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Gothic Sunshine: Spanish Film and the Creep Factor of the Full Light of Day


Davies A (2015) Gothic Sunshine: Spanish Film and the Creep Factor of the Full Light of Day. The Gothic Imagination, 06.03.2015.

First paragraph: The Gothic mode is noted for its chill factor – and is therefore unsurprisingly antithetical to sunlight. Among the many familiar characteristics of Gothic style are greyness, mist and cold: when the sun does appear it is often labelled weak or sickly, countering the usual association of the sun with warmth and health and suggesting a malaise in the environment in which the story is set. Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that nowadays the Gothic is not readily associated with Spain, which suffers from its own clichés, notably being over-endowed with sun. Spain and Italy provided prime Gothic locations for the 18th-century heyday of the Gothic novel, and Spain specifically was the location for works such as Lewis’s The Monk and Maturin’s Melmoth the Wanderer. Authors were drawn to such locations not because of the sunshine but the association of the Southern Mediterranean with superstitious beliefs deriving from Catholic societies that contrasted with the supposedly rational and pragmatic ideologies of Protestant Northern Europe. Well before the rise of tourism to Spain in the 1960s, the Gothic authors of the North took their readers on virtual tours to the country. With the rise of twentieth-century tourism, though, the equation of Spain with sun has replaced the earlier Gothic portrait of supersition.

Publication date06/03/2015
Publisher URL…ll-light-of-day/