By contrast, the book as camera obscura tends to efface the materiality of the book as a form. In the camera obscura the book and the mind become one container in which the integrative power of the visual imagination combines and unifies images, smoothing each medium into the other beyond specific material supports or functioning mechanisms.
Taken together, these visual references suggest an intermedial culture of reading and viewing and the ability to traverse the material boundaries. Media blending one into another suggests a motility of the scene the possibility of transmedia movement. Book Interiors II : the bedroom scene in Frankenstein. The bedroom scene in Frankenstein bears all the marks of the textual condition that Benjamin considers peculiar of the age of mechanical reproduction.
Shelley constructs her key scene with an eye to its visual dissemination. The visual productivity of her writing is not what an experienced writer achieves by configuring a scene in such a way that it contains directions to the illustrator. Extraneous objects in the body of the book break up the rhythm of reading, interrupting the continuous flow from page to page, cover to cover.
Illustrations excerpt the portions of text they refer to and invite us to treat it as a collection of memorable excerpts ready for further use, part of the culture of antho-logization analyzed by Leah Price. In Frankenstein , however, the arresting quality of the bedroom scene does not depend on a literal halt in the act of reading.
In the novel the bedroom scene comes marked with apprehension and foreboding.
The bedroom scene is therefore haunted before we encounter it in the text. The much anticipated killing happens off-scene, following classical rules of composition, which declare death obscene. Accordingly, the first representation is auditory — a scream. She was there, lifeless and inanimate, thrown across the bed, her head hanging down, and her pale and distorted features half covered by her hair.
Everywhere I turn I see the same figure — her bloodless arms and relaxed form flung by the murderer on its bridal bier. Shelley The mismatch between the text and its visual reference — what we expect and the scene in front of us — is foregrounded in the way the visual field of the story is organized hierarchically according to wider or narrower points of view. For readers enjoy a double vision. On the one hand, in their extra-diegetic position they see more than the character; thanks to.
By looking up, Victor redirects the eyes of the reader towards the cause of the scene:. The windows of the room had before been darkened, and I felt a kind of panic on seeing the pale yellow light of the moon illuminate the chamber. The shutters had been thrown back, and, with a sensation of horror not to be described, I saw at the open window a figure the most hideous and abhorred. A grin was on the face of the monster; he seemed to jeer, as with his fiendish finger he pointed towards the corpse of my wife.
But what interests me is the intermedial potential of The Nightmare. I would like to suggest that the changes in the composition of The Nightmare, in its Fuselian and other variants, can be superimposed onto one another to create a moving palimpsest which animates the upper part of the scene. If writing offers a narrative and cinematic form for the bodies appearing simultaneously on canvas, if it can account for the palimpsestic movement of elements across different versions, cinematic effects that played on temporal deferral and the persistence of vision were the thrill of visual technologies at the turn of the century.
Movement in a continuous flow could be experienced at the Phantasmagoria, a visual entertainment invented by Paul de Philpsthal or Philidor, first performed in Paris in , then from at the Lyceum in London. The phantasmagoria was based on moving slides and sometimes two moving magic lantern projectors, hidden behind a screen on which they projected looming shadowy figures shrinking or enlarging with the movement of the lantern towards or away from the screen. As a result, change in dimension was perceived in a continuous flow, which often involved smoky effects and figures brought back from the dead.
Robertson As a spectacle the phantasmagoria ranges from the terrible to the ridiculous. While such a structure usually requires viewers who know the story and can fill-in what precedes and follows the scene represented, it can also work as a prompt for new creative processes. Animating Frankenstein : The Nightmare in film. So far the choice to single out the bedroom scene might have seemed gratuitous, perhaps teasing the expectation that a discussion of Frankenstein's key scenes would revolve around the creation of the monster.
However, when we turn to its cinematic transfer, the scene Shelley visualizes through Fuseli becomes a key imaginative source for filmmakers. The impending fate of Elizabeth in the bedroom is cut with scenes of Victor and other wedding-guests running around the house in search of the monster. We first see the monster outside the window, then entering the room and following Elizabeth pacing back and forth unawares.
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His in visibility measures the gap between her vision and ours, her freedom of movement and the shrinking time left to her. Then she closes the book, turns on the side, and looks up. The implication is that we are seeing through her eyes. A closer frame of the imp reveals his magnetic eyes meeting those of Mary and of the viewer. A live version of the imp is squatting on her tummy and his claws reach out for her throat when she wakes up and screams.
Another cut shows her sitting on the bed with Percy, who comes in to reassure her and offer help looking for whatever she thinks is outside the window. Then the scene cuts again onto a further Fuselian tableau vivant of The Nightmare , this time the version with the two women featuring Mary and Claire in bed together. The physical acts, practices, social forms and ideological configurations of each reappearance of key scenes are worth exploring with the tools of an intermedial poetics and aesthetics.
Benjamin, Walter  , Illuminations, trans. Harry Zohn, London, Fontana. Darwin, Erasmus , The Botanic Garden. The idea of St George as a Quixotic figure was consolidated after he was murdered by Irish rebels on his estate in Cork in February He then wrote to Fuseli the only evidence other than the account of the pageant linking the two asking him to create a rather mysterious allegorical picture that would be hidden away until his own death, when it would be discovered by his sons, itself a sort of Gothic plot-line. That painting it seems was never created, but he did commission a highly singular portrait from Hugh Douglas Hamilton, which Fintan Cullen has interpreted as an expression of specifically Anglo-Irish Protestant Gothic melancholy, a response to the current political troubles in which St George was to lose his life fig.
More generally, it is a depiction of the modern man as a dreamer, as disengaged from the world even when he is in uniform; arguably, it is an image of the emotional and sometimes physical masochism that has been argued as a defining feature of modern masculinity. In his cultivated tastes and his active patronage of literature and art St George conformed to the image of the modern masculine gentility, as did, perhaps, his association with literary and artistic circles of liberal and even radical political persuasions.
But he was also a soldier, and had been committed to service during a bloody war that many people in Britain thought was misguided, and which seemed more like a fratricidal civil conflict than a noble struggle. One consequence of this interaction, forcing a form of resolution onto the unstable relationship between inherited value and formless market, was the hardened definition of sexual identity as rooted in biology rather than social performance.
Their dynamism and stylisation points forward in history, not just because these traits were to reappear in popular graphic art in later ages, but because they point to the stark essentialising of the gendered body that emerged with modernity. One crucial branch of this project was physiognomy, the pseudo-science involving the interpretation of social character on the basis of physical signs; the leading practitioner of this new pseudo-science was Johann Casper Lavater, an old college friend of Fuseli, for whom, in the late s, he provided a series of drawings to illustrate a new translation of his essays on physiognomy.
Included among them is a pair of hands; the male full of energy and vigorously foreshortened, the female limp and lifeless and flat. The figures in the Perceval delivering Belisane , the old hag, the beautiful young woman, and the muscular hero, are ciphers expressing a schematic differentiation of sexual identity, mimicking the certainties of genealogical notions of identity and rendering those certainties the source of mystery. But this stark differentiation of visual form was equally open to the accusation that it represented a kind of absurd caricature, and removed the body from the schema of ethical value.
The pageant of , and the involvement of St George, suggests how Fuseli can productively be considered as a Gothic artist, not just in the sense that he illustrated such themes, nor simply by way of a general analogy that would compare his art with that of the writers of Gothic literature. Download the print version. Tate Papers ISSN is a peer-reviewed research journal that publishes articles on British and modern international art, and on museum practice today. Susan Matthews. Patrick McGrath and Louise Welsh.
Main menu additional Become a Member Shop. Twitter Facebook Email. Notes 1. This handwritten description appears among a collection of manuscript and published poems and reviews relating to the literary circle of Lichfield. On Ryves see E. On Gothic theatricals see also Jeffrey N.
On Rome in the s see Nancy L. Solkin ed. For this and the following see the relevant entries in Christopher W. See R. Alexander Pope, The Guardian no. See Andrea K. Letter of October , in Walter Scott ed. Watt, Contesting the Gothic , pp. See also Carolyn D. Rosso and Christopher Z. John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon, ed. His name is crossed through in the list for His rapid transfer to the 52nd is noted in James Hunter ed.
Sir Martin Hunter , Edinburgh , p. The sitter in this portrait has not previously been identified. The provenance is not known before , when the painting was shown in the New Assembly Rooms, Brighton, with the owner at that time being Mr Taverner or Tarner. It was acquired by the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne in In the s Ellis Waterhouse, Joseph Burke and Ursula Hoff corresponded over the identification of the sitter, but their discussions were inconclusive.
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An existing suggestion, that the sitter was the Hon. John Theophilus Rawdon-Hastings, was rejected, as he was only an officer for three months before losing his leg in the battle of Brandywine. An alternative suggestion was Captain Richard Bullock, but this could not be confirmed, either. This was put forward on the grounds of a relationship between the Melbourne picture and another Gainsborough painting, of his kinsman Lieut-Colonel Jonathan Bullock of Faulkbourn Hall. However, the two portraits do not really work as companions, and this latter picture remained with the Bullock family until , while the Melbourne picture was already in other hands.
The identification as St George proceeds on several fronts: following the death of his wife in the early s, St George wrote a letter to an artist, assumed to be Henry Fuseli, proposing that he create an emblematic portrait of him. Walter Scott ed. See Thomas J. Anne Hunter and Elizabeth Bell eds. William Godwin, Caleb Williams , ed. David McCracken, Oxford , p. See David H. The Diary of Benjamin Robert Haydon , ed. Clery, The Rise of Supernatural Fiction , p. See also Henderson, Romantic Identities , pp. See also Left Right. Tate Britain Exhibition. Press Release.