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Miskatonic Institute: Corridor Gothic
October 24, 2019 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
This class investigates the role of the corridor in Gothic fiction and horror film from the late 18th century to the present day. It seeks to establish this transitional place as a crucial locus, by tracing the rise of the corridor as a distinct mode of architectural distribution in domestic and public buildings since the 18th century.
The lecture tracks pivotal appearances of the corridor in fiction and film, and argues that it has become associated with a specific emotional tenor, less to do with amplified fear and horror and more to do with emotions of Angst or dread.
This talk will explore how the corridor has become a modern place of unease and dread, from the hotel hallway of H. P. Lovecraft’s ‘The Shadow over Innsmouth’ via Kafka’s labyrinthine passages in ’The Trial’ to the contemporary horror film obsession with corridors, as evidenced in ’Stranger Things’ or Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’.
The talk will give a history of the origins of the corridor and its often utopian associations in the 18th and early 19th century, before it became associated with faceless institutions, bureaucracies and the mid-20th century office. By the end of class, Miskatonic students should be able to assess whether we have passed from a corridic to a profoundly anti-corridic era.
Roger Luckhurst is a British writer and academic. He is Professor in Modern and Contemporary Literature in the Department of English and Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London and was Distinguished Visiting Professor at Columbia University in 2016. He works on Victorian literature, contemporary literature, Gothic and weird fiction, trauma studies, and speculative/science fiction.
Luckhurst is notable for his introductions and editorships to the Oxford World’s Classics series volumes — Late Victorian Gothic Tales, Dracula, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Portrait of a Lady, H.P. Lovecraft’s Classic Horror Tales, King Solomon’s Mines, and The Time Machine — and for his books on J. G. Ballard (1997), The Invention of Telepathy (2002), Science Fiction (2005) The Trauma Question (2008), The Mummy’s Curse: The True Story of a Dark Fantasy (Oxford University Press, 2012), and Zombies: A Cultural History (Reaktion Press, 2015).
He has also written two books for the British Film Institute classic film series on The Shining and Alien. Luckhurst has written pieces for The Guardian and features for the film journal Sight and Sound and wrote and presented the BBC Radio 4 documentary about mummy curses in 2012. He has been an occasional film reviewer and commentator for the radio programmes Front Row and Free Thinking.
About the Miskatonic Institute:
The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies is an international organization that offers university-level history, theory and production-based masterclasses for people of all ages, founded by film writer and programmer Kier-La Janisse in March 2010, with regular branches in London, New York and Los Angeles as well as presenting special events worldwide.