Terror and Wonder - The Gothic Imagination at the British Library

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Terror and Wonder - The Gothic Imagination at the British Library

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ag. 19, 2014, 7:48pm

Hi everyone. Thought you might like to know that the British Library is now taking bookings for their Gothic exhibition (which starts October 3rd) and also for a slew of exciting special events, see here:


ag. 21, 2014, 3:24am

Wow. How many trips to London can I justify, I wonder? There are at least four events in that first link that I'd absolutely love to see. Thanks for the links, Rembetis.

ag. 21, 2014, 3:25am

That picture of Tintern Abbey in the second link is interesting.

Second thoughts - I'll post this on the 'Gossip' thread.

ag. 24, 2014, 12:19pm

>3 alaudacorax: They seem to have removed the picture of Tintern Abbey, which is a shame, but have added a few more events including an evening of gothic story reading with Audrey Niffenegger and Reece Shearsmith on 5 Dec. There is also a book to accompany the exhibition, published 3 Oct, edited by Dale Townshend, with "original essays by major scholars". Looks interesting:


oct. 10, 2014, 6:29am

For those in the UK, the BBC gothic season (in partnership with the British Museum to tie in with their Gothic exhibition) starts on Monday October 20th on BBC4 with 'The Art of Gothic', with 'The Family that Built Gothic Britain' following on Tuesday Oct 21st. Further information about the BBC season here:

Trailer for season here:

oct. 13, 2014, 3:51pm

Is anyone going, or has anyone been, to this exhibition? I went today and enjoyed it a lot. I was surprised at how long I was in there (over two hours) given that the exhibition space isn't very large...although admittedly the party in front of me were moving very slowly!

oct. 13, 2014, 4:27pm

>6 housefulofpaper: Great that you enjoyed it! Yes, I definitely will be going soon. I might go around Halloween, or might wait until after the 14th of November when the Folio Society has an exhibition about Arctic exploration at the British Library (kill two birds with one stone!): http://www.bl.uk/whatson/exhibitions/lines-in-the-ice/index.html

oct. 14, 2014, 10:26am

There are now some photos of the exhibition on the British Library's Facebook page.

oct. 14, 2014, 5:33pm

>5 Rembetis:

Further to the information about new programmes provided in that link, the latest edition of Radio Times reveals what is being reshown as part of the Gothic season next week.
Sunday 19th BBC4 10:20 p.m. Horror Europa with Mark Gatiss
Monday 20th BBC4 10:00 p.m. Dracula (1958)
Tuesday 21st BBC4 10:00 p.m. The Life and Loves of a She-Devil (pt. 1 of 4)
11:00 p.m Supernatural: Dorabella (RT indicates only three episodes of this series will be shown)

oct. 14, 2014, 6:08pm

>9 housefulofpaper: Thanks for the info, it's much appreciated! I have the 'Supernatural' series on a dvd set, but I haven't had the time to watch it (apart from the first story, 'Ghosts of Venice' which I found weak). Of the three that the beeb are showing, it's odd that 'Dorabella' is on first, as I believe it was the last episode of the series (and, according to many reviewers, the best).

Editat: oct. 15, 2014, 9:16am

>9 housefulofpaper: Yes, thanks for that houseful - a couple of things I'd like to catch.

Missed the Mark Gatiss first time around, I think, and I'm sure I've seen it written well of in this group.

I take it the 'Dracula' is the Hammer one with Cushing and Lee (IMDb seems to be being particularly obtuse this afternoon, can't find it) - haven't seen that in years - I'll look forward to it.

>10 Rembetis: I thought 'Ghosts of Venice' was weaker than the rest - I'm sure you'll find the others better.

ETA - Because that film was on IMDb as 'Horror of Dracula' was why I couldn't find it - presumably released in the US under that. Looking at the info, suprised how much it departs from Stoker - still looking forward to it, though. It gets a 7.5 rating, which is pretty good.

ETA, again - Trouble is, watched so many of those Hammer Horrors when I was youngster, I now realise my memories of them are all jumbled up together.

oct. 15, 2014, 1:55pm

One more thing I should have said - if for some reason you still haven't seen The Wicker Man (the original, not the Nicholas Cage remake!) be aware that the final scene is playing on a loop in the section devoted to "folk horror".

oct. 15, 2014, 6:59pm

>11 alaudacorax:

I've realised that I've got them confused too, and I must have seen them much more recently. With a little help from the internet, i think the sequence is this:

Dracula/a.k.a. Horror of Dracula - stripped-down adaptation of Stoker
Brides of Dracula - Van Helsing but no Dracula
Kiss of the Vampire - No Van Helsing, no Dracula but in the same universe (sub-plot has similarities to Terence Fisher's 1950 film "So Long at the Fair", apparently)
Dracula: Prince of Darkness - the one where four English travellers come to a bad end at Dracula's castle, also the one with Andrew Keir as Father Sandor
Dracula has Risen From the Grave - the one with Rupert Davies in it. Crucifixes don't work if your faith is weak (Lee didn't like this innovation, I remember reading)
Taste the Blood of Dracula - Action moves to Victorian London. Ralph Bates as decadent aristo "Lord Courtley" is the villain for the first half of the film.
Scars of Dracula - weird cheap looking out of sequence film. Given that it was made the same year as the Ralph Bates-starring Horror of Frankenstein I could easily believe it was intended as a "reboot" with a different actor as the Count, but I've never seen this suggested anywhere.
Dracula A.D. 1972 - surely no comment necessary! (apart from - Cushing is back!)
The Satanic Rites of Dracula - could very easily be a Jon Pertwee/UNIT/ vs. The Master story. Screenwriter Don Houghton did a couple of Doctor Who's.
The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires - Another one that doesn't fit the chronology. Cushing plays another Van Helsing, Lee's not in it.

oct. 15, 2014, 7:53pm

>11 alaudacorax: Hammer's 'Dracula' was indeed originally called 'Horror of Dracula' in the US. It's one of my favourite horror films, though not, as you say, faithful to Stoker (I don't think any version is actually faithful to Stoker - perhaps the excellent 1977 BBC version starring Louis Jourdan came closest?) As a massive Hammer fan, all the Dracula films are quite distinct in my head (I know I am sad!) Thanks for the heads up on 'Supernatural' - I will aim to watch the rest of the series soon.

I don't know which version of Hammer's 'Dracula' BBC4 is showing. If you have a blu ray player, I can highly recommend the BFI release which include a few scenes the British censor excised, recently found in Japan, including the long lost original ending where Dracula claws at his face (NB: someone has posted the final reel on youtube here, both the BFI remaster and the longer raw Japanese footage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kgJqO5JPao )

>13 housefulofpaper: Great work there on the Hammer Dracula series, though, as you have extended the list to the wider Dracula universe and included 'Kiss of the Vampire', you might also include 'Countess Dracula' (1971), 'Vampire Circus' (1971), 'Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter'(1974) and the loose Carmilla trilogy too - 'The Vampire Lovers' (1970), 'Lust for a Vampire' (1971) and 'Twins of Evil' (1971)?!

I have a soft spot for 'The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires'. I saw it in a double bill with 'Enter the Dragon' at the Finchley Gaumont when I was around 13 (one of my first 'X' films - though I had to wear platform shoes and my dad's donkey jacket to get in!)

oct. 21, 2014, 9:43am

>14 Rembetis: - I caught 'Dracula' last night - good fun. It must have been decades since I last watched as I only recognised a few, brief passages. I'm pretty sure it included everything on the clip you linked.

I thought the interior of Dracula's castle looked disconcertingly pleasant, though. I was wondering whether it was a studio set or somewhere real - all IMDb says is 'Bray Studios'. In fact, it reminded me strongly of the interior shots of Strawberry Hill in 'The Art of Gothic: Britain's Midnight Hour' - which was shown immediately before 'Dracula' - which interiors I found light and charming and rather kitsch, and anything but creepy.

>9 housefulofpaper: - And having written the above, I've realised I completely forgot about 'Horror Europa' on Sunday. Thankfully, it's on the iPlayer, so I'll catch it this evening.

>14 Rembetis: - I'm sure I've seen 'The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires' relatively recently and found it thoroughly entertaining - something a bit different - IMDb says a Hammer/Run Run Shaw collaboration, which sounds about right. On the other films you mention, it's been so long that, as I said above, they're all jumbled together for me. Perhaps it's my age, but British telly just doesn't seem to show the numbers of old films it used to - they seem to fill the schedules with really bland, made-for-TV or straight-to-video stuff from the last twenty years or so - stuff that I'm sure the vast majority of people have never heard of ...

... sorry, slipping into 'grumpy old man' mode again - better stop writing and post ...

oct. 21, 2014, 1:13pm

>15 alaudacorax:

"Bray Studios" was, I understand, pretty much just a house when Dracula was made - Down Place, to be exact. Although the site was expanded later on (and used - not by Hammer - for TV and special effects work work into the 1970s) the early films were shot in a very few actual, although cleverly redressed and reused, rooms.

I never saw any Hammer films at the cinema. When I did see something like The Satanic Rites of Dracula on late night TV it was "from the last twenty years or so" - there's a sobering thought.

And mentioning the iPlayer, I found out today that some programmes have been put on it in connection with the Gothic season:


oct. 22, 2014, 4:59am

>16 housefulofpaper: - Excellent link! I think I remember seeing the Joan Bakewell/Bronte sisters one (yet another lady I was wildly in love with as a young lad - Late Night LIne Up - "We 'ad real telly when I were lad"), but I shall probably watch all four. Thanks for that. Don't know why I didn't find them when I was hunting the iPlayer for this stuff.

oct. 25, 2014, 6:37am

There's yet more BBC programming in the Gothic season. This time it's on the digital radio station radio 4 Extra:
26/10 1:30-3:00 pm The Castle of Otranto (dramatisation from 1996) (also repeated 3:30 am next morning)
27/10 6:30-7:00 am/1:30-2:00 pm/8:30-9:00 pm 3 chances to catch A Guided Tour of the Castle of Otranto (repeated yet again at 2:30 am next morning)
28/10 3:00-4:00 The Mysteries of Udolpho pt 1 (another dramatisation from 1996) (repeated 3:00 am)
29/10 3:00-4:00 The Mysteries of Udolpho pt 2 (repeated 3:00 am)

On TV, BBC 4 is showing Hammer's The Curse of Frankenstein at 10:00 pm on 27/10 (after the 2nd part of Andrew Graham-Dixon's documentary series).
Starting at 10:00 pm on 28/10, after the new documentary on 14th Century Gothic architecture by Dr Janina Ramirez, there's pt 2 of The Life and Loves of a She-Devil and the Supernatural episode "Night of the Marionettes".

oct. 26, 2014, 11:23am

>18 housefulofpaper: Thanks so much for the link and the listings, very handy!

There are some awful errors in Hammer's 'Dracula' - for example, the crossed swords décor on one interior wall of Dracula's castle! It's amazing how Hammer utilised the tiny Bray space e.g. the interior of Dracula's castle was redressed as the graveyard, both sets share the same steps.

>15 alaudacorax: You're right about films on British tv - don't get me started. When I think of the 1970s horror seasons on the beeb, ITV's 'Appointment with fear' and the education I got in other genres too (particularly foreign film, 30s and 40s musicals and dramas). Thank goodness for dvd and blu ray is all I can say.

oct. 28, 2014, 6:15pm

> 19

You've got a forensic eye! I miss most errors of that sort.

I've got the last* lot of Gothic-related programming.


1/11 BBC2 9:00-10:00 pm Frankenstein and the Vampyre: a Dark and Stormy Night
1/11 BBC2 12:00-1:00 am TOTP2:Halloween Special ("Steve Wright introduces some of the spookiest Top of the Pops clips ever")
2/11 BBC4 8:30-9:00 The Secret Life of Books (Anatomist Alice Roberts examines Mary Shelley's Frankenstein)
3/11 BBC4 9:00-10:00 pm The Art of Gothic (3)
3/11 BBC4 10:00-11:25 The Mummy (1959)
4/11 BBC4 10:00-11:00 The Life and Loves of a She-Devil (3)
4/11 BBC4 11:00-11:50 Supernatural: Viktoria


31/10 Radio 4 Extra 7:00-10:00 pm - Andrew Maxwell's Hallowe'en Hoolie (I don't know much about this, but it's evidently an evening of repeats - including The League of Gentlemen's Ghost Chase (the comedy troupe - if that doesn't make them sound too much like The Crazy Gang - spend the night at The Ancient Ram Inn))
2/11 Radio 4 Extra 1:30-3:00 pm - The Beetle (1997 dramatisation of Richard Marsh's 1897 novel) (repeated 3:30 am next morning).

* Presumably the last episode of The Life and Loves of a She-Devil will follow next week, and I think there'll be an adaptation of The Turn of the Screw on Radio 4 Extra.

Editat: oct. 30, 2014, 7:11am

>20 housefulofpaper: - I think I just had a brief moment of dyslexia or something, and got my mind quite boggled and rather delighted: I read one of your 'radio' lines as 'Andrew MARVELL's Hallowe'en Hoolie'. That's going to be simmering in the back of my mind all day. The first lines into my mind were '... at my back I always hear' (What? AARGH!!!) and 'The grave's a find fine and private place ...' (probably declaimed in Christopher Lee's accents - somewhat muffled ...)

Edited - 'find'?

Editat: oct. 29, 2014, 6:19am

>20 housefulofpaper: - I haven't been much impressed by the first two of 'The Art of the Gothic'.

To be honest, I should have foreseen that as I don't really like documentaries - it usually seems to me that they spend a half-hour or an hour telling you stuff you could get in five minutes from a book or good magazine. And if it's a subject I know something about, I get really impatient at how sketchy and long-winded they are.

The first two did have an interesting point each, though. In the first, I appreciated the series of exterior and interior shots of Strawberry Hill. In the second, I realised that I'd never really appreciated how heavily the Romantic poets were into drugs (assuming Dixon was right in his assertions). It's something I'd just associated with de Quincey. Though, having written that, I have some memory of reading that Coleridge's 'In Xanadu ...'* was the result of drug-fuelled dreaming.

ETA - *Just looked that up - it's called 'Kubla Khan' - got the right poet, though.

oct. 29, 2014, 4:01pm

I suppose the episode of Great British Railway Journeys on as I write could also have been programmed as part of the Gothic season, since it starts at St Pancras station.

There does seem to be a sort of middlebrow, mid-tempo house style to all these BBC4 documentaries. It's a pity they couldn't screen Jonathan Meades' C4 documentary from 10 years or so back, which included Christopher Biggins as Queen Victoria!

Andrew Marvell's Hallowe'en Hoolie would have been quite something wouldn't it?

I'm sure the Romantic poets - and their wider circle - were heavily into what we'd now class as recreational drug use, from Humphrey Davy's laughing gas parties onwards. I'll post a link to a book I have on the subject.

oct. 29, 2014, 4:04pm

This is the one: Mike Jay Emperors of Dreams

Editat: oct. 30, 2014, 7:37am

>24 housefulofpaper: - Sounds interesting - yet another one for the wish lists!

oct. 30, 2014, 4:41pm

The Innocents is on BBC Radio 4 Extra tomorrow at 10:00 am and repeated 3:00 p.m.

Editat: nov. 3, 2014, 6:06am

>9 housefulofpaper:, >11 alaudacorax:, >15 alaudacorax:

In 'Horror Europa', is there some horror/Gothic significance that I'm missing to the fact of Mark Gatiss wearing brown shoes with a blue suit? I noticed the camerawork deliberately drew the viewers attention to it two or three times at the beginning, just in case you didn't pick up on it for yourself. Is there, perhaps, some filmic or literary allusion that I'm missing?

I couldn't wear brown shoes and a blue suit myself, but I can't say the practice has ever struck me as particularly sinister.

ETA - I watched it again after writing the above, and realised that at intervals all through the programme the camera-work draws attention to the shoes. I hate feeling that there's something going on that I'm just not getting - help me somebody! Incidentally, at the time of writing there are still fifteen days left to watch it on the BBC iPlayer (ignore the bit that says 'these programmes are not currently available' - just click on the title).

nov. 3, 2014, 6:41pm

>27 alaudacorax:

I'll have to watch again (didn't have time tonight, watched the third part of Andrew Graham-Dixon's documentary - the best of the three, I thought, with interesting things to say about capitalism and colonialism). It might be that the focusing on the shoes is more playful riffing on the murderer in italian giallo films, of which the close ups on Gatiss' black-gloved hands is an obvious example.

gen. 15, 2015, 7:51am

I finally got to see the Gothic exhibition yesterday morning (thank goodness, given it finishes next Tuesday). It surpassed my expectations! I doubt I will ever see again, collected together in one place, so many original manuscripts from favourite authors. I particularly enjoyed the 'Frankenstein' manuscript (with Percy Shelley's comments in the margins), the beautifully written manuscript of 'Jane Eyre', and Stoker's hastily written manuscript of the play of 'Dracula' (with pasted in extracts from the printed book!) I could hardly believe how tiny and cramped Wilkie Collins' writing was in the manuscript of 'Basil'. It looked illegible (and this, with my reading glasses on) - was paper at a premium at the time? Very interesting too to see the very rare letter from Ann Radcliffe (to her Mother-in-law, with whom relations seemed strained - it starts 'Dear Madam'!)

I very much enjoyed the flow through from literature to films, particularly the Universal and Hammer film material, including the lurid storyboards for 'The Scars of Dracula', and the film clips on show were well chosen.

Including objects like Dr Dee's obsidian spirit mirror (on loan from the British Museum), and the chilling 'Dear Boss' Jack the Ripper letter were nice touches.

feb. 15, 2015, 3:52pm

Here's the first part of an in-depth article on the Exhibition, from Jez Winship's "Sparks in Electrical Jelly" blog.