“A City of Resurrections” and “a City of Nightmares”: London, Female Monstrosity, and the Weird Sublime in Arthur Machen’s “The Great God Pan” Cover Image
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“A City of Resurrections” and “a City of Nightmares”: London, Female Monstrosity, and the Weird Sublime in Arthur Machen’s “The Great God Pan”
“A City of Resurrections” and “a City of Nightmares”: London, Female Monstrosity, and the Weird Sublime in Arthur Machen’s “The Great God Pan”

Author(s): Jacek Mydla
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies, Studies of Literature, Comparative Study of Literature, Other Language Literature, Rural and urban sociology, Theory of Literature
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Keywords: late-Victorian Gothic; the weird tale; sublime; the city; femininity; monstrosity; decadence
Summary/Abstract: As a point of departure I present the psychoanalytic interpretive strategies used to address late-Victorian, or fin-de-siecle, Gothic fictions. These strategies see in the fictions expression of the numerous anxieties that troubled Victorian at the turn of the nineteenth century. Also, one of the second-wave Gothic’s representatives, Arthur Machen’s “The Great God Pan” can be read as a fictional expression of those anxieties. The approach I propose in the main body of the article consists in seeing in Machen’s story a realisation of a new type of the sublime, called here the weird sublime. I show how Machen engages the ideas of the modern metropolis (London), the femme fatale, and of the occult to construct this type of sublimity. In particular, attention is drawn to the way in which the female element becomes fused, via the intercession of the pagan deity, with the city.

  • Page Range: 25-55
  • Page Count: 31
  • Publication Year: 2015
  • Language: English