The Gothic Tradition in Supernatural

Essays on the Television Series


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About the Book

The CW’s long-running series Supernatural follows the adventures of brothers Sam and Dean Winchester as they pursue the “family business” of hunting supernatural beings. Blending monster-of-the-week storylines with the unfolding saga of the brothers’ often troubled relationship, the show represents Gothic concerns of anxiety, the monstrous, family trauma and, of course, the supernatural. The lines between human and monster, good and evil, are blurred and individual identities and motivations resist easy categorization. This collection of new essays examines how the series both incorporates and complicates Gothic elements related to traditional tropes, storytelling, women and gender issues and monstrosity.

About the Author(s)

Editor Melissa Edmundson specializes in 19th and 20th-century British women writers, with particular interests in ghost stories, the Gothic, and Anglo-Indian popular fiction.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Melissa Edmundson

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 204
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9976-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2486-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
Introduction (Melissa Edmundson) 1

Part 1. Gothic Tropes and Traditions
Gothic Anxieties—Then and Now: A Post–9/11 Examination of the Gothic (Alexandra Lykissas) 15
The Automobile as Moving Castle (Thomas Knowles) 25
Shadows of Hope: Gothic Motifs and Nihilism (Dana Fore) 37

Part 2. Gothic Storytelling
“You can’t spell subtext without ­S-E-X”: Gothic Intertextuality and the (Queer) Uncanny (Jamil Mustafa) 51
“I know everything that’s going to happen”: The Self-Reflexive Compulsion to Repeat (with a Difference) (Michael Fuchs) 63
Gothic Imaginings: Folkloric Roots (Daniel P. Compora) 75

Part 3. Gothic Women: Heroes and Victims
Coloniality and the Chicana Gothic: Travelling Myths in the Pilot
(Leow Hui Min Annabeth) 91
Wearing the Woman in White: The Doomed Lives and Afterlives of Women (E. J. Nielsen) 103
“What’s up, bitches?” Charlie Bradbury as Gothic Heroine (Ashley Walton) 114

Part 4. Gothic Others: Monstrous Selves
“We’ve all been demons”: Postmodern Gothic and the Fragmented Self (Jessica Seymour) 129
“Sympathy for the Devil”: The Neutralization of Traditionally Evil Figures (Samantha J. Vertosick) 143
“Psychotically, irrationally, erotically codependent”: Incest and the Gothic Other (Megan Fowler) 155
We All Have a Little Monster in Us: Dean Winchester, the Mark of Cain and the New Monster Paradigm (Lisa Schmidt) 167

About the Contributors 183
Index 185

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Devoted to the ongoing employment and development of the Gothic in the monster-hunting family drama”—ProtoView
  • “A great book”—Supernatural Wiki