of milder pang,” save the poisonous anodyne of drink–most of those ensnared to-night will perish, some of them in horrible torture.’ Stead, ‘The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon I: the Report of our Secret Commission’ in The Pall Mall Gazette, July 6, 1885. 15 Edoardo Crisafulli, The Vision of Dante: Cary's Translation of The Divine Comedy (London: Troubador Publishing Ltd, 2003) 99. 16 Stead, ‘The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon III: the Report of our Secret Commission’, Pall Mall Gazette, July 8, 1885. 17 Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985) 90-93. 18 For discussions of traditional gothic motifs, see, for instance, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, ‘The Structure of Gothic Convention’ in The Coherence of Gothic Conventions (New York: Arno, 1980) 19 Stead, ‘The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon I: the Report of our Secret Commission’, Pall Mall Gazette, July 6, 1885., 20 Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (London: Penguin Group, 1994) 75-76; For discussions of potential homosexuality in Stevenson’s novel, see Elaine Showalter’s chapter ‘Dr Jekyll’s Closet’ in Sexual Anarchy: Gender and Culture at the Fin de Siècle (London: Bloomsbury, 1991) 21 Krafft-Ebing, Psychopathia Sexualis, 12th edn., 404-405.

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__________________________________________________________________ 22

Pauline Greenhill and Steven Kohm, ‘Little Red Riding Hood and the Pedophile in Film: Freeway, Hard Candy and The Woodsman,’ Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures 1.2 (2009): 35-65 (45).

23

Andrew Lang, ed. The Blue Fairy Book (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1889), 51-53. Original Source: Charles Perrault, Histoires ou contes du temps passé, avec des moralités: Contes de ma mère l'Oye (Paris, 1697).

24

Catherine Orenstein, Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked: Sex, Morality, and the Evolution of A Fairy, (New York: Basic Books, 2002) 36. 25

Translated in Orenstein, Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked, 65-67. Anonymous, ‘The Wolf-King; or; Little Red-Riding-Hood: An Old Woman’s Tale’ reproduced in The Trials and Tribulations of Little Red Riding Hood, ed. Jack Zipes, 2nd edn, (New York; London: Routledge, 1993) 129 – 132 (132). 26

27

M. G. Lewis, Ambrosio, or the Monk: A Romance, vol. 3 (London: J. Bell, 1798), 14–16. 28

Sandra L. Beckett, ‘Once Upon a Time…Today: Retelling Traditional Fairy Tales for Contemporary Audiences,’ Genres as Repositories of Cultural Memory, ed. Theo d'. Haen, Hendrik van Gorp, Ulla Musarra-Schrøder (Atlanta: Rodopi, 2000) 489. 29

Bram Stoker, Dracula, (London: Sphere, 2006) 223. Ibid. 31 Stephen Fechter, The Woodsman, (New York: Samuel French, 2009) 17. 32 Sergio Juárez, ‘Creeper Bogeyman: Cultural Narratives of Gay as Monstrous,’ in this volume. 30

33

Shaun Walker, ‘Vladimir Putin: Gay People at Winter Olympics Must “Leave Children Alone”’, Guardian, January 17, 2014, viewed 19 January 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/17/vladimir-putin-gay-winterolympics-children. 34

Elise Chenier, ‘The Natural Order of Disorder: Pedophilia, Stranger Danger and the Normalising Family’ Sexuality & Culture 16 (2012): 172-186, (174), viewed 15 January 2014, DOI 10.1007/s12119-011-9116-z. 35

Fechter, The Woodsman, 24. Ibid. 37 M, dir. Fritz Lang. Eureka Entertainment, 2012, DVD. 38 Gabriele Tergit, ‘Review: Fritz Lang's M: Filmed Sadism,’ The Weimar Republic Sourcebook, ed. Anton Kaes, Martin Jay, Edward Dimendberg (University of California Press, 1994), 632-633. Viewed 20 January 2015, faculty.washington.edu/cbehler/teaching/coursenotes/gabrieleTFL.html 36

39 40

Ibid. Ibid.

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Although the majority of paedophiles noted in this chapter are male, which is indicative of both the statistical evidence and media coverage, Krafft-Ebing and his colleagues record cases which ‘show clearly that this paedophilia erotica occurs also in women.’ Krafft-Ebing, Psychopathia Sexualis, 12th edn., 557. 42 Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire, (Great Britain: Sphere, 2010) 298. 43 George E. Haggerty, Queer Gothic, (Illinois: University of Illinois press, 2006) 186. 44 Candice R. Benefiel, ‘Blood Relations: The Gothic Perversion of the Nuclear Family in Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire,’ The Journal of Popular Culture 38.2 (2004): 261-273 (262). 45 Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire, 304. 46 Chad Parkhill, ‘The Prometheus of Paedophilia: Sexual Violence and Queermaking in Stephen King’s The Library Policeman’, Crossroads 3.2 (2009): 99-109 (102). 47 Stephen King, IT, (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2007) 44. 48 Ibid., 255. 49 Ibid., 219 50 F.W.J. Schelling as quoted in Sigmund Freud, ‘The Uncanny,’ The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, trans. James Strachey, vol. 27, 1917-1919 (London: Vintage, 1999) 217-256 (224). 51 Juárez, in this volume. 52 Maria Holmgren Troy, ‘The Vampire Child: Predator and Prey’ at Devils and Dolls: Dichotomous Depictions of the Child (2013) held at the University of Bristol, UK. Draft chapter produced 2014. 53 John Ajvide Lindqvist, Let the Right One In (London: Quercus, 2007) 12. 54 Fechter, The Woodsman, 13. 55 See the introduction and first chapter particularly of Jacqueline Rose’s, The Case of Peter Pan, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1984), and Karoline Leach, In the Shadow of the Dreamchild: A New Understanding of Lewis Carroll (London: Peter Owen, 1999). 56 Vladimir Nabokov, The Annotated Lolita (New York: Vintage, 1991) 308. 57 Ibid., 165. For further analysis of vampiric imagery in Lolita, see Kurt Fawver, ‘Little Girls and Psychic Fiends: Nabokov's Lolita as Vampire Tale’ Notes and Queries’ 58.1 (2011): 133-138. 58 Juárez, in this volume. 59 Nabokov, Lolita, 156, 139. 60 John M. Ingham, ‘Primal Scene and Misreading in Nabokov's Lolita’, American Imago 59.1 (2002): 27-52. 61 Alfred Appel Jr. ‘Introduction’ to The Annotated Lolita, xvii-lxvii (lxi).

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__________________________________________________________________ 62 Catherine Spooner, Contemporary Gothic (London: Reaktion Books, Ltd, 2006) 68-69. 63

Alfred Appel Jr., ‘Introduction’ to The Annotated Lolita, lxii. Spooner, Contemporary Gothic, 69. 65 Spooner, Contemporary Gothic, 69; Nabokov, Lolita, 44, 284. 66 Peter Coviello, ‘Poe in Love: Pedophilia, Morbidity, and the Logic of Slavery’ ELH 70.3 (2003): 875-901. 64

67 Elizabeth Freeman, ‘Honeymoon with a Stranger: Pedophiliac Picaresques from Poe to Nabokov,’ American Literature 70 (1998): 863-97 (865). 68

Alfred Appel Jr., ‘Introduction’ to The Annotated Lolita, lix. Coviello, ‘Poe in Love’, 879. 70 Kristen Wright, ‘“This Thing of Darkness I Acknowledge Mine”: Man’s Monstrous Potential in The Tempest and Titus Andronicus,’ in this volume; Joel Slotkin, ‘Honeyed Toads: Sinister Aesthetics in Shakespeare's Richard III,’ Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies 7.1 (2007): 5-32, (5). 69

71

Wright, in this volume. Sigmund Freud, Totem and Taboo: Resemblances Between the Psychic Lives of Savages and Neurotics, trans. A.A. Brill (New York: Moffat Yard and Co, 1918) 52, viewed 15 January 2015, https://archive.org/details/totemtabooresembr00freu. 72

73

Wright, in this volume. Tom O’Carroll, Paedophilia: A Radical Case, (London: Peter Owen, 1980) 24’ 75 O’Carroll, Paedophilia: A Radical Case, 9. 76 Roland Barthes, ‘(i) Operation Margarine; (ii) Myth Today’ in Media and Cultural Studies: Keyworks, ed. by Meenakshi Gigi Durham, Douglas M. Kellner, 2nd edn., (John Wiley and Sons, 2012) 99-106, 101. 74

77

O’Carroll, Paedophilia: A Radical Case, 56. For instance, O’Carroll suggests that children should be permitted to participate in pornographic films if they consent. 205. 78

79 Michel Foucault, Guy Hocquenghem and Jean Danet, ‘The Danger of Child Sexuality,’ in Michel Foucault: Politics, Philosophy, Culture: Interviews and Other Writings, ed. by Lawrence D. Kritzman, trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: Routledge, 1988) 273. 80

Ibid., 274. Krafft-Ebing, Psychopathia Sexualis, 7th edn., 405. 82 Johann Hari, ‘Alan Bennett and the Question of Innocence’, Independent, November 27, 2009, viewed 17 January 2015. http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-alanbennett-and-the-question-of-innocence-1828408.html. 81

83 Carlo Comanducci, ‘Full Metal Abs: The Obscene Spartan Supplement of Liberal Democracy,’ in this volume.

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See for instance the case of Bijan Ebrahmi. Adam Aspinall, ‘Disabled man burned to death by vigilantes who wrongly suspected him of being a paedophile’ Mirror, 29 October 2013. Viewed 15 Jan 2015. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uknews/bijan-ebrahimi-murdered-vigilante-lee-2651168. 85 William Hughes and Andrew Smith (eds.), ‘Introduction’ Queering the Gothic, (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2009) 1-10 (1). 86 Wright, in this volume. 87 Comanducci, in this volume.

Bibliography Anonymous. ‘Review of the English translation of Krafft-Ebing’s Psychopathia Sexualis with Special Reference to Contrary Sexual Instinct: A Medico-Legal Study, British Medical Journal.’ Vol. 1. June 24, 1893. Reproduced at Birkbeck University’s Archive of Deviance, Disorder and the Self. Viewed 10 July 2014. http://www.bbk.ac.uk/deviance/sexuality/anonymous/51-31%20krafft%20ebing.htm. Aspinall, Adam. ‘Disabled man burned to death by vigilantes who wrongly suspected him of being a paedophile’ Mirror, October 29, 2013, viewed 15 Jan 2015. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/bijan-ebrahimi-murdered-vigilantelee-2651168. Beckett Sandra L. ‘Once Upon a Time…Today: Retelling Traditional Fairy Tales for Contemporary Audiences.’ Genres as Repositories of Cultural Memory, edited by Theo d'. Haen, Hendrik van Gorp, Ulla Musarra-Schrøder 489-503. Atlanta: Rodopi, 2000. Benefiel, Candice R. ‘Blood Relations: The Gothic Perversion of the Nuclear Family in Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire’, The Journal of Popular Culture 38.2 (2004): 261-273. Chenier, Elise. ‘The Natural Order of Disorder: Pedophilia, Stranger Danger and the Normalising Family’ Sexuality & Culture 16 (2012): 172–186, viewed 15 January 2014. DOI 10.1007/s12119-011-9116-z. Coviello, Peter. ‘Poe in Love: Pedophilia, Morbidity, and the Logic of Slavery’ ELH 70.3 (2003): 875-901.

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__________________________________________________________________ Crisafulli, Edoardo. The Vision of Dante: Cary's Translation of the Divine Comedy. London: Troubador Publishing Ltd, 2003. Krafft-Ebing, Richard von. Psychopathia Sexualis: With Especial Reference to the Antipathic Sexual Instinct: A Medico-forensic Study. Translated by F. J. Rebman, 12th edn. New York: Rebman Company, 1900. Viewed 5 July 2014. https://archive.org/details/psychopathiasexu00krafuoft. ———. Psychopathia Sexualis: With Especial Reference to Contrary Sexual Instinct: A Medico-Legal Study. Translated by Charles Gilbert Chaddock, 7th edn. London; Philadelphia: F.A, Davis Co, 1892. Viewed 12 May 2014. https://ia600307.us.archive.org/24/items/psychopathiasexualis00kraf/psychopathia sexualis00kraf_djvu.txt. Fawver, Kurt. ‘Little Girls and Psychic Fiends: Nabokov's Lolita as Vampire Tale’ Notes and Queries.’ 58.1 (2011): 133-138. Fechter, Stephen. The Woodsman. New York: Samuel French, 2009. Foucault, Michel. The Will to Knowledge: The History of Sexuality. Vol. 1. Translated by Robert Hurley. London: Penguin Group, 1998. Foucault, Michel, Guy Hocquenghem and Jean Danet. ‘The Danger of Child Sexuality,’ in Michel Foucault: Politics, Philosophy, Culture: Interviews and Other Writings, edited by Lawrence D. Kritzman. Translated by Alan Sheridan. New York: Routledge, 1988. Freeman, Elizabeth. ‘Honeymoon with a Stranger: Pedophiliac Picaresques from Poe to Nabokov,’ American Literature 70 (1998): 863-97. Freud, Sigmund. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Translated by James Strachey. Vol. 27. 1917-1919. London: Vintage, 1999. ———. Totem and Taboo: Resemblances Between the Psychic Lives of Savages and Neurotics. Translated by A.A. Brill (New York: Moffat Yard and Co, 1918) Greenhill, Pauline, and Steven Kohm. ‘Little Red Riding Hood and the Pedophile in Film: Freeway, Hard Candy and The Woodsman.’ Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures 1.2 (2009): 35-65.

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__________________________________________________________________ Haggerty, George E. Queer Gothic. Illinois: University of Illinois press, 2006. Hari, Johann. ‘Alan Bennett and the Question of Innocence.’ Independent, 27 November 2009. Viewed 17 January 2015. http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-alanbennett-and-the-question-of-innocence-1828408.html. Holmgren Troy, Maria. ‘The Vampire Child: Predator and Prey’ at Devils and Dolls: Dichotomous Depictions of the Child (2013). University of Bristol, UK. Draft chapter produced 2014. Hughes, William, and Andrew Smith. eds. Queering the Gothic. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2009. Ingham, John M. ‘Primal Scene and Misreading in Nabokov's Lolita.’ American Imago 59.1 (2002): 27-52. Kincaid, James. Child-Loving: The Erotic Child and Victorian Culture. New York: Routledge, 1994. ———. Erotic Innocence: The Culture of Child Molesting. Durham; London: Duke University Press, 1998. King, Stephen. IT. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2007. ———. The Green Mile. London: Orion Books Ltd, 1999. ———. ‘The Library Policeman’. Four Past Midnight. New York: Penguin Books, 1991. Lang, Andrew, ed. The Blue Fairy Book. London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1889. Leach, Karoline. In the Shadow of the Dreamchild: A New Understanding of Lewis Carroll. London: Peter Owen, 1999. Lewis, M. G. Ambrosio, or the Monk: A Romance. Vol. 3. London: J. Bell, 1798. Lindqvist, John Ajvide. Let the Right One In. London: Quercus, 2007.

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__________________________________________________________________ Nabokov, Vladimir. The Annotated Lolita. New York: Vintage, 1991. Orenstein, Catherine. Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked: Sex, Morality, and the Evolution of A Fairy. New York: Basic Books, 2002. O’Carroll, Tom. Paedophilia: A Radical Case. London: Peter Owen, 1980. O’ Rourke Michael, and David Collings. ‘Queer Romanticisms: Past, Present and Future’, Romanticism on the Net. 36–7. November 2004 - February 2005. Viewed 12 January 2015. DOI : 10.7202/011132ar. Parkhill, Chad. ‘The Prometheus of Paedophilia: Sexual Violence and Queermaking in Stephen King’s The Library Policeman.’ Crossroads 3.2 (2009): 99109. Rice, Anne. Interview with the Vampire. Great Britain: Sphere, 2010. Rose, Jacqueline. The Case of Peter Pan. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1984. Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. The Coherence of Gothic Conventions. New York: Arno, 1980. ———. Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire. New York: Columbia University Press, 1985. Showalter, Elaine. Sexual Anarchy: Gender and Culture at the Fin de Siècle. London: Bloomsbury, 1991. Slotkin, Joel. ‘Honeyed Toads: Sinister Aesthetics in Shakespeare's Richard III,’ Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies 7.1 (2007): 5-32. Spooner, Catherine. Contemporary Gothic. London: Reaktion Books, Ltd, 2006. Stead, William T. ‘The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon’, Pall Mall Gazette, July, 1885. Viewed 5 July 2014. http://www.attackingthedevil.co.uk/pmg/tribute/hope.php. Stevenson, Robert Louis. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. London: Penguin Group, 1994.

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__________________________________________________________________ Stoker, Bram, Dracula. London: Sphere, 2006. Tergit, Gabriele. ‘Review: Fritz Lang's M: Filmed Sadism.’ The Weimar Republic Sourcebook, edited by Anton Kaes, Martin Jay, Edward Dimendberg, 632-633. CA: University of California Press, 1994. Walker, Shaun. ‘Vladimir Putin: Gay People at Winter Olympics must “Leave Children Alone.”’ Guardian, 17 January 2014. Viewed on 19 January 2015. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/17/vladimir-putin-gay-winterolympics-children. Zipes, Jack, ed. The Trials and Tribulations of Little Red Riding Hood. 2nd edn. New York; London: Routledge, 1993.

Filmography and Misc. M. Directed by Fritz Lang, nc: Nero-Film, 1931. F65.4 Paedophilia. “The ICD-10 Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders Diagnostic criteria for research World”. World Health Organization. 1993, viewed 12 May 2014. http://www.who.int/classifications/icd/en/GRNBOOK.pdf. Old Bailey Proceedings online. Viewed 15 May 2014. http://www.oldbaileyonline.org. Dr Jen Baker recently completed her doctorate at the University of Bristol in which she analysed haunting depictions of child death and the dead-child body in Anglo-American literature and culture c.1830-1914. She is also co-founder and co-Chief Editor of HARTS & Minds journal (https://www.hartsminds.co.uk/) and works more broadly on Victorian and Contemporary gothic manifestations.

Creeper Bogeyman: Cultural Narratives of Gay as Monstrous Sergio Fernando Juárez Abstract The purpose of this chapter is to explore the relationship between cultural stories of monsters with cultural anxieties of queer sexuality. Through an analysis of the film Jeepers Creepers, I hope to illuminate the on-going narratives of queer sexuality that frame it as monstrous and deviant but also portray it as a threat to communities and the self, associating it with child molestation and paedophilia. Theories of monstrosity and auteur theory provide a lens from which we can examine cultural anxieties manifested in film. Cultural narratives of monsters not only warn subjects of danger but also have a material effect on individuals in spaces where these particular anti-queer narratives are dominant. I argue that narratives of queer sexuality as monstrous are perpetuated in the film but also provide a glimpse into a larger social issue of homophobia and the internalization of hegemonic narratives. Key Words: Queer, gay, sexuality, monstrosity, paedophilia, child molester, religion, bogeymen, hegemony, homophobia, auteur theory, discursive auteur. ***** 1. Introduction The term Creeper is slang for someone whose behaviour is questionable and could be described as creepy. It is also the name of the bogeyman in the film Jeepers Creepers; it is writer/director Victor Salva’s manifestation of a monster who is both a child molester and a gay male. Unfortunately this manifestation of a bogeyman reifies cultural and media narratives that merge and conflate queer sexuality with paedophilia and child molestation. Salva’s preoccupation with religion, family, and young men in fearful situations comes from his experiences with his family but also from his punishment for molesting a child. Salva’s experiences and inner struggles, as well as the surrounding culture, clearly influence the film; I, therefore, argue that the version of the bogeyman, the Creeper, in this film works in a manner which continues dominant narratives of queer sexuality as criminal, violent, deviant, and monstrous. These dominant narratives also frame queer sexuality as a threat to the community and the self by linking it to both paedophilia and impending death; these violent narratives of queer sexuality have a material effect on queer members of our communities. When Salva was young his stepfather was abusive toward him, and he admits to being hit and thrown around.1 Salva also struggled with navigating his sexuality around family, and at the age of eighteen Salva was thrown out of his home: ‘I was thrown out of the house at eighteen—they told me to stop being gay or get out,’ and this traumatic event was antecedent to a much more troubling period of Salva’s

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__________________________________________________________________ life.2 Years later during filming of the movie Clownhouse, Victor Salva molested twelve year old star of the film Nathan Winters.3 After his mother questioned him, the child, Nathan, admitted that Salva had abused him in Salva’s home and made a videotape.4 Salva pleaded guilty to five felonies from the original eleven charged against him, including lewd and lascivious conduct, having oral sex with a person under 14, and procuring a child for pornography, and he ultimately served 19 months of a 3 year sentence in Soledad state prison.5 These traumatic personal experiences of growing up in a conservative Catholic home along with having molested a child illuminate the development of conflated and internalized hegemonic thoughts of homosexuality with child molestation and paedophilia. This type of conflated thinking is discussed by Harry Benshoff in his chapter ‘The Monster and the Homosexual,’ in which he interrogates the relationship between monsters as cultural narratives and queer sexuality. Benshoff begins by outlining three topic areas on heterosexual fears derived from a study of anti-[gay] attitudes completed in 1984.6 The three topic areas of heterosexual fears include 1) [gay] sexuality as a threat to the individual, 2) homosexuality as a threat to others, and 3) [gay] sexuality as a threat to community. I also want to be clear about turning away from utilizing the term ‘homosexuality’ because it pathologizes gay sexuality. The term will be replaced with terms like gay and queer specifically to refer to gay male sexuality and sexual behaviour, and this is done in solidarity with queer scholarship.7 This chapter will begin with a synopsis of Jeepers Creepers followed by a theoretical review of monstrosity and culture, and auteur theory. Next I offer my analysis of the film followed by a section on the material effects of anti-queer narratives on communities. The film opens with siblings Darry and Trish, two college students, driving home through the Florida countryside for spring break. Immediately they encounter a maniac who is trying to run them off the road. This maniac is the film’s bogeyman named the Creeper. Every twenty-three years the Creeper awakens to feed for twenty-three days. Darry played by actor Justin Long catches the Creeper tossing what looks like a dead body wrapped in blankets into a pipe. Overcome by curiosity and a need to help, Darry convinces his sister to go back to see. Begrudgingly Trish complies, and they investigate what is in the pipe, which is conspicuously located next to an abandoned church. Darry then decides he needs a closer look and falls into the Creeper’s lair, hidden underneath the same church. This is the beginning of the chase: the Creeper begins to hunt the siblings, ultimately catching both. The Creeper only chooses one, Darry. After sniffing and tasting them, the Creeper throws Trish aside, flies away and takes Darry to its new hidden lair, what looks like an abandoned meat processing plant, where the Creeper has taken Darry’s eyes by cutting off the rear portion of his skull

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__________________________________________________________________ 2. Analysing Film through a Cultural Lens of Monstrosity A. Auteur Theory Mediums, such as television and film, are tools that are neither inherently good nor bad but that allow what Mair Rigby identifies as a playfulness in horror. Playfulness within film and television writing is a tool that allows theorists to explore the development of monstrous characters that possess the ability to question epistemic hierarchies in a subtle and shrouded manner: Playfulness is perhaps the crucial tool of queer theoretical practice which allows barriers and thresholds to be crossed, sexual and gendered roles to be explored, and, importantly the acknowledgement of the role of fantasy within different discourses.8 Queer perspectives are embedded within the text of various mediums from books, television, and film, like the tale found within I am Legend. Jamil Khader argues that the book I am Legend is a veiled attempt by author Richard Matheson to write a story of gay desire between two men who are unable to openly express their desire.9 In television, playfulness exhibits itself in what Michael DeAngelis terms ‘gay style,’ it is a style which purposely shrouds queer views of sexuality within its content and can be traced to a specific studio. ‘Gay style’ specifically refers to the marketing practices of Robert Stigwood Organization (RSO) studios during the 70’s when there was an increased ‘influence of a more visible gay culture upon the consumer behavioural patterns of the mainstream, straight identified public,’ yet content purposely concealed gay sexuality.10 DeAngelis theorizes that film and television have an authorial signature, a technique or style specific to producers and directors.11 DeAngelis describes a ‘gay style’ that is an elaborate strategy that distances association with ‘gay’ culture yet is visible within the content developed at RSO Studios.12 Authorial signatures in film and television point to a reciprocal influence between the auteur and the context that surrounds them. The gothic is a space where stories of queer sexuality and gender can be disguised behind the guise of horror. It is a space that attracts queer narratives, and specifically, horror is a genre where queer narratives live and can be interrogated. Auteur theory, then, furnishes a link between the text of the film, the producer/writer of the film, and a larger cultural context. Through the film text we can explore the relationship between Victor Salva’s experiences and the implications of larger cultural influence. It is important to note that Salva develops his movies from what he knows saying ‘When you’re a filmmaker, you make movies about what you know.’13 The statement offered here reveals a perspective that is traceable throughout the film, from the development of the Creeper’s body to its portrayal of sexuality and gender. The manifestation of sexuality and gender evident in this film, thus, originates specifically from Victor Salva’s perspective, a

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__________________________________________________________________ perspective that is in relation to religion, which is a trope throughout the film with symbols of crosses, an abandoned church, and a recreation of the Sistine Chapel. B. Theorizing Culture, Sexuality and Film Michael Saunders in the book Imps of the Perverse: Gay Monsters in Film describes the cultural struggles with queer sexuality specifying that these debates centre on the restriction of queer sexuality as a threat to the public.14 In the seventies conservative Americans called for gay people to be imprisoned and committed to mental hospitals. Scott Cohen also describes the U.S. landscape providing a historical development linking gay sexuality to violence and specifically serial killers.15 Fear of serial killers became more prominent in the 70’s and crested in the late 80s, and films like Psycho in the 60’s, Halloween and Friday the 13th through the late 70’s and 80’s, and Silence of the Lambs in the 90’s illustrate this fascination with serial killers during each of the respective decades in United States History. This tendency to depict gay sexuality as monstrous in part derives from how American conservative communities have framed gay sexuality at times as something barely to be tolerated while other times as criminal behaviour. The male body always has the potential to haunt itself and others; it is always already implying a return to the regressed and savage, or as expressed by Ann Davies, ‘male beauty always carries within it a potential decay into the abject.’16 The idea that gay sexuality is something that should be hidden because it is abject is echoed by Saunders who claims that as a community, the United States tolerates people of varying sexual orientations, and although we no longer jail our queer community, the conservative communities believe: We can accept that being gay might be a private matter that is nobody’s business as long as it remains a private matter, and as long as it does, we won’t worry about whether any harm is being done.17 In other words, as long as this behaviour is maintained out of view it is acceptable. Yet from a conservative view society at large is in danger because allowing someone to be openly gay is tolerated at all. Conservative groups believe that because they have allowed people to be gay, their tolerance of gay identified people and their behaviour is therefore a matter of question for the public. Saunders describes this sentiment saying ‘through public institutions (like the law) that being gay is not a problem and that it is legitimate to sanction intimate relationships between gay people or the inclination to form such relationships,’ thus it is a belief that gay behaviour is something that is to be tolerated but not approved.18 More specifically, conservatives say that we in society put ourselves in danger by condoning gay sexuality: we endanger the integrity of traditional

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__________________________________________________________________ families, we endanger national security, and we put our society at large in the position of giving its assent to a way of living that is fundamentally immoral. Embedded within this conservative argument is a question of visibility, one which implies gay sexuality is acceptable so long as visibility remains hidden, and along the same vein, that it is the visibility of gay people that makes them dangerous. As long as it is not openly admitted that we as a community see them, people who identify as gay are not all that much of a threat. Because, as long as people keep their sexuality closeted and private, we can admit that they can do good jobs for their employers and contribute responsibly to the welfare of the nation. It is only when gay people insist on being seen, on being recognized and then left to go about their business unmolested, that they represent a threat to social order. As long as people don’t insist that we see them, we can pretend that they don’t figure into the shaping of society. What this argument seems to affirm is that the visibility of gay people is a monstrous condition in the most traditional senses of the word: ‘what makes [gay] sexuality dangerous is looking at it, admitting we can see it.’19 Heteronormative behaviour continues to be normalized; heterosexual standards sustain power by maintaining that being gay is harmful to communities. This line of thought legitimizes the harm that can be done to people that are deemed ‘deviant monsters’ and violence done toward their bodies is justified. Right-wing, conservative, fundamentalist Christians in American society have long sought to demonize queer sexualities within all aspects of American life.20 One example of how even the government has associated queer sexuality and violence occurred during the Reagan years in the 80’s. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was the primary source of the public’s information on serial killers, and in October of 1983 FBI Agent Robert Ressler published a book of a decade-long study on serial killers. During a press conference about the book, FBI officials declared a firm link between murder and sexual sadism, saying ‘Alternative sexuality had to be a part of the serial killer’s profile,’ and they explained that a portion of a serial killer’s behavior is due to possessing a deviant sexuality.21 In his work, Benshoff also reminds us of the conservative views of the early 90’s in the United States; films like the The Gay Agenda released by fundamentalist Christian group Springs of Life Ministry, employed discredited experts to spread hate by providing their ‘truthful’ testimonies portraying gay people as ‘depraved creatures’ and making the claim that people who identify as queer are ‘violent, degraded monsters and their evil agenda is to destroy the fabric of American society.’22 These narratives of queer sexuality as deviant and criminal gave America a new monster to fear.23 The term monster, therefore, imprecisely describes people like Ed Gein, Ted Bundy, Henry Lee Lucas, and Jeffery Dahmer as well as mythical creatures like the Scylla, Werewolves, and Vampires. It is an elastic term including all sorts of beings. However, the definition of the serial killer as ‘sexual deviant’ offered a new cultural image on monstrosity, a powerful tool for emerging forces in politics

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__________________________________________________________________ and society that sought to counter the sexual revolution, second wave feminism, and the emerging struggle for gay and lesbian rights.24 In his work, Saunders argues that ‘Monsters are anomalous creatures that serve as signs indicating the consequences of deviating from the natural order…’25 He goes on to explain how they offer a simplistic contrast between God and those that do not follow God’s path. Saunders states that at its essence the monster is a symbol of power, revealing who has it and who does not; monsters reveal terror and divinity.26 Monsters are meant to be seen, but simultaneously they are an image intended to discourage people, ‘either through fear or through awe, from looking too long where we ought not to look.’27 Figures like the modern werewolf reflect concepts of monsters’ interconnected sexuality and queerness that are similar to scary tales of bogeymen. The werewolf has been portrayed in most of these cases as ‘schizophrenic (from the emic perspective), as a human divided against itself, unable to control its emotions or its body’;28 it is a creature that cannot overcome its most basic cravings. Yet vampirism unlike lycanthropy offers the possibility of transcending the human condition; becoming a werewolf appears like a step not only backward to a natural being, but also downward on the evolutionary scale. It is a step toward savage and ‘into the dirt and excrement of earthy existence while vampirism is characterized by light skin, social affluence and sophistication.’29 In his chapter, Carlo Comanducci argues that monstrosity, as a function of power, possesses the ability to name real and imaginary relations between social subjects,30 and I agree to a certain extent. However, I diverge in that I believe that whether real or imagined, relations between social subjects are reflected in monsters. Furthermore, I agree that monsters are informed by subjects in dominant positions but also that it is important to note that power is reflected in the ability to project fears and desires into monsters and mythical characters. Harry Benshoff describes how monsters dwell ‘at the gates of difference’ and because of their ‘deviant’ sexual behaviour their skin is marked as ‘dark’ skin. The dark skin of monsters, demons, and bogeymen is associated with the fires of hell.31 The marking of monstrous peoples with dark skin is implicated in power. Communities in power wield the ability to name or identify which behaviour or appearance is monstrous and which is divine. As Kendall Phillips says ‘Horror therefore, provides a dark mirror in which we can examine ourselves by honestly facing the shadow side of the human condition as well as our deepest intuitive (and inviolate) sense of right and wrong.’32 These thresholds live within monsters; the monster absorbs meaning out of its historical context and, in turn, invests that context with meaning. Through monsters and horror, culture can reflect upon itself and view the fears it is unwilling to acknowledge.

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__________________________________________________________________ 3. Film Analysis A. The Monster’s Body is a Cultural Construct Queer sexuality is often characterized as depraved, monstrous and often associated with paedophilia, and the very bodies of bogeymen display this transgression of boundaries. This point is affirmed by Jen Baker who presents the work of sexologists Krafft-Ebing and Havelock Ellis who claim that sexual perversions were fundamentally ‘written on the body’ and provide a description of one of their patients who is said to be ‘an imbecile, and physically deformed, being scarcely 1.5 metres tall; cranium rachitic and hydrocephalic; teeth bad, furrowed, defective, and irregular’;33 the bodies of those who are judged as deviant are described as monstrous bodies. Viefhues focuses on the ‘body’ as a site of theological knowledge in order to explore commonalities in the queer and religious bodies and to explain that the body is always a factor to consider when theorizing about sexuality.34 The body is a place of struggle and excess sexuality is physically marked as other, beyond human and monstrous.35 Viefhues himself writes: The body doesn’t go away, and the body is the receptacle for all these things in our lives that don’t go away even when we try so hard to make them disappear.36 The body is, therefore, a site of knowledge but also struggle. Viefhues argues this struggle is visible in theological writings in which the body is rejected, and he describes this as ‘an astonishing absence’ from theorizing, with the body being conceptualized as an abstract thought lacking ‘flesh and blood.’37 Viefhues believes that as a theological site, the body is left behind, and furthermore, any sensible theologian must reject being able to make sense of the body.38 This is attributed to a ‘continuous history of denigration and body-hatred in Catholic theology’ and Christian tradition has echoed this sentiment with body-hating male ascetics dominating theorizing of the body.39 Viefhues supports a more complicated view of incarnational theology than traditional ascetic Christian theology where the body is theorized as a locus of struggle. The body and soul are able to cooperate and flourish through the Spirit’s governance. Here the soul is not viewed as lacking integrity because it is identified with desires of the body nor is it imagined dichotomously as either a ‘life of body and soul governed by principles of divine or by principles of death.’40 The abject body is ‘identified with the rejected sides of our lives, and the body as ground for our contradictions and ambiguities.’41 In his work, Phillips argues that the bodies of bogeymen are an example of what happens to those who transgress the boundaries.42 Similarly, Cohen’s third thesis states that monsters are the harbingers of category crisis because they escape easy categorization.43 A body that cannot be identified as either male or female and does not fit neatly in a dichotomous hierarchy troubles conservative epistemic

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__________________________________________________________________ ordering. Like werewolves and vampires, bogeymen are figures of fear that date back to early human history. The word ‘bogey’ is generated from the generic term ‘boggle’ used to describe creatures like devils, ogres, or spirits that torment and at times devour their victims.44 Bogeymen are found across many cultures and their existence reflects cultural anxieties. Bogeymen have historically served three functions: they are a threatening chaos, an object lesson in morality, and a threatening punisher. Bogeymen, like other monsters, stand at the threshold of cultural norms. Bogeymen serve not only as a boundary marker but also as a mirror, warning us what we might become if we stray too far.45 Monsters, bogeymen, serial killers, werewolves, vampires, are all devilish creatures with each having developed a specific aesthetic which makes them not only easy to recognize but also provides a historical narrative of monstrosity and culture. The play Faust then provides an example of devils being associated with illicit behaviour. In Faust, written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in the 1830s, the devil possesses many similarities to the Creeper from Jeepers Creepers. Colvin describes the villain stating that Mephistopheles requires the central protagonist Faust to mimic his image: ‘Faust is to mirror him in a costume that signals the aggressively sexualized maleness that is also traditionally associated with the Devil (the goats head and/or the horns, the pointed phallic tail, the lustful and aggressive disposition.’46 The Devil is representative of temptation, of the prohibited and of the border of immorality.47 This dichotomous relationship between good and evil marks bodies as either divine or tragic.48 It is tragic bodies that are marked as being demons or devils in stark contrast to angelic white and bright figures.49 Devils push societal boundaries of behaviour and are marked through imagery as well as behaviour. Devils and demons are coded as behaving without inhibition while angelic creatures are constructed as restrained. They cannot commit acts violating social boundaries of sexual expression, and if one does, they have become devilish. The inability to control desire is coded as animalistic, and therefore the ability of the Devil to convert into and be visualized as an animal becomes logical.50 The bogeyman Creeper is semi-human but not quite, defined by its predatory characteristics, it is agile like a cat and possesses wings like a bat. Furthermore, the Creeper behaves like a predator in the wild, but in the film it is also described as having cat like predatory qualities. The body of the Creeper, like that of the Creature from the Black Lagoon, contains meaning, and like all monstrous bodies, there are spaces where taboo experiences may exist. If the body of a monster is read as a text, it should be noted that meaning does not originate in the author of the monster but rather should be seen as subject positioned in a particular way in relation to larger culture.51 The bodies are embedded with community history and feeling, representative of what is considered excessive behaviour but also of the consequences of what happens when one transgresses social boundaries: one becomes monstrous. It is no coincidence that the shape and look of the Creeper is

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__________________________________________________________________ similar to the look of a devil like Faust, Caliban, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Narratives of excess sexuality being associated with dark skin and monstrosity can also be found in Renaissance literature. In her chapter, Kristen Wright draws upon the historical development of Caliban who is dark skinned, animal like, and possibly a child of the devil.52 Caliban, through his association with medieval depictions of African monsters with his dark skin and excess sexuality, is linked to monstrosity and the devil.53 The physical bodies of monsters mark what people may become if they continue behaving like monsters. They warn us of what we will become and therefore also mark a threshold that signifies difference and create ridged hierarchical structures. Hierarchical structures of identity are built through narratives with implied messages warning people to not be like those dark others. Ludger Viefhues links the limitations of traditional epistemic ordering to horror and the body.54 Viefhues cites Stanley Cavell saying ‘Horror is the title I am giving the perception of the precariousness of human identity, to the perception that it may be lost or invaded, that we may be, or may become, something other than we are….’55 It is gender-troubled bodies that escape easy identification that represent the fragility of our systems of order and point to the trust, risk, and horror that reside at the center of all of our cultural knowledge. B. Darry and the Creeper Through examination of the relationship between the main character Darry and the Creeper we can extrapolate how film director Victor Salva interpolated himself in the film. I argue that the relationship between these characters is significant because it serves as a metaphor for Salva’s life: it is a story of a young innocent teenager who becomes a monster. In the film the Creeper ultimately chooses Darry as a victim and eats his eyes. Through death Darry becomes a part of the monster. Likewise, Salva was a young, innocent boy who starts feeling like a monster when his parents discovered gay porn magazines under his bed and his monstrosity was realized when he molested a child. Salva even expresses his fascination with monsters, like the Creature from the Black Lagoon who is Salva’s favourite creature, saying ‘When someone in the movie pointed and screamed, “Arrrgh, he’s so hideous! He’s so ugly!” I thought, No the monster is the most interesting thing about the movie. I wonder what he’s thinking and feeling.’56 Salva clearly emphathizes with the monster. Symbolically the Creeper and Darry are linked to one another through the death of Darry, but upon closer examination, we can tease out the link between them through the utilization of sexual and gender ambiguity. The sexuality of both main characters is established early in the film. First, in the film’s opening Darry and Trish are having a conversation in the car when Darry asks Trish about her relationship with a boy from school, yet no relationship is mentioned for Darry. Second, Darry asks Trish if she’s attracted to a young male police officer. Third, a

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__________________________________________________________________ rose tattoo around Darry’s belly button is revealed as he falls down a well. Fourth, the relationship between the main-protagonists is not a traditional one because they are brother and sister and not romantic interests. Typically we see romantic partners as the lead protagonists in horror films like Halloween, Fridays the 13th, and others. Both the sexuality and gender of the Creeper are purposely vague and emit a queer undertone. But it is more than a queer undertone that is decipherable. In Jeepers Creepers the Creeper is a bogeyman that only eats from the bodies of men, and it is not seen consuming from the bodies of women, though it has terrorized female victims. On four different occasions the Creeper casts aside women, and the first of which is the scene with the police officers. The Creeper is not seen eating from the flesh of the female police officer, and instead the Creeper chooses to throw her aside. In a similar situation the character named ‘Cat Lady’ is tossed aside while the Creeper is chasing Darry and Trish. It is focused on the bodies of men while the bodies of women are disposable. The clues provided hint that the sexuality of the Creeper is gay. Yet its gender is also ambiguous even though it clearly performs as a masculine character. Still, the character Jezelle provides a clue later in the film, stating that the Creeper dresses like a man only to hide that it is not a man. While this can be interpreted as referring to the Creeper being a monster, it more adequately refers to the monster’s sexuality and gender from a homophobic perspective that constructs gay sexuality as less than. The message here is that being a gay man does not equal to being a heterosexual man. It is, therefore, not only important that we uncover the link between these characters but also how sexuality is negatively characterized through their relationship. In this film being gay is constructed as leading to pain, violence, suffering, and death; it is a monstrous condition to be living in and a danger to yourself and society. C. Being Gay is a Danger The Creeper’s deviant and threatening sexuality is also reflected in its methods of sustenance. It is a danger to the self and to the community. Like many other monsters including vampires, it cannot reproduce in a conventional manner, and instead it must consume its victims to sustain itself; similarly, vampires sustain their own lives and pass their cursed state to others through a bite and ‘recruit’ by killing. From the natural selection argument, parents have an evolutionary interest in the sexual orientation of their children because gay offspring are less likely to reproduce, and this line of thought explains some of the prevailing negative understandings of gay sexuality. Being gay is an unnatural occurrence and goes against the will of god; this mindset then allows a construction of gay sexuality as ‘strictly a lifestyle choice, then no one is born gay and therefore more gays must be created through recruitment and toxic exposure to the gay lifestyle or its affirmation,’ making characters like werewolves and vampires apt metaphors for the exploration of modern society’s homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism.57

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__________________________________________________________________ Same sex desires are a danger to society and are a source of fear when constructed as a contagion that must be contained. Rigby argues that a sense of ‘nameless,’ ‘deadly,’ ‘sickness’ echoes discourses through which the possibility of desire between men has been imagined as a kind of disease, something that leads to ‘death of the race.’58 Clark explains narratives that portray gay males as a contagion saying that gay people ‘might molest children and that such molestation might cause the victims to become [gay] themselves.’59 He further argues that it is the one-drop rule: if a male participates in a single gay experience, he is forever defined as a gay male regardless of participating in a single or multiple heterosexual acts. Excessive desire between men is a danger to society because it works to undermine masculine identity, and gay subjectivity is a rhetorical production that is ‘unspeakable,’ associated with madness, death, and damnation.’60 These characteristics are also similar to that of ‘werewolves’ in that both their excess is coded as animalistic and that they must bite their victims to recruit others.61 Whomever the Creeper consumes becomes a part of its body; the narrative of gay male as a predator still exists today.62 Gay sexuality has been a politicizing issue in the United States and the political rhetoric demonizing it is evident in the 1960’s. According to David Patternote, the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) included the voices of other sexual minorities in the 60’s and 70’s but that changed in the 80’s.63 He also clarified the dissociation between young activists who defended the lowering of the age of consent laws but not the complete removal of age limitation.64 The interests of liberation between activists who supported paedophilia rights and sexual liberty of young people necessarily diverged, and Patternotte points to a conference in 1989 in Vienna as a key moment of dissociation.65 Then in November of 1994 the US government publicly stated that it could not support ILGA’s status as consultant as long as it supported pro-paedophilia members within its ranks.66 In his work, Stephen Clark makes a clear distinction between someone who is a child molester and someone who is a paedophile, saying that ‘not all who molest children are paedophile, nor do all paedophiles molest. Child sexual abuse, child molestation, incest, and pederasty are not equivalent to paedophilia.’67 Paedophilia is a psychiatric diagnosis defined in part by recurrent, intense sexual fantasies, and urges that happen over a period of six months or more.68 Some activists followed a similar line of thinking and argued for paedophilia as a sexuality, though I believe it should not be equated to queer sexuality. Groups like the Swedish RFSL maintained that ‘a sexual relationship between a child and an adult by definition implies sexual abuse, since it cannot be determined whether the relationship is voluntary or not.’69 Young activists in the gay movement emphasized that we focus on power relations within lesbian and gay groups. A recommendation letter by activists to ILGA stated that ‘Sexual relations between sexually immature children and adults may often constitute an abuse of the chid. ILGA should work against such abuse on a global basis.’70As Richard Gartner argues ‘a child is not

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__________________________________________________________________ developmentally capable of considering or comprehending the emotional implications of sexual behaviour with an adult,’ and because of this a child cannot enter into a consensual sexual encounter with an adult.71 However, despite evidence that gay sexuality is not linked with paedophilia, many continue trying to make these claims. Queer sexuality is continuously linked to child molestation, rape, and violence. In the media and during the Catholic Church Scandals of 2002 those who molested children were referred to as paedophiles and associated with gay sexuality. A New York Times article in 2002 reflected this association with the title ‘Pedophile Scandals’ where Vatican officials indicted gay sexuality as the culprit of these scandals.72 Official spokesman and a psychiatrist by training, Doctor Joacquin Navarro-Valls, stated that ‘people with these [gay] sexual inclinations just cannot be ordained. That does not imply a final judgment on people with [gay] sexuality. But you cannot be in this field.’73 An argument that clearly articulates these sentiments came from Karl Mauer of Catholic Citizens of Illinois, saying ‘This scandal is not about preying on kids. It’s about [gay] sexual men doing what [gay] sexual men do, which is preying on teenage boys.’74 The position of paedophilia as a sexuality is now defunct, but similar fears still exist, despite the history of queer activism dissociating itself from paedophile activism and also supporting age of consent limitations. Furthermore, as Clark states, heterosexual males are more likely to be child molesters by a ratio of 2 to 1; moreover, heterosexual men commit 85% of murders, 90% of assaults, 95% of domestic violence, dating violence, and sexual abuse, and 99.8% of rapes.75 In U.S. culture adult men have much more access to boys than they do girls, but girls outnumber boys as victims by a factor of two to one.76 Also, abuse of boys is underreported with approximately one in six boys having experienced direct sexual contact by the age of sixteen with an older child or adult.77 Fortunately, there is no scientific basis connecting gay sexuality and the sexual abuse of children. However, that defunct stance was echoed in 2013 by Matt Barber who wrote ‘you may think that such abject evil simply represents the fringe of today’s sexual “progressivism.” It does not.’78 Barber views progressive queer rights activism as a threat to children’s safety, and so he attempted to cast doubt on Obama’s appointment of Kevin Jennings, the founder of the ‘Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network,’ or GLSEN, to the post of ‘safe schools czar.’79 Due to these violent narratives of sexuality and the history of making that which is other, monstrous, it should be clear that neither queer sexualities nor specifically gay sexuality should be linked with paedophilia or child molestation. Regardless of someone being a paedophile, child abuser, heterosexual, or gay, experts believe child abuse is an addiction with a high recidivism rate and therapist Lucia Chambers stated ‘Child-abuse studies tell us [paedophilia] is an addiction, a repetitive compulsion’ and ‘even after prison time, [Salva] should be watched all

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__________________________________________________________________ the time.’80 There is not a single theory explaining either child molestation or paedophilia and child molestation is a crime of opportunity.81 Clark states: some child molesters might be categorized as heterosexual in their relations with other adults but as either bisexual or homosexual in their relations with children. This has led some researchers to suggest that the gender of the child is not as important to the molester as the child’s age, immaturity, lack of power, or vulnerability.82 Salva has been in therapy for over twenty years and has volunteered with Forgotten Souls Redeemed, a group who runs weekly workshops with juvenile sex offenders that encourages them to express themselves through writing journals and poetry. Salva believes he has paid the price, and he wants people to know that he’s not a pervert or a threat to society saying ‘People don’t know who I am,’ insisting ‘They have the strangest ideas about me. I want them to know, just for the record that I admit to all my mistakes and I’m moving on.’83 Salva’s Creeper is both a queer monster but also should be associated with being a child molester. From the film narrative he represents what one becomes when they commit monstrous acts like having gay sex but should also be recognized for molesting a child. Though it is not until Jeepers Creepers 2 that the Creeper is seen abducting the child of a farmer. By naming his titular bogeyman the ‘Creeper,’ Salva is clearly indicating that the monster is a Creeper, a term associated with someone who is possibly a paedophile or child molester. These narratives of what we might become are visible in certain communities. Causing people to hide their sexual orientation but also causing people to believe those narratives. Although most leaders in the Christian right stop short of advocating direct violence against and genocide for LGTBQ community members, it is the logical endpoint of their ideology. For, if queer sexuality is found, or believed to be, immutable, and Christian fundamentalists judge that the presence of queer people so ‘angers god that he rains natural disasters, death, famine, and disease among us, the next step might involve easing god’s wrath by eliminating homosexuals.’84 Salva in this film reifies that being a gay male leads to death and is a danger to society in a similar way to the narrative of the AIDS crisis in the 80’s that significantly fuelled the rhetoric that painted gay men as contagion, and this trope is made clear through vampire characters. Benshoff states ‘Gay men, now more than ever, are contagions, they are vampires-who, and a single mingling of blood, can infect a pure and innocent victim.’85 The Creeper, in a similar way, is what a gay person becomes when they give in to their illicit desires. Because Darry was curious and wanted to see for himself what was in the basement of the Church, he instigated a chain reaction that would eventually lead to his death. Death represents

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__________________________________________________________________ the transition in Salva’s life and his loss of innocence after having been punished for being gay and having molested a child. Salva no longer saw the world through the naïve eyes of a young man like Darry, but through the eyes of a monster; having become a monster after going to prison and living through his own ‘House of Pain.’ The young naïve Darry has lost his innocence and no longer views the world through his naïve eyes. Because he has given in to his illicit desires. The world will no longer be the same for Darry who now must face the consequences of becoming a monster. D. The House of Pain The ‘House of Pain’ is a space with multiple meanings; in the film it is the Creeper’s lair housed in the basement of a Church. It is also representative of the experience Salva had while in prison and his identity as a child molester. Salva discloses that while in jail he was beaten ‘beyond recognition’ because of having molested a child and having ties to Hollywood. He states ‘I was never more scared or closer to death than I was in prison’ and ‘I received no therapy there. Prisons are not places for rehabilitation or learning to understand yourself or your actions. They’re monster factories.’86 Salva further describes prison as: a very dark place…when you walk in, you literally walk— naked—under a signal that says, “Abandon hope all ye who enter here.” You’re really thrown on the garbage of humanity. It was a very humbling lesson to learn that there were people who belonged in prison and that I had to count myself among them.87 Salva leaves prison believing gay bodies are abject bodies, signifying excess queer sexuality, thus they are subject to punishment.88 The Creeper’s lair is place of punishment but also a closet signifying a purposeful metaphor about the systemic silencing of identity. By not sharing one’s sexual identity, the individual can challenge a homonormativity engendered in gay liberation politics. Silencing queer sexuality may be ‘pleasurable’ in an environment in which heterosexual and homosexual identities are culturally constructed as equally acceptable and desirable. Queer sexuality is an: embodiment of an unnameable sexual desire, therefore, the closet resists symbolization and can only be inhabited by an aberrant monstrosity…Exiting in excess of the symbolic, this monstrosity produces an uncanny effect in the subject that unravels the subjects inability to know itself fully. 89 Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick states, ‘all gay people, no matter how openly they are, will eventually find themselves in the closet with someone who is close to them

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__________________________________________________________________ either personally, professionally or economically.’90 Since these others may lack knowledge of the secret, or the open wound, coming out and the exhortation to come out will always have to be repeated.91 Closeted spaces are a site of trauma where it is assumed disclosure of sexuality in these spaces is safe, but the act of having to hide your sexual orientation is located outside of yourself. Powers outside of one’s body force bodies to hide their sexual orientation, and at times, force bodies to disclose their sexual orientation. Forced disclosure of sexual orientation is a continuous torment for those in the LGBTQ community; ‘coming out’ is then further reframed because people who have been convicted of child molestation or other sexual offences are similarly forced to disclose to people in their communities their sexual orientation or their orientation may be disclosed for them. Their mugshots and a summary of their offences are on display on websites. Just as Cohen’s fifth thesis argues that monsters police the borders of the possible and prevent mobility,92 revelation of alternative sexuality (whether LGBTQ or paedophilic) can have large social repercussions. Monsters must be punished for their transgressions, and for those bodies that are deemed monstrous, violence is permissible. Being queer or even curious about gay sexuality will lead to death: this is evident throughout the film. For example, in one scene the Creeper takes the decapitated head of a police officer and bites out the tongue, but the staging of the scene makes the bite appear like a kiss between two men. Meanwhile in the background the billboard reads ‘umm tastes so good.’ Later, Darry encounters a young man who is dying in the Creepers lair, his torso stitched from top to bottom and before he dies the young man tells Darry to run, but before he leaves, Darry views more of the Creeper’s work. Hundreds of bodies are attached to one another and the ceiling of the lair like a ‘sick Sistine Chapel.’ Darry must run away because what these acts, marked as deviant, ultimately lead to is death. These bodies stitched together are an allegory of deviant sexuality. They are men and women who have been victims of the Creeper who twenty three years prior hunted young sexually active teenagers but now it is gay males it searches for. They have been punished because of their illicit sexuality and are a mosaic of bodies stitched together by the common thread of transgressive sexual behaviour, The threat of forced outing can be seen, not only in Salva’s early life, but also in his career after his conviction. During the release of the film Powder members from Christian groups along with Nathan Winters protested the involvement of Salva as the director of the Disney film targeted to a teen audience.93 These protests brought Salva’s past to the attention of people involved in the film industry, and after the release of the film, Salva withdrew into obscurity, retreating to his Hollywood Hills home, saying ‘I’m going to have to crawl into a hole; I’ll never be able to walk out of my house again.’94 Associates of Salva deserted him, studio contacts did not return his calls, and without work he got by on residual checks.95 But Salva believes he is cured of his paedophilia and that the nightmare

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__________________________________________________________________ is over for him: a ‘painful memory of something that happened over a decade ago.’96 He doesn’t buy into the Justice Department surveys, or, to borrow child therapist Chamber’s metaphor, the argument that ‘paedophiles are like alcoholicsalways one drink away from a relapse.’97 Salva has had a difficult time moving on because he must register his whereabouts with local police as a registered sex offender for the rest of his life. Salva like Darry will see life through the eyes of a monster but gay sexuality in and of itself should not be included in this narrative. In the following section I explain the danger of continuing these narratives despite them originating from a gay male perspective. 4. Material Effects of Dominant Narratives It is not unusual to find horror films with queer intonations display queer sexuality in a negative manner. For example, Claire Sisco King critiques the film Hellbent for its lack of queer politics and practices, warning scholars to be concerned with the manner in which messages regarding queer sexuality are framed and reproduced, and I extend that warning to scholars of all disciplines to be mindful of media which co-opts the term ‘queer’ simply for a profit and the way in which they frame sexuality.98 Hellbent promotes itself as a film about “Queer horror,’ and Sisco King illuminates its propagation of narratives tying queer sexuality to violence. This is starkly illuminated by actor Matt Phillips, who plays the character Tobey, when he is specifically asked ‘What makes people kill like that?’ to which Phillips responds ‘Probably some 40 year old gay guy that just came out of the closet…probably jealous of all the nice hot guys like us walking around. Wouldn’t you want to kill us? We’re fucking fabulous.’99 The film reinforces a narrative associating pathology with queer sexuality when locating the killer’s violence and choice of victim within the killer’s queer sexuality.100 Further Phillips explains, the filmmakers didn’t want characters (or actors) that ‘act gay’ which frames the characters as ‘regular guys’ and reproduces an assumption that anything outside of heteronormative sexuality is irregular, thus reifying heterosexuality’s position as the norm.101 There are material consequences for living outside of the norm. ‘Bible Belt’ gays hear homophobic hate speech through major religious media outlets as well as in the intimacy of community churches, next to parents, friends and peers. The Christian fundamentalist war on the gay community platform trickles down into churches across the country, pushing people to hide their sexuality and live in closeted spaces. Bernadette Barton in a study of study of homophobic religious discourse uncovered damaging narratives such as ‘being gay points you to hell’; ‘if you are gay you are not part of us’; and ‘no one will ever love me.’102 These understandings of lived experiences of gay community members in largely conservative communities in relation to internalized homophobia begin to contextualize how this may also play a role in the construction of the Creeper. A majority of the participants of this study described living through spirit-crushing

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__________________________________________________________________ experiences of isolation, abuse, and self-loathing. The most damaging of their experiences include rejection from family and friends, social ostracism, and an internal psychological struggle over their same-sex attractions. This study proved to be very revealing of the struggles faced by a majority white gay community. The direction Jeepers Creepers takes in depicting gay male sexuality as monstrous and violent should thus be read as impacted by Salva’s punishment for molesting a young child, experience of being ostracized from his family as a young adult, and continued persecution. These experiences manifest themselves within the film but also create a conflation of sexuality and a mental disorder in terms of being both a sex offender and gay male. Salva was punished for molesting a child specifically and has also suffered because of his sexual identity. Many of the informants in Barton’s study shared gory stories of learning that [gay people] were sinners and [gay] sexuality was an abomination week after week in their churches. Carol described the environment in her Pentecostal church: The preacher would preach on homosexuality. He would always group us in with the so-called perverts, you know, like child molesters and just awful people. Of course, since I was having feelings about me being different, I felt like I needed to go to the altar and just pray and ask God to forgive me every Sunday. And every Sunday I would get on my knees and just cry and pray.103 Crushing narratives of anti-queer sexuality are echoed by other participants. Sharon, a 41 year old white woman from southern Kentucky explained why she pushed away her spiritual self for years: ‘I had been told my entire life that I couldn’t have God in my life and be a lesbian.’104 Annie, a 23 year old AfricanAmerican from Cincinnati, Ohio, learned that in her Black Orthodox Pentecostal church, in order ‘to be a full-fledged member you have to be saved, and to be saved you can’t be gay. Just being gay, period, points you to hell.’105 Another young man had a similar experience to Salva when he revealed his sexual orientation to his mother. John, an eighteen year old white man from eastern Kentucky told his mother he was gay at 18, and she responded by saying ‘that God destroyed a city over that and that it was evil and I made her sick.’106 People listen to these narratives in their communities and are forced to hide who they are. This work hopes to illuminate that in a hegemonic homophobic arena, like the Bible Belt, not all identities are equal and a ‘queer silence’ becomes just another variation of the ‘toxic closet.’107 Because there is a collective expectation that church is a safe and holy place, and parishioners and community members are socialized to defer to the authority of church leaders, there is little critical scrutiny on the content of sermons, the expectations and actions of parishioners, nor the possible sexism, racism, and homophobia preached and practiced. To illustrate, one of my informants attended an 80-person parish in which both a church deacon and

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__________________________________________________________________ elder sexually abused the girls at the church.108 This abuse continued partly because membership in the community required upholding a patriarchal fundamentalist standard that both devalued females as persons and overvalued male church authorities. 5. Conclusion Salva acknowledges his crime, saying ‘I made a terrible mistake, one I wish I could take back every day of my life and I pled guilty to a terrible crime.’109 Yet Salva does not acknowledge the victim. His relationship to Francis Ford Coppola gives him a platform to put forward his views about his experiences, but the victim is not offered such a platform. Goldstein cites critic Jami Bernard from The New York Daily News who tells the San Jose Mercury News, ‘It’s a naked exploitation of Salva’s own inner disturbances. He’s just rubbing our noses in the very crime he committed.’110 But there are consequences to being molested, and some of the consequences of being molested include mental and physical trauma. The molestation of a child has a negative effect of child’s sense of both gender identity and sexual orientation; in addition the molestation creates worries as to why the child was chosen as a victim.111 The victim is deeply affected and must live with these consequences the rest of their life. While Salva can move on and continue making films, the victim in this case continues to struggle with the memory of this traumatic event. Further, Salva himself continues narratives that are harmful to the gay community. This chapter engages an on-going controversial investigation of sexuality and the politics of sexuality at the intersections of film, media, culture, and religion. I attempt to explain how the Creeper in the film Jeepers Creepers is a manifestation of deeply convoluted issues surrounding the representation of queer sexuality in horror films. The monstrous bogeyman in the film named ‘The Creeper’ is the manifestation of a child molester from the perspective of Victor Salva. Through the Creeper we see gay sexuality constructed as monstrous and violent but also as synonymous with child molestation. Gay male sexuality is culturally marked as deviant and therefore monstrous. It is further made abject by association with paedophilia and child molestation. Paedophilia and child molestation are often conflated as being one in the same but are argued to be distinguishable from one another while simultaneously conflated with gay male sexuality. This deeply convoluted cultural narrative associates these identities, but I do not intend to explain or soften the actions of film director Victor Salva who was convicted of molesting a child. My goal is to explain the manifestation of the Creeper and its troublesome conflation with these identities. As a critical communication scholar I must also be clear of my position, this chapter is written from a cisgender heterosexual perspective. I do not attempt to speak for others as Linda Alcoff warns against, but I have to trouble the demonizing of queer sexuality through horror films.112 My critique includes an unpacking of hegemonic narratives that

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__________________________________________________________________ negatively impact our community members who identify as gay males because these narratives are an impetus for violence toward queer bodies as well as a source of self-demonizing.

Notes 1 Patrick Goldstein, ‘Victor Salva’s Horror Stories,’ Los Angeles Times, June 11, 2006. 2

Glen Lovell, ‘Can Victor Salva Move On,’ Cinemadope.com, March 28, 1999, n.p, viewed on 1 August 2015, https://cinemadope.com/features-2/victor-salvasmonster-factory/. 3

Ibid. Ibid. 5 Ibid. 6 Harry Benshoff, ‘The Monster and the Homosexual,’ Horror: The Film Reader, ed. Marc Jankovich (London: Routledge, 2002), 9-10. 4

7

Ibid., 10. Mair Rigby, ‘Uncanny Recognition: Queer Theory’s Debt to the Gothic,’ Gothic Studies 11.1 (2009): 48.

8

9

Jamil Khader, ‘Will the Real Robert Neville, Please Come Out? Vampirism, the Ethics of Queer Monstrosity, and Capitalism in Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend?’ Journal of Homosexuality 60.4 (2013): 532-557. 10

Michael DeAngelis, ‘Robert Stigwood: Producer, Author, Text,’ Authorship and Film, ed. David A. Gerstner and Janet Steiger (New York: Routledge, 2003), 249. 11 Ibid., 249. 12 Ibid., 249. 13 Goldstein, ‘Victor Salva’s Horror,’ np. 14 Michael William Saunders, Imps of the Perverse: Gay Monsters in Film (London: Praeger Publishers, 1998): 6. 15

Scott Cohen, Monsters in America: Our Historical Obsession with the Hideous and the Haunting (Waco: Baylor University Press, 2011), 149. 16

Ann Davies, ‘The Beautiful and the Monstrous Masculine: The Male Body and Horror in El Espinazo del Diablo (Guillermo del Toro 2001),’ Studies in Hispanic Cinemas 3.3 (2006): 145. 17

Saunders, Imps of the Perverse, 1. Ibid., 2. 19 Ibid., 2. 20 Benshoff, ‘The Monster and the Homosexual,’ 91. 21 Kendall Phillips, Projected Fears Horror Films and American Culture (Westport: Preager, 2005), 150. 18

22

Benshoff, ‘The Monster and the Homosexual,’ 92. Cohen, Monsters in America, 149. 24 Saunders, Imps of the Perverse, 2. 23

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Ibid., 2. Ibid., 2. 27 Ibid., 2. 28 Phillip Bernhardt-House, ‘The Werewolf as Queer, the Queer as Werewolf, and Queer Werewolves,’ Queering the Non-Human, ed. Noreen Giffney and Myra Herd (Ashgate: Aldershot and Burlington, 2008), 163. 29 Ibid., 164. 30 Carlo Comanducci, ‘Full Metal Abs: The Obscene Spartan Supplement of Liberal Democracy,’ in this volume. 31 Benshoff, ‘The Monster and the Homosexual,’ 9-10. 32 Phillips, Projected Fears Horror Films and American Culture (Westport: Preager, 2005), 133. 33 Jen Baker, ‘Gothic Tales? Producing and Performing the Paedophile,’ in this volume. 34 Ludger Viefhues, ‘“On My Bed at Night I Sought Him Whom My Heart Loves”: Reflections on Trust, Horror, G*D, and the Queer Body in Vowed Religious Life,’ Modern Theology 17.4 (2001): 415. 35 Shane Moreman and Bernadette M. Calafell, ‘Buscando Para Nuestra Latinidad: Utilizing La Llorona for Cultural Critique,’ Journal of Internatinal and Intercultural Communitcation 1.4 (2008): 310. 36 Viefhues, ‘“On My Bed…”,’ 415. 37 Ibid., 415. 38 Ibid., 415. 39 Ibid., 415. 40 Ibid., 415. 41 Ibid., 415. 42 Phillips, Projected Fears, 133. 43 Jefferey Jerome Cohen, ‘Monster Culture (Seven Theses),’ Monster Theory: Reading Culture, ed. Jefferey Jerome Cohen (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), 6. 44 Phillips, Projected Fears, 133. 45 Ibid., 133. 46 Sarah Colvin, ‘Mephistopheles, Metaphors, and the Problem of Meaning in Faust,’ Publications of the English Goethe Society 79.3 (2010): 163. 47 Alejandro Cortazar, ‘Juan Diaz Covarrubias y El diablo en Mexico,’ The Colorado Review of Hispanic Studies 4.1 (2006): 245. 48 Adriana Sandoval, ‘La figura del diablo en algunos textos y en El fistol del diablo,’ Literatura Mexicana 12.1 (2011): 129. 49 Cortazar, ‘Juan Diaz,’ 246. 50 Sandoval, ‘La Figura,’ 133. 51 Sarah Projansky and Kent Ono, ‘Making Films Asian American: Shopping for 26

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__________________________________________________________________ Fangs and the Discursive Auteur,’ Authorship and Film, ed. by David A. Gerstner and Janet Staiger (New York: Routledge, 2003): 263-296. 52 Kristen D. Wright, ‘“This Thing of Darkness I Acknowledge Mine”: Monstrous Desire in The Tempest and Titus Andronicus,’ in this volume. 53

Ibid. Viefhues, ‘“On My Bed …”,’ 419. 55 Ibid., 419. 56 Goldstein, ‘Victor Salva’s Horror,’ np. 57 Barnhardt-House, ‘The Werewolf as Queer,’ 164. 58 Rigby, ‘Uncanny Recognition,’ 52. 59 Steven Clark, ‘Gay Priests and Other Bogeymen,’ Journal of Homosexuality 51.4 (2006): 5. 60 Rigby, ‘Uncanny Recognition,’ 53. 61 Bernhardt-House, ‘The Werewolf as Queer,’ 163. 62 Clark, ‘Gay Priests,’ 6. 63 David Patternotte, ‘The International (Lesbian and) Gay Association and the Question of Pedophilia: Tracking the Demise of Gay Liberation Ideals,’ Sexualities 17.1/2 (2014): 129. 64 Ibid., 128. 65 Ibid., 128. 66 Ibid., 131. 67 Clark, ‘Gay Priests,’ 5. 68 Ibid., 5. 69 Patternotte, ‘The International (Lesbian and),’ 133. 70 Ibid., 129. 71 Richard Gartner, ‘Sexual Victimization of Boys by Men: Meanings and Consequences,’ Journal of Gay & Lesbian Psychotherapy 3.2 (1999): 4. 72 Clark, ‘Gay Priests,’ 5. 73 Ibid., 5. 74 Ibid., 5. 75 Clark, ‘Gay Priests,’ 9. 76 Ibid., 10. 77 Gartner, ‘Sexual Victimization of Boys,’ 3. 78 Matt Barber, ‘As Sick as It Gets,’ USA Today, November 2013, 43. 79 Ibid., 43. 80 Lovell, ‘Can Victor,’ np. 81 Clark, ‘Gay Priests,’ 5. 82 Ibid., 10. 83 Lovell, ‘Can Victor,’ np. 84 Bernadette Barton, ‘Abomination: Life as a Bible Belt Gay,’ Journal of Homosexuality 57 (2010): 471. 54

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Benshoff, ‘The Monster and the Homosexual,’ 9. Lovell, ‘Can Victor Salva,’ np. 87 Ibid. 88 Davies, ‘The Beautiful and the Monstrous,’ 145. 89 Khader, ‘Will the Real,’ 548. 90 Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Epistemology of the Closet (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008): 68.

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91

Khader, ‘Will the Real,’ 548. Cohen, ‘Seven Theses,’ 12. 93 Lovell, ‘Can Victor Salva.’ np. 94 Ibid. 95 Ibid. 96 Ibid. 97 Ibid. 98 Claire Sisco King, ‘Un-Queering Horror: Hellbent and the Policing of the “Gay Slasher”,’ Western Journal of Communication 74.3 (2010): 258. 99 Ibid., 258. 100 Ibid., 258. 101 Ibid., 257. 102 Barton, ‘Abomination,’ 471. 103 Ibid., 472 104 Ibid., 473 105 Ibid., 473. 106 Ibid., 473. 107 Ibid., 468. 108 Ibid., 476. 109 Goldstein, ‘Victor Salvas Horror,’ np. 110 Ibid. 111 Ibid. 112 Linda Alcoff, ‘The Problem of Speaking for Others,’ Cultural Critique 20 (1991-1992): 7. ‘ word’ 92

Bibliography Alcoff, Linda. ‘The Problem of Speaking for Others.’ Cultural Critique 20 (19911992): 5-32. Barton, Bernadette. ‘Abomination: Life as a Bible Belt Gay.’ Journal of Homosexuality 57 (2010): 465-484.

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__________________________________________________________________ Benshoff, Harry M. ‘The Monster and the Homosexual.’ Horror: The Film Reader, by Mark Jancovich, 91-102. London: Routledge, 2002. Bernhardt-House, Phillip A. ‘The Werewolf as Queer, the Queer as Werewolf, and Queer Werewolves.’ Queering the Non-Human, edited by Noreen Giffney and Myra Herd, 159-183. Ashgate: Aldershot and Burlington, 2008. Clark, Stephen J. ‘Gay Priests and Other Bogeymen.’ Journal of Homosexuality 51.4 (2006): 1-13. Cohen, Jefferey Jerome. ‘Monster Culture (Seven Theses).’ Monster Theory: Reading Culture, edited by Jefferey Jerome Cohen, 3-25. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996. Cohen, Scott. Monsters in America: Our Historical Obsession with the Hideous and the Haunting. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2011. Colvin, Sarah. ‘Mephistopheles, Metaphors, and the Problem of Meaning in Faust.’ Publications of the English Goethe Society 79.3 (2010): 159-171. Cortazar, Alejandro. ‘Juan Diaz Covarrubias y El diablo en Mexico.’ The Colorado Review of Hispanic Studies 4.1 (2006): 239-252. DeAngelis, Michael. ‘Robert Stigwood: Producer, Author, Text.’ Authorship and Film, edited by David A. Gerstner and Janet Steiger, 247-261. New York: Routledge, 2003. Davies, Ann. ‘The Beautiful and the Monstrous Masculine: The Male Body and Horror In El Espinazo Del Diablo (Guillermo del Toro 2001).’ Studies in Hispanic Cinemas 3.3 (2006): 135-147. Gartner, Richard B. ‘Predatory Priests: Sexually Abusing Fathers. ’ Studies in Gender and Sexuality 5.1 (2004): 31-56. Goldstein, Patrick. ‘Victor Salva's Horror Stories.’ Los Angeles Times, June 11, 2006. Khader, Jamil. ‘Will the Real Rober Neville, Please Come Out? Vampirism, the Ethics of Queer Monstrosity, and Capitalism in Richard Matheson’s I am Legend.’ Journal of Homosexuality 60.4 (2013): 532-557.

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__________________________________________________________________ King, Claire Sisco. ‘Un-Queering Horror: Hellbent and the Policing of the Gay Slasher.’ Western Journal of Communication 74.3 (2010): 249-268. Lovell, Glen. ‘Can Victor Salva Move On.’ Cinemadope.com, 28 March 1999. Viewed on 1 August 2015. https://cinemadope.com/features-2/victor-salvasmonster-factory/ Moreman, Shane T., and Bernadette M Calafell. ‘Buscando Para Nuestra Latinidad: Utilizing La Llorona for Cultural Critique.’ Journal of International and Intercultural Communication 1.4 (2008): 309-326. Phillips, Kendall. Projected Fears Horror Films and American Culture. Westport: Preager, 2005. Projansky, Sarah and Kent A. Ono. ‘Making Films Asian American: Shopping for Fangs and the Discursive Auteur.’ Authorship and Film, edited by David A. Gerstner and Janet Staiger, 263-296. New York: Routledge, 2003. Rigby, Mair. ‘Uncanny Recognition: Queer Theory's Debt to the Gothic.’ Gothic Studies 11.1 (2009): 46-57. Sandoval, Adriana. ‘La Figura del Diablo en Algunos Textos y en El Fistol del Diablo.’ Literatura Mexicana 22.1 (2011): 119-142. Saunders, Michael WIlliam. Imps of the Perverse: Gay Monsters in Film. Westport: Praeger, 1998. Sedgwick, Eve K. Epistemology of the Closet. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008. Viefhues, Ludger. ‘“On My Bed at Night I sought Him Whome My Heart Loves”: Reflections on Trust, Horror, G*D, and the Queer Body in Vowed Religious Life.’ Modern Theology 17.4 (2001): 414-425. Sergio Fernando Juárez is a doctoral student in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Denver and currently my research is focused on issues surrounding social justice along with Chicana feminism, Inclusive Excellence in education, and critical communication pedagogy. My research focuses on the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, and citizenship.

Full Metal Abs: The Obscene Spartan Supplement of Liberal Democracy Carlo Comanducci Abstract This chapter addresses monstrosity in terms of its discursive power, discussing its representation and performance in Zack Snyder’s 2006 film 300. On one hand, performances of monstrosity can be seen to provide a manageable inscription of otherness in the discursive construction of the social space within the film’s diegesis and, by extension, of the one we inhabit, and thus concur to establish the split between the human and the inhuman that founds their hierarchies. On the other hand, ideology itself can be seen to rest on an obscene performance of violence that is inseparable from its humanitarian and democratic declarations. So, both the ‘hero’ Leonidas and the ‘monster’ Ephialtes, both the flawless bodies of the Spartan warriors and the moral and physical deformity of the traitor, are shown to be monstrous exhibits of the kind of violence that sets up the social space that they share, to be equal expressions of an unconfessed, but not for this less attractive, obscene supplement to the purity of ideology that the film nevertheless pursues. Key Words: 300 (film); 300 (graphic novel); abjection; body; discourse; ideology; obscene ideological supplement; partage du sensible; Jacques Rancière; Slavoj Žižek. ***** Only in intimacy with obscenity can one know what is obscene.1 - Wayne C. Booth. Messengers arrive on dark horses. They cover the tarnished ground of the Greek hills riding fast to the gates of Sparta. There they stop, threateningly close to a group of citizens. Without speaking a word, the leader of the messengers rears his mount in front of them, holding up in his hand a pendant of human skulls, the heads of conquered kings for everyone to see. Everything in Zack Snyder’s film 300, from the visuals to the rhetoric, exhibits the same affectation that I tried to convey in describing this scene. Everything, in this sense, is stagy – a performance of a performance. And most of what is performed is monstrous: an ostentation of violence and the pleasurable spectacle of a threat. It is not only that 300 makes liberal use of performances of monstrosity as a form of entertainment, these performances – from the gore and monsters to the CGIed bodies and landscape, to the acts and words of the characters – are actually the main drive of the film, and constitute its scope. The interest of 300 lays

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__________________________________________________________________ precisely in the ideological value of the performance of monstrosity as it is used to reimagine Spartan society in the diegesis, and as a metaphor of the construction of our own social space in the broader context of the film’s reception. The film, then, has its perfect embodiment and reflection in the figure of the messenger – one that it conjures, only to dispose of it a moment later, in the obscene gesture that founds the Spartan ideological power: it is the return of the disavowed, pre-political, violence informing liberal democracy, a statement of our relation to the inhuman, bad news from the abject core of mankind. 1. Powers of Obscenity After their gracious introduction, the Persians are received by the Spartan king Leonidas (Gerard Butler). They come to the Spartans with a request for land and water: Xerxes offers them riches, and even the rule of Greece, if only they submit to him without resistance. Their previous show at the gates was surely meant to impress the Greeks, and yet there is a certain unacknowledged irony in that, for the very garland of skulls which is used to perform the threat, at the same time suggests that, so far, those threats have not served their scope. Nor will they on this occasion. In Frank Miller’s graphic novel, of which Snyder’s film is a close adaptation, the emissary of the Achaemenid king is immediately greeted by the Spartans with racist and sexist jokes. Leonidas’ discussion with the Persian is brief, the space of two pages: the Spartan expresses his problems with the idea of submission, does not miss the occasion to crack a joke about the Athenian boy-lovers, who had already dismissed Xerxes’ requests and to which Sparta could not bear to be inferior, and he muses for a moment on the possibility of a diplomatic solution. He eventually decides to draw his sword and threaten to throw the messenger into a bottomless pit, where, he says, he would find plenty of the land and water that Xerxes asked for - a pit that is conveniently located in the middle of Sparta’s public square, and towards which, apparently, they had been walking from the beginning of their conversation. The Persian reacts with rightful indignation: ‘You are a madman,’ he cries out, ‘No man - Persian or Greek - no man threatens a messenger!’2 As the king pushes him toward the edge of the pit, meaning to carry out his threat, the Persian continues to protest loudly: ‘This is blasphemy! This is madness!’– to which Leonidas replies with his soon-to-be-famous line, just before kicking the Persian to his death: ‘This is Sparta.’3 The king’s bodyguards then dispose of the other envoys in the same way, and that is the last time they will ever be mentioned. The film 300 follows Miller’s scenario almost panel by panel, but it still differs from it in some significant respects. By the time the film was shot and released, the political context had changed, 9/11 had happened, and the graphic novel had acquired a certain fame. Leonidas’ line, in particular, was known in advance to most of the spectators, also because it had been used intensively to promote the

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__________________________________________________________________ film. As a result of this, the sequence of the messenger’s killing acquired in Snyder’s work the distinctive character and structure of suspense: since everyone knew where the scene was leading, every element in Leonidas’ confrontation with the Persian was understood as a step toward the catch phrase and the final slaughter; under the composure that the Spartan managed to keep during the exchange, everyone could see the rage that was to ensue. So the climax that comes with Leonidas’ brutal outburst brings about an almost comical relief. The whole scene is made to work like an obscene gag, then, and a racist one at that. With his conduct, Leonidas does not really get rid of the threats that the messenger delivered (which remain of course very real), but rather he gets rid of a messenger who is intimidating as such, because of his very alterity. Even more so in the film than in the comic, for the blackness of the Persian is accompanied by a handsome and commanding presence. One could say that this mark of racial otherness is supplied in case some of the spectators, unfamiliar with Greek mores, could not construct Leonidas’ act as obscene, and needed a more familiar reference to understand that the Spartan king is in fact doing something illicit and inhuman, and that the film is revelling in cheap political incorrectness. The obscenity of Leonidas’ act is then doubly coded. First, as an obscene act in itself: a violation of hospitality and of the respect that is due to human beings in general. Second, as an expression of institutional hypocrisy, to which the spectator is made complicit: Leonidas might seem to treat the Persian respectfully and to react with fury only because of the foreigner’s provocations, but in fact we know very well that he was going to kill him anyway. Through the interaction of the film text with the context of its advertising, what the film shows (and not exactly criticises), is the ruthlessness of oppression and its double-speech. Leonidas’ act appears to be calculated and predetermined; therefore, it is actually his rage that is fake, not his manners – his wanton violence is in fact a performance. Some of the elements that the film adds to the massacre sequence – which becomes significantly longer and more articulated than in the graphic novel – can be seen to highlight the hypocrisy of political discourse and, in a way, attempt to justify or establish some distance from the obscenity of Leonidas’ actions. In Miller’s work, the obscene elements were expressed quite frankly: but as Snyder’s film attempts to mask them, it makes their ideological nature stand out even more; and as it tries to give justifications and excuses for Leonidas’ actions, toning down their obscenity, it makes them, if possible, even more obscene. Sexism, for instance, which the graphic novel unabashedly embraced (in the very few occasions in which women are to be seen at all), is inscribed in the film under the sign of a double disavowal. First of all, it is displaced onto the Persian messenger. When queen Gorgo (Lena Headley) allows herself to speak her mind during his meeting with the king, the Persian reacts with scorn and disdain: ‘What makes this woman think she can speak among men?’4 So that the debasement of women that the film, no less than the comic, endorses, is put into the mouth of a

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__________________________________________________________________ racial other, thus contributing to reinforce his discrimination and attempting to make his murder somewhat less despicable. In the second instance, sexism is displaced on a woman: in order to account for her freedom, Queen Gorgo replies to the Persian ‘Because only Spartan women give birth to real men,’5 which is a very sexist way of arguing for women’s role in society, if you ask me. Following along the same line, the screenwriters also found the occasion to add a (displaced and literal) male chauvinist nod toward the role of women in politics: right before kicking the Persian to his doom, Leonidas turns back and waits for a nod of assent from his wife, which she gives after a short, meaningful pause. Despite this recognition of Gorgo’s involvement in Leonidas’ ideological performance, the film – with its addition of an audacious, of course beautiful, and totally inconsequential female role – still makes it clear that democracy is a few warlike white men’s affair. Before everything is said and done, Gorgo will have to abandon herself to the sadistic attentions of the patrician Theron, just to obtain an audience with the Spartan council, thus making it clear that her freedom of speech is subordinated to the king’s. On that occasion, she will deliver an inspiring oration, but not before being publicly accused of adultery by none other than her violator, and when she will finally kill him in front of the council members, the bag of Persian gold that will opportunely fall from his pants is shown to be much more convincing than her eloquence. Even her vengeance is of little feminist consequence: it is a mere honour killing, by proxy. In this fictional Sparta, alas, no differently than in present-day democratic practice, women in politics are often treated as the fetish of women’s political power, not as one of their agents; they are often reduced to an eroticized object that in fact diverts attention from the real presence of women as political subjects. At the same time that it panders to this sexist representation of powerful women, Snyder’s 300 tries to make the obscenity of Leonidas more palatable. When Leonidas and the messenger meet in the film, the Spartan’s first words to him are a warning: ‘In Sparta,’ he says, ‘even a king’s messenger is held accountable for the words of his voice.’6 A moment later, though, the messenger is shown to react with surprise, as if Leonidas had not warned him, and as if the threats on his life were in fact something impious. Despite the film’s cosmetic attempts, the killing still appears as a stain on Sparta’s honour, as it was supposed to be in the comic. And yet, it cannot be understood merely as a lapse caused by the king’s excessive pride or rage, nor does it constitute a crime to which he could be called to respond: Leonidas’ violence is instead presented as the founding gesture of the kind of freedom and of the form of society for which he stands. Immediately before his talk with the Persian, Leonidas is shown training with his little son. He gives him sound and good advice that he then proceeds, as it happens, to disregard entirely: ‘do not forget today's lesson,’ Leonidas explains to him, ‘respect and honour,’ and he then proceeds to kill a group of innocent and unarmed men.7 This brief scene in a way synthesizes the whole ideological

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__________________________________________________________________ dynamic of Leonidas’ obscene performance, and, at the same time, the economy of fantasy and enjoyment that the film provides. Coherently with the king’s incoherence, indeed, it is not to ‘respect and honour,’ but to their obscene reversal, that the spectators of 300 are drawn. Miller and Snyder’s renditions of the battle of the Thermopylae are all about this obscenity: glory, Greece, and freedom clearly become excuses for the orgy of suicidal violence that sustains these works. All Leonidas and the spectators care about is the bloodbath, the beautiful death - the rest is mere foreplay. The ideological dimension of the film must then be seen to lay essentially in the function of its obscene spectacles, and in the kind of social space that they inform, not in the arguments that are used to justify them. Again, the graphic novel endorses this logic with less shame. Right before the final battle, Leonidas gives this speech to the three hundred Spartans, speaking words of freedom and reason, only to state right after, and more substantially, their absence: ‘A new age is begun. An age of great deeds. An age of reason. An age of justice. An age of law. And all will know that three hundred Spartans gave their last breath to defend it.’8 But when one of his soldiers assures him that they are indeed with him to the death, their king replies something that the film prefers to omit: ‘I didn’t ask. Leave democracy to the Athenians, boy.’9 2. Go Tell the Spartans Both Snyder’s film and Frank Miller’s graphic novel are imagined to be the narration of Dilios, the sole Spartan survivor from the battle of the Thermopylae, sent back to tell the Spartans, and all Greeks, about the deeds of the three hundred warriors that died there. Other than being a convenient expedient for bypassing issues of historical veracity, sheer plausibility, and taste, this internal narrator can be seen to embody and fulfil the logic of ideology to which Miller’s retelling of this classic story of glory and heroism gives prominence. While in Herodotus and in many other accounts of the battle, its strategic and tactical, utilitarian, aspects were at least acknowledged – a force had to stall Xerxes superior army at a choke point, using the terrain to the Greek’s advantage while the Athenian fleet met the Persians on the sea, thereby slowing down their advance and compromising their logistics – Miller, on the contrary, greatly downplays them, transforming the Spartan choice of engaging in the conflict, and their sacrifice at the Hot Gates, into an ideological spectacle, an act whose effectiveness and meaning rests entirely in its performance of obscenity and violence. At the beginning of his narration, the voice of Dilios frames the whole war as a reaction to Spartan hubris: ‘A beast approaches, and was king Leonidas himself who provoked it.’10 The slaying of the Persian envoys (which Miller has displaced from the first to the second Greco-Persian war)11 is presented as the cause of Xerxes’ attack. However, that is hardly believable, especially since the graphic novel and the film imagine this event to happen when Xerxes’ invasion is already well on its way, wintering in the Athos region. If Leonidas had simply rejected the

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__________________________________________________________________ Persians’ offer of peaceful submission, in fact, Sparta would have found itself at war all the same and no less urgently. Leonidas’ act is like cursing at a stormy gathering of clouds in order to be able to claim, when the rain eventually begins to fall, that he was the one to cause it. The claim is ridiculous, of course. But the curse is still meaningful. In the first scene of Marco Bellocchio’s Vincere,12 we see a young Benito Mussolini (Filippo Timi) addressing a mixed audience of laymen and priests. Without any introduction, he asks for a pocket watch and, suddenly raising the tone of his voice, he challenges God, giving him ten minutes to strike him down with lightning. Of course, the time expires and he is still alive. This causes a commotion and a response of contempt and excited, if ironic, admiration. Quite clearly, everyone knew that god would not have stricken Mussolini down: the point here is to show the kind of authority that can nevertheless be gained by a successful performance of impiety. Somewhat of an early fascist himself, the other thing Leonidas cannot stand other than tyranny is, indeed, mysticism. The ephors he has to meet to seek approval for his war plans – historically the elected members of a council of oligarch overseers – are represented in the comic and in the film as leprous and lecherous priests. Leonidas uses the harshest words to describe them: ‘Inbred swine. Diseased old mystics. / Worthless remnants.’13 The narrator, as well, insists, so to speak, on the value of Spartan laity by insulting and monstrifying the ephors: ‘Remnants. Moldy, rotting remnants of ancient, senseless, stupid tradition – tradition even Lykourgos the Lawgiver could not defy.’14 The kind of impiety that Leonidas performs– which is more than a generic transgressiveness, more than verbal cursing and something completely different than atheism – often contributes to the appeal of fascist ideologies today, precisely as a reaction against political correctness and religious righteousness, as a ritual gesture of tearing down the veils of hypocrisy in which liberal democracy can at times be seen to dance. Here the film shows how blasphemy is in fact supportive of Leonidas’ ideology and, in a sense, also an integral part of a quest for a purer religious feeling: attacking these monstrous representations of divinity – the misshapen ephors, the trans-gender god-king Xerxes, the ‘human as such’ monstrosity of Ephialtes – is a way to enforce an even purer ideal of the divine, untainted by the contingency and monstrosity of common human flesh. Leonidas, a Nietzschean hero, is looking for the purest essence of ideology: the refusal to anchor the meaning of his actions to any kind of utilitarian explanation is part of this ideological/religious move. In this perspective, fascist blasphemy is not really made in defence of laity and reason, but to obtain a purer, blinder, state of faith. Leonidas’ blasphemy must be read, at the same time, as an apparent discourse against fundamentalism and as a form of fundamentalism in itself, as a defence of the human against the divine and as an attack against the inviolability of human rights. Much like how his contradictory expression of humanist values and performance of obscene violence enforces the founding split onto which the Spartan society is constructed, Leonidas’ impiety, in

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__________________________________________________________________ its ambivalence, becomes the point of suture sustaining the lay and humanitarian social space of liberal democracy. Often in reading a film we are presented with blatant inconsistencies that cannot be accounted for through any rational argument, or with significant lapses of credibility that, nevertheless, are not immediately evident as such. Instead of dismissing them as poor writing (which is often just a way to agree with the divide between high and low art), one can try to make sense of these occurrences in terms of the ideological fantasies that inform the film’s imaginary. Leonidas’ curse, then, his choice to slay the messengers – as well as the film’s choice to represent the scene in a certain way – can be seen to have a precise ideological value. First of all, as we have hinted, it displaces the agency of the conflict: rather than reacting to the invasion as to an inevitable, external danger, Leonidas decides, so to speak, to own it. Through his hostile and, more importantly, impious act, it is as if he claims: ‘I’m the one who brings the conflict to Sparta,’ while, in fact he’s not. What he is doing is performing an act of ideological hegemony. In the Histories, seeing the Persian army cross the Straight, a man of the Hellespont cries out: O Zeus, why have you taken the likeness of a Persian man and changed your name to Xerxes, leading the whole world with you to remove Hellas from its place? You could have done that without these means.15 It was hard to imagine, Herodotus suggests, that what was about to cause Greece’s demise was anything but Greek. Power is first of all expressed in a mapping and a distribution of the perceptible,16 one that attempts to lead everything back to the known and the consensual. Leonidas’ act, however, is not a simple masking; it is more than a cheap trick to prop up his authority in a critical situation, and more than an attempt to inscribe an external threat within the Greek discursive kosmos. Rudolph Maté’s 1967 film The 300 Spartans,17 was able to accommodate the story into the context of cold war propaganda, foregrounding the Spartans’ leadership of the Greek world, their engagement far from home, and their military prowess as the last bulwark in a strategy of containment. In Maté’s film, the Athenians play a strong, if purely symbolic role: by formally relinquishing the control of their fleet to Sparta, they sanction Greece as a universal political entity (i.e. the ‘free world’), at the same time that they recognise it to be an emanation of the Spartan sphere of influence. Now, when petty politicians and superstitious oracles prevent the whole Spartan army from marching north at once, as Leonidas (Richard Egan) would have preferred, the king is caught in-between two promises: the one he made to the Athenians and Greece to defend the pass, and the one to respect the oracle. In The 300 Spartans, in which no Persian messenger is killed, Leonidas’ decision to move north is presented as a way of respecting both obligations. The ideological act that leads to the unification of Greece is then the

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__________________________________________________________________ Spartans’ engagement. It is with their example of coherence that they imagine to win the rest of Greece to their cause. This was clearly an ideological rendition of the story, but one in which the conflict was still conceived to be fundamentally a military one, and one that did not rest on any particular performance of obscenity – if we exclude, that is, Egan’s unbending smile.18 Not so in the case of Miller’s version. The ideological power of the story is not exerted just through a polarised representation of the conflict, but also constructed through a much more basic hegemonic mapping of the seeable and the sayable. One that, furthermore, foregrounds ideology as an obscene, ambivalent, performance and capitalises on this ambivalence for its coding of the political space. First of all, Leonidas makes it clear that his march north, accompanied by his three hundred bodyguards, is done in disrespect of the religious tradition: through the breaking of hospitality, the whole feat at the Thermopylae is coded as something impious. As it seems, Leonidas slays the messenger not only in order to offend the god-king Xerxes, but also to commit a crime against the Greek gods. The ideological act that the three hundred perform becomes then their death – regardless of any utilitarian justification. At its core, the slaughter of the messengers functions to shift the rationale of the conflict from a military to an entirely ideological plane: the war between Greeks and Persians is turned into a war of values. And yet, all the more so from this perspective, Leonidas’ initial gesture of violence still appears to be incomprehensible: isn’t he rather too piqué? Yes, as he says, ‘Sparta has its reputation to consider,’19 but shouldn’t they rather prove their honour on the battlefield? How is such an ignominious act as killing sacred messengers going to serve Sparta’s ideological victory? Shouldn’t a Greek king (especially if he is framed to stand as an incarnation of Western liberal democracy) rather stand for justice and humanity against the hubris of the Persian self-proclaimed god? Shouldn’t he rather sustain, and even exaggerate, the impeccability of Greek customs so as to better frame the conflict in the terms, familiar to us, of a clash of civilisations – that is, of the clash of civilisation against barbarism? Actually, Miller and Snyder’s reinvention of the story does embellish the Spartans in one significant respect: neither the graphic novel nor the film, indeed, make the slightest mention of the Helots, the class of Spartan serfs – something which would of course have compromised the image of Sparta as an herald of liberty and freedom. Here we see how a claim to historicity, together with intentional inaccuracy, can contribute to the ideological message of a film; and, conversely, how a return to the sources can, in this respect, become a strategy for subversive reading.20 Once again, the graphic novel and the film, very crudely, take something which is in fact constitutional of Spartan society, remove it from there, exaggerate it, and project it onto someone else. The overstatement of Persian slavery becomes then a cover-up for the absence of slaves in the representation of the Spartan social space. At the same time, the presence of the Persian as such is

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__________________________________________________________________ made somewhat unbearable, as it brings back with it, and names, that structuring absence the Spartans cannot be allowed to speak. In a sense, the Persian’s performance would be telling the Spartans what they really are, and as they had first disowned their own tyranny, they now remove the subject that reminds them of it. This representation and this reading, however, condemn the messenger to play a subaltern role: like the man from Hellespont who saw Xerxes as the incarnation of a Greek god, the Spartans frame his otherness in the terms that are familiar to them, so that the Persian becomes a representation of the Spartans’ own relation to themselves. In other words, the messenger’s presence and his intimidations are already internal to the representation that the Spartans have of their own social space. As such, the Persian might be voicing a material threat, but he does not actually constitute an ideological and a political one, for he is actually confirming the way the Spartans (that is, in the end, the spectators) imagine themselves, their world, and their relation to it. Both the messenger’s performance and Leonidas’ are then to be seen as parts of the same discursive universe: not as something that causes a rupture, but as something that strengthens a split on which that very universe is constructed – a founding clash between civilisation and its own barbarism. The inconsistency between Leonidas’ values and his actions, I think, must be seen in the same perspective: not as an inconsistency at all, in fact, but rather as the affirmation of the founding obscenity of his power. Leonidas’ act against hospitality and the gods is, apparently, also an act against the rules of democracy. Even more – especially if you look at it from the standpoint of its present day metaphorical valence, and not in its historical context – it is an act against the very respect for human rights that makes democracy possible in the first place. And yet, it is presented at the same time, and for the same reasons, as the act that establishes Sparta as the mythic precursor of modern day Western democracies. In order to understand how Leonidas’ act can be presented, in the graphic novel and in the film, as the founding act of present-day democracy, one actually has to problematize the more direct and superficial ways in which ideology is taken to function and address the ideological valence of Leonidas’ sacrilegious rage, precisely, as a performance. Ideology is commonly imagined to be a matter of affirming positive values, of a direct identification with ideal figures that stand, generally speaking, for the good. As a corollary, ideology is also understood as that operation by which figures of others are constructed, onto which the negative of those good values are projected. It is clear, however, that this understanding of ideology rests on the split that it performs. As long as we articulate reality in terms of good and bad – but also as long as we judge ideological values themselves in these terms, and as long as we are nevertheless forced to choose between the reductive alternatives that this logic individuates – we are, quite clearly, already within an ideological regime of

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__________________________________________________________________ thought. ‘When you are asked to choose between liberal democracy and fundamentalism,’ Slavoj Žižek writes, ‘it is not only that one term is obviously preferred – what is more important, and the true injunction, is that you see this as the only true alternative, ignoring any third option.’21 In this sense, as we have argued, the Persian messenger’s representation serves to validate the very split that sustains Spartan ideology. From the viewpoint of simple ideology, then, a film like 300 might seem, and surely presents itself, as a direct, blatant, offensive, display of ‘positive’ ideological values: on one side, a few good free Spartans; on the other, a multitude of bad Persians, sexual deviants, monsters, slaves and traitors. The split is so enormous, and so apparently ingenuous, that one is almost drawn to label the film as ‘dumb.’ And yet, dismissing the film as superficial, is in fact to buy into its ingenuity and to become ourselves ingenuous, for the ideological power of the film is not to be found in the superficial display of values, but rather in their obscene supplement22 – it is in the ‘negative’ of those ‘positive’ values that the ideological effects of the film are to be found. In fact, the basic understanding of ideology that we have outlined already is an ideological rendition of what ideology is: ideology is supposed to be a direct naive identification with positive figures and values, while in fact it incorporates this naive identification as one of its elements. The point of identification is rather in what those values reject and cover up, in what Žižek calls the ‘inherent transgression’ of ideological institutions.23 ‘Power always has to rely on an obscene stain of violence;’ he writes, ‘political space is never “pure”, but always involves some kind of reliance on “prepolitical” violence.’24 Of course, the reverse is also true, any act of prepolitical violence, such as the one committed by Leonidas, can always be seen to have a discursive dimension, and thus to be inscribed within the existing horizon of power. From the very outset, then, the level of Leonidas’ confrontation with Xerxes appears to be ideology at its purest: his intent is less to beat the Persians in battle, or to manifest the superiority of Spartan civilisation like it was in The 300 Spartans, than to outmatch the obscenity of the Persian tyrant’s power. Leonidas, then, does not get his power and his distinctively fascist charm from all the good things he stands for– freedom, justice, democracy, honour, etc. – but rather from their obscene complement: his mania, his suicidal drives and his hypocrisy, from his paroxysmal stomping over freedom and human rights in order to enforce them. We don’t like him because he stands for freedom, democracy and the common good; we like him because he’s a dangerous, blasphemous, fascist suicidal maniac who stands for freedom, democracy and the common good. This Spartan perversion of the ideal of democratic freedom, Žižek suggests, is not to be regarded merely as a bad version of democratic freedom, a particular instance in which things have gone awry, but rather is one of its essential components and corresponds to its founding ideological transgressiveness. The ideological

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__________________________________________________________________ injunctions of great positive values, he argues, actually work only because of the obscene pleasures that they allow us to enjoy.25 In The Plague of Fantasies, Žižek discusses this idea of obscenity in relation to the functioning of the military ideological machine in Stanley Kubrick’s film Full Metal Jacket.26 He argues that humiliation, hazing, and all kinds of obscene jokes provide the actual base of identification in the military institution, at the same time in which it presents itself on the surface as a matter of order and discipline.27 In this respect, the comic book is much more direct and earnest, while the film introduces, as we have seen, a certain distance. For instance, in Miller’s work we can find several scenes of prostration, sadomasochistic hazing and objectification of the male body. In one panel, a Spartan officer is sitting on the back of a soldier lying prone and asks him: ‘do you like this, soldier?’ – ‘I’m loving it, sir,’28 he responds. This can clearly be interpreted as an expression of the obscene side of the Spartan military institution. But could it at least be redeemed, by some of the spectators, as a cathartic erotic practice, not unlike the race-play that Dejan Kuzmanovic discusses?29 If we hold that what is cathartic in race-play is to embody racial stereotypes, however – that is, to give them a materiality, a contingency and a personal dimension which eventually determine a form of ironic deconstruction and subtract them from reproducing and confirming actual forms of repression – in 300 we find little place for irony, and even less in the way of a counter-narrative. In the film as well as in the comic, the heterosexist framing of the spectacle of the Spartan bodies and the overlapping of ‘deviant’ sexuality with physical monstrosity, which Sergio Juárez discusses in his chapter as part of the cultural narrativisation of queer identities,30 are so heavy-handed that eros ends up serving narrative hegemony. Paradoxically, it could be precisely a kind of irony, the distance that the spectators may take from the obscene supplements of the Spartan institutions, that allows them to become functional as a point of misrecognition: as Žižek argues, an excessive identification with the obscene ideological machine is eventually selfdestructive, while, on the contrary, it is by preserving a part of ‘humanity’ and rational detachment that one can become an efficient member of an ideological institution.31 In 300, the Spartans clearly over-identify en masse – their very collective identity and their very bodies are an expression and an incarnation of the obscene ideology of the military machine. Their march to the Thermopylae is constructed like a suicide, and as an ideological passage à l’acte, devoid of any utilitarian signification. It is then from the position of the spectator enjoying the Spartan’s performance of violence – and especially from the position of the spectator taking a further ‘politically correct’ distance from the film – that the Spartan self-annihilation becomes ideologically effective: even in the diegesis, as the use of an internal narrator makes clear, the three hundred are not the immediate depositaries of the meaning of their deeds, but rather those Spartans – those Spartan civilians and slaves that are never to be seen – to whom the story will be

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__________________________________________________________________ told and that, in this way, redouble and lock into place the position of the spectators within the Spartan ideological space. The ideological mechanism of the film, I believe, is to be found eventually in how the logic of ideology is staged, in how it is constructed as a performance within the diegesis and in relation to the spectators. If the violence that Leonidas performs is not incompatible with his declarations of respect, honour and freedom, but is actually their necessary complement, 300’s ideological ‘message,’ then, rests precisely in the naturalisation of this mechanism at the same time that the split underlying it (the clash of civilisation, the clear-cut separation of the human and the inhuman) is exaggerated and foregrounded. The film, in other words, invites us to behave like Leonidas: to perform our allegiance to positive ideological values through our revelling in their obscene components, from the safe position of a false ingénue. At the film release, a polemic broke out about the possibility of taking it as seriously offensive slander in the context of the United States diplomatic relations with Tehran.32 Other commentators, like Žižek, reversed the equation and argued that the huge Persian army was in fact the army of United States imperialism, deploying its overwhelming war-machine against a fierce, underdeveloped, people.33 In a sense, both readings are right and both miss one important point: that they are right at the same time. So, Xerxes is both the Western idea of what Eastern fundamentalism is, and a representation of Western imperialism; on the other side, the handful of Spartans corresponds at the same time to Western élite military corps (ideological pars pro toto of the US military machine) and to anti-imperialist resistance groups and terrorists – of which the three hundred’s sacrifice acquires the allure. In this way, everything can be understood, as everything is brought back to and reinforces familiar discursive categories: ‘US’ is all over the place, in fact, removing any need to confront otherness as such. But, most importantly, everything can be enjoyed. The ambivalence of possible readings is indeed a result of the desire of appropriating the jouissance of the other. What we want from monsters is their obscene jouissance: that is, after all, what we disavowed, projected in them and constructed them by in the first place. As long as they keep a symbolic distance, comfortably establishable in terms of physical or cultural difference, monsters are figures of identification that make it possible to enjoy in fantasy not only the obscene desires we disown and project into them, but also those that they might manifest independently. Especially in the context of a clash of civilisations scenario vented to the extreme, Western fantasy cannot deny itself the outrageous jouissance of the imaginary others it constructs: it wants the jouissance of suicide bombers and the perverse pleasures of the forbidden side of normative sexuality; it desires both the aura of the flawless body and the shattering passion of the misshapen; both the righteousness of equality and freedom and the thrill of prepolitical violence; it seeks both to spill the blood of the martyr and to enjoy the

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__________________________________________________________________ blood money of the apostate. Unlike Spartans in the diegesis, the spectator does not have to make a choice in between kneeling and standing, for it can do both at the same time. Were the spectator really to make a choice, the ideological power of the narrative would be compromised. For it is precisely in a comprehensive mapping of fantasy that that power is maintained. The utilitarian arguments of a film like The 300 Spartans become less and less convincing as relations come to be predicated more and more on a purely ideological level. On the other hand, the ideological power of a film like 300, as we have argued, lays not in a defining a position and articulating a coherent line of discourse, but rather in occupying all possible positions and speaking all possible discourses at once. No matter how abhorrent or sensational a fantasy is, it is only the fantasy without a name that threatens the established order of representations. Not obscenity but doubt is the brother of dissent, while an accurate and exhaustive articulation of deviation and monstrosity instead preserves the main tenets of normative systems of perception and an hierarchical social space. Even the thingwith-no-name can be made into a name, a consensual freak-show of the unrepresentable (if there is any),34 a monster of language, rather than the troubled site of its emergence.35 Particular pleasure comes from mixing the positions of enjoyment that a film affords together, taking our pleasure in the very collapse of their conventional articulation. In a way, this rejection of reasonable positioning in 300 is at the same time an apotheosis of the clash of civilisations and a gut reaction against its rhetoric, against the politically correct idea that we desire ‘good’ cultural relations in the first place: when Xerxes, after the first day of battle in which his troops have been massacred by exalted Spartans, offers Leonidas a truce and proposes that they should rather share their cultures than keep butchering each other. Not only is this made to look like a homosexual pass, but the answer given by the Spartan is made to be obscenely jouissant, and true enough to be teeth-grindingly funny: ‘we’ve been sharing our culture with you all day.’36 And here is where we, meaning in this case we Western leftists, need the distant figure of the Athenians – those boy-lovers and philosophers – in order to enjoy the Spartan ethos of massacre while maintaining the idea of a civilizing, truly democratic West: yes, Western armies massacre civilians, but then we, Athenians, will come and share proper Western culture with whoever is left alive. In this way we are allowed to dismiss our own involvement in the killings, together with the ineffectiveness of our efforts to change the injustice and the violence that informs and sustains the propriety of our culture. The material, one could even say true, form of the culture that the Spartans have been sharing – capitalist and imperialist domination, the very ideology of conflict– is also our own, and even more so as we take a symbolic distance. The second instalment in the 300 film franchise – which has the unfortunate title of 300: The Rise of an Empire – will then proceed to dig

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__________________________________________________________________ the ground from under the feet of this melancholic Western humanist position, arguably destroying its own ideological power in the process: in the sequel, the Athenians are shown to kick ass as much as the Spartans do. And they do it, as well, in a paroxysmally sexist way (diplomatic discussions are made during rough heterosexual sex), so as to dispel every last doubt (and hope) on the philosophical pederasty of the West, and map everything (this time really everything) in terms of the consensual idea of a war-born democracy. But as this Rise does not manage to muster the same level of obscenity as the first film, the whole ideological operation which made Athens’ absence the necessary trans-ideological support for the Spartan bloodlust, sinks with the Persian fleet at Salamis – if 300 presented itself in some ways as a perverse sexual act, The Rise of an Empire feels like the stereotypical (electronic) cigarette. 3. Manageable Monsters Much like Leonidas’ performance of obscene violence appeared to complement and inform his declarations of democracy and freedom, monstrosity can be recognised as the integral supplement of the normative human identities that the film represents and fosters. The blackness of the threatening messenger, Xerxes’ suggested trans-sexuality, and the leprosy of the ephors, all function as visible, hegemonic, inscriptions of a manageable otherness in the Spartan distribution of the perceptible37 and complement the identity of the Spartan warrior. In the same way, the deformed body of the traitor Ephialtes can be seen to reflect the obscenity of the Spartans sculpted muscles and thus inform their normative performance of humanity. He acts, to borrow Sergio Juarez’s suggestive terms, as a bogeyman and a mirror of the cultural, and possibly sexual, identity of the Spartan warriors.38 The Spartan collective identity, realised in the unity of the phalanx, is shown to be the result of an eugenic selection and of an extremely violent and truly dehumanizing training: Spartans are checked for weakness and deformity at birth and potentially discarded; exposed to combat and military training from the earliest age; taught to think of their death on the battlefield as the greatest happiness they could achieve; at seven, taken away from their mothers and plunged into an allmale world of violence; finally, sent into the wild for their initiation, from which ‘they will return as Spartans, or not at all.’39 Theirs is the epitome of a normative subject formation, regulated not only by ideology but also by sheer repression. In Miller and Snyder's story, Ephialtes – who was, in Herodotus’ narration, the able bodied man of Trachis who chose to show the Persians how to outflank the Spartans at the Hot Gates – is imagined to be one of Sparta’s discarded children: not just a Greek traitor, but a monster and a flaw in the ideological unity of the very Spartan social space. Even as they saw that he was severely malformed, Ephialtes’ parents had not found it in them to condemn him, and so they had decided to flee Sparta and spare

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__________________________________________________________________ his life, but they still raised him to become a warrior and an honourable Spartan despite his disabilities – by this arguably causing their son’s downfall. In the film, Ephialtes can be seen stalking the Spartan expedition from a distance, until he finally comes to meet Leonidas and warn him of the weakness in their defence in exchange for one favour: that the king let him fight together with the other Spartans. Even if Ephialtes shows some ability with the spear, Leonidas decides to reject him, for his mangled body prevents him from raising his shield high enough to fit into the phalanx. Here Leonidas is merely reaffirming the eugenic logic: Ephialtes is denied a place among the Spartans for no other reason than that for which he should have been killed at birth – his deformity. Spartans imagine themselves as rulers of monsters: their bodies leave no space for weakness, and their minds allow for no fear, but most of all, for no doubt about their own physical and ideological integrity. And yet, such a complete erasure of inhumanity from their flesh, in the end, makes the monsters they loath, human, and the kind of humanity they stand for, monstrous. Ephialtes’ physical blemish, then, makes visible the violence and the monstrosity of the Spartan upbringing and of the eugenic logic of their collective identity. His monstrosity lies not essentially in his misshapen body: it is rather, first and foremost, a discursive disfigurement. Ephialtes is not a monster because he is born deformed, but only because his deformity is coded as monstrous in Spartan society. Whether we consider monstrous figures, like Juarez’s Creeper40 and Kristen Wright’s contagious Shakespearian villains,41 or monstrous identities, such as that of the paedophile examined by Jen Barker,42 monstrosity is, indeed, a discursive category. Translating Michel Foucault’s renowned claim on sexuality, we can say that the politics of monstrosity are more a matter of how monstrosity is put into discourse, than a matter of the repression of the monstrous.43 What this means is that no one is born a monster, and that no one becomes a monster by incarnating or performing a set of features that would be essentially monstrous.44 This also implies that monstrosity is inseparable from its opposite, whatever you hold it to be: normality, sanity, humanity, heterosexuality, whiteness, masculinity, Spartanhood, and so on, are never to be found pure and in isolation. Monstrosity always bears with it a dynamic, then: it is not a quality, but it rather names a set of real and imaginary relations between social subjects. One that, in its social dimension, is generally described in terms of discrimination, marginalisation, ostracism; and that, in its psychic and ideological dimension, is one of disavowal: the monster would be informed by the projections of those desires and fears that subjects in normative positions cannot recognise in themselves. Monstrosity is, in this perspective, essentially a spectacle, a performance; it is not the exhibition of a monstrous essence, but rather something that the monster enacts, a form of discursive power and an act of (re)distribution of the perceptible. It is on this ground that the monster is consistently seen to possess a form of subversive agency. And yet, while the monster’s discursive power is generally

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__________________________________________________________________ imagined as a disruption of established normative codes, I would rather argue that, on the contrary, its performance of monstrosity eventually serves to reinforce them. The power of normative discourses determines not only what is monstrous and what is not, but, more fundamentally, it affirms the unambiguousness with which they can be set apart. Discourses are normative in the measure of the neatness of the split between humanity and inhumanity that they presume and enforce, and only secondarily because of the kinds of values that they support. As Rancière suggests, if one wants to address and change not merely the distribution of discursive power but the very foundations of the regime of the sensible in which this distribution takes place, in which monstrosity and humanity are constructed, one should care less about the characteristics that in a given discourse mark someone as a monster, than about the certainty with which the monstrous is told apart from the human. In this respect, a monster holding itself and performing as one is as integral to normative discourse as a self-assertive human being. If both the identity of the monster and that of the normative subject are part of the same regime of the sensible, then, part of the same social structure that they both contribute to establish, monstrosity loses the unsettling and subversive potential that it is generally supposed to have, to become, instead, a site in which conventional and normative values are potentially reinstated by the shock that the spectacle of monstrosity is coded to produce. One could say that, in a normative social space, monstrosity is the obscene supplement of the human. On the other hand, to indict someone of monstrosity is already to recognise the monster’s fundamental humanity: the monster’s exclusion is in fact its oppositional inclusion in the social space that it shares with ‘us.’ The point is that, despite its inclusion, the social space that the monster helps to construe is shaped on the basis of its inequality. It is then only in questioning the very possibility of distinguishing human beings from monsters, by addressing the sites of the troubling emergence of the human, that a radical critique against this inequality can be expressed. It is only through that which blurs the distinction between human and monster, then, that a rupture of the discursive space can effectively take place. The actual disruptive subject in relation to normative discourses on humanity would not be the monster, then, but the inhuman – that which is not visibly monstrous, and yet not undoubtedly human, that which is an integral part of humanity but at the same time lays beyond its normative definition. Monstrosity, I think, does not refer to inhumanity directly, but is rather a shape of it, already a discursive framing of inhumanity, aimed at reinforcing that clear split between the human and the monstrous which is in fact constitutional of normative social spaces and identities. In this sense, the subversiveness that the performance of monstrosity affords is always already manageable, intrinsically hegemonic. Žižek again:

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__________________________________________________________________ The key feature of the concept of hegemony resides in the contingent connection between intrasocial differences (elements within the social space) and the limit that separates society itself from non-society [...] – the limit between the social and its exteriority, the non-social, can only articulate itself in the guise of a difference (by mapping itself onto a difference) between the elements of social space. [...] The very opposition between the symbolic order and its absence has to be inscribed within this order, and “suture” designates the point of this inscription.45 The monster, in this sense, would be a site of suture, not of fracture: it would be that element, internal to the social space (since monstrosity does not exist as such but only as a position in discourse), that signifies what is external to it. The actual wound, so to speak, would be much deeper – a radical conflict, a core of inhumanity that is at the same time what endangers the social space and what engenders it. In relation to this more fundamental conflict, the performance of monstrosity, as well as that of humanity, would provide a normative and falsely reassuring solution: they would not unsettle the distinction between human and inhuman, but, on the contrary, establish it. Julia Kristeva’s idea of the abject, I believe, allows us to go beyond the dualistic logic of humanity and monstrosity, as long as we refer to it not as an object that lies beyond the boundaries of the cultural symbolic, but rather as the impalpable uncertainty of the boundaries themselves.46 Abjection would then correspond to inhumanity, as something at once integral and indistinguishable from humanity, that cannot be identified nor, strictly speaking, performed – it would take place when the boundary between the two is blurred, when the performance breaks down. From this perspective, we will find no difference between Ephialtes and Leonidas, between the positive and the negative of Spartan ideology – for in fact, ideology lays in the performance of the split between the two. On one hand, one could say that Ephialtes is an example of the marginality model, by which the very discursive construction of the marginalised comes out as a projection of the dominant: the outcast survivor of an inhuman order is eventually compelled to obey it. On the other, however, what Ephialtes is cut off from is not really the social space defined by the Spartan law – his place in it is precisely that of the monster – but rather the obscene enjoyment that sustains it. Ephialtes accepts playing a part in the social space defined by the Spartan law by representing himself as a monster and by performing as one. It is, then, through a quest for obscenity that he finds a perverse form of brotherhood with them. If his monstrous features, his visible non-conformity, actually signify the very establishment of the split between the human and the inhuman which is at the core of Spartan law, his betrayal provides the necessary closing of the circle to Leonidas’ obscene power: Ephialtes is, in this sense, the true subject of Spartan

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__________________________________________________________________ ideology. Perceived by the Spartans, from his very birth, to be a threat to their identity and to the integrity of their social space, in the end, Ephialtes fulfils their prophecy: by betraying them, he is true to their expectations. In a sense, he correctly interprets their desire, and gives them the death the Spartans, and the spectators, were looking for. In the end, the obscenity and monstrosity of Ephialtes are the result of his efforts not to become, but to remain a Spartan. Coherently, the ultimate payback he asks of Xerxes in exchange for his despicable act is the right to wear a uniform: in his attempt to conform, in his treason, and finally, in those foreign garments, he pursues the nostalgic shadow of the fate he avoided, the cliff from which he should have been cast – he is, in fact, no different than all other Spartans, looking for his death and incapable of breaking away from the Spartan code. In this sense, Ephialtes and Leonidas’ obscene performances are equivalent, they are two specular monsters: both the washboard abdominals of Leonidas and Ephialtes’ hunch are monstrous exhibits of the kind of violence that sets up the social space that they share. And so the three hundred can be seen to be vanquished by the very constellation of ideological forces that made them Spartans in the first place.

Notes 1

Wayne C. Booth, ‘Who is Responsible in Ethical Criticism, and for What?’ The Company We Keep: An Ethics of Fiction (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), 125-155, 140. 2 Frank Miller and Lynn Varley, 300 (Milwaukee: Dark Horse Books, 1998), unpaginated. Bolds in the graphic novel are rendered in italics. 3 Ibid. The phrase is identical in the film. 4 300, dir. Zack Snyder, 2006, Los Angeles: Warner Bros, 35 mm. 5 Ibid. 6 Ibid. 7 Ibid. 8 Miller and Varley, 300, unpaginated. 9 Ibid. 10 300. 11 Herodotus of Halicarnassus, The Histories, trans. A.D. Godley (Pax Librorum, 2010/1920), 396. 12 Vincere, dir. Marco Bellocchio, 2009, Offside, Rai Cinema, 35 mm. 13 Miller and Varley, 300, unpaginated. 14 Ibid. 15 Herodotus, Histories, 404. 16 Jacques Rancière, Le Partage du Sensible: Esthétique et Politique (Paris: Fabrique, 2000), 12. 17 The 300 Spartans, dir. Rudolph Maté, 1967, Twentieth Century Fox, 35 mm.

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Leonidas is visibly enjoying all that happens and everything he is doing, from slaughtering the Persian to losing his own men. In this respect, Egan’s performance, and in particular his rigid smile, subtly hints at the obscene jouissance of war. 19 Miller and Varley, 300, unpaginated. 20 Peter Mario Kreuter, ‘How Ignorance Made a Monster, Or: Writing the History of Vlad the Impaler without the Use of Sources Leads to 20,000 Impaled Turks,’ in this volume. 21 Slavoj Žižek, The Plague of Fantasies (London: Verso, 2009), xii. 22 Ibid., 35. 23 Slavoj Žižek, The Parallax View (London and Cambridge: MIT Press, 2006), 369. 24 Žižek, Parallax, 338. 25 Žižek, Plague, xiii. 26 Full Metal Jacket, dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1987, Warner Bros, 35 mm. 27 Žižek, Plague, 27. 28 Miller and Varley, 300, unpaginated. 29 Dejan Kuzmanovic, ‘Queer Race Play: Kinky Sex and the Trauma of Racism,’ in this volume. 30 Sergio Fernando Juárez, ‘Creeper Bogeyman: Cultural Narratives of Gay as Monstrous,’ in this volume. 31 Žižek, Plague, 27. 32 Azadeh Moaveni, ‘300 Sparks an Outcry in Iran,’ Time, March 13, 2007, viewed on 15 August 2016, http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1598886,00.html. 33 Slavoj Žižek, ‘The True Hollywood Left,’ Lacan.com, 2007, viewed 25 January 2015, http://www.lacan.com/zizhollywood.html. 34 Jacques Rancière, ‘S’il y a de l’Irrépresentable,’ Le Destin des Images (Paris: Fabrique, 2003), 123-153. 35 Irene Bulla, ‘Monstrosity and the Fantastic: The Threats and Promises of Monsters in Tommaso Landolfi’s Fiction,’ in this volume. 36 Miller and Varley, 300, unpaginated. The phrase is identical in the film. 37 Rancière, La Mésentente, 158. 38 Juárez, in this volume. 39 300. 40 Ibid. 41 Kristen D. Wright, ‘“This Thing of Darkness I Acknowledge Mine”: Man’s Monstrous Potential in The Tempest and Titus Andronicus,’ in this volume. 42 Jen Baker, ‘Paedophilic Productions and Gothic Performances: Contending with Monstrous Identities,’ in this volume.

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Michel Foucault, Histoire de la Séxualité: Le Désir de Savoir (Paris: Gallimard, 1976), 151. 44 Judith Butler, Gender Trouble (New York and London: Routledge, 2006), 152. 45 Slavoj Žižek, The Fright of Real Tears: Krzysztof Kieslowski between Theory and Post-Theory (London: British Film Institute, 2001), 32. 46 Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982), 83.

Bibliography 300. Directed by Zack Snyder. Warner Bros, 2006, 35mm. Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble. New York and London: Routledge, 2006. Foucault, Michel. Histoire de la Séxualité: Le Désir de Savoir. Paris: Gallimard, 1976. Full Metal Jacket. Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Warned Bros, 1987, 35 mm. Herodotus of Halicarnassus, The Histories. Translated by A. D. Godley. Pax Librorum, 2010/1920. Miller, Frank and Lynn Varley. 300. Milwaukee: Dark Horse Books, 1998. Moaveni, Azadeh. ‘300 Sparks an Outcry in Iran.’ Time, March 13, 2007. Viewed on 15 August 2016. http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1598886,00.html. Rancière, Jacques. La Mésentente: Philosophie et Politique. Paris: Galilée, 1995. ———. Le Partage du Sensible: Esthétique et Politique. Paris: Fabrique, 2000. ———. Le Destin des Images. Paris: Fabrique, 2003. Kristeva, Julia. Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. New York: Columbia University Press, 1982. The 300 Spartans. Directed by Rudolph Maté. Twentieth Century Fox, 1967, 35 mm. Vincere. Directed by Marco Bellocchio. Offside and Rai Cinema, 2009, 35 mm.

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__________________________________________________________________ Žižek, Slavoj. The Fright of Real Tears: Krzysztof Kieslowski between Theory and Post-Theory. London: British Film Institute, 2001. ———. The Parallax View. London and Cambridge: MIT Press, 2006. ———. The Plague of Fantasies. London: Verso, 2009. Žižek, Slavoj. ‘The True Hollywood Left.’ Lacan.com, 2007. Viewed on 15 August 2016. http://www.lacan.com/zizhollywood.html. Carlo Comanducci is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Birmingham (U.K.). He is currently working on a dissertation on psychoanalysis and cinema spectatorship, focused on the contingency of experience, free associations, and emancipation.