Gothic, Teens and Pop Culture — Guest editors: Dr Yannick Bellenger-Morvan, Dr Marine Galiné

“The Gothic has always had links with adolescence,” Glennis Byron and Sharon Deans maintain (Hogle 2014), arguing that the teenage character, whose mind and body are marked by growth and transformation, may be construed as a gothic trope, as a metaphor for disturbance and liminality.

Borrowing from Victorian iconography and gothic literature, Goth subculture(s) emerged in Britain and the USA in the early 1980s, in the latter days of the punk movement. Pervading a variety of cultural productions, from music to fashion and films, Goth and teen culture coalesced in rebellion against the prevailing zeitgeist of the time.

However, in the 21st century, Goth is no longer considered a transgressive subculture, but, rather, as part of mainstream pop culture, especially with the explosion in teen-gothic television. A form of Gothicisation of popular culture seems to have taken place, with the central figure of the vampire, trapped in the forever young body of a teenager or young adult, the – literally – undying image of a tortured individual who struggles to come to terms with his/her new identity.

This publication thus aims to focus on Gothic TV series for teens as much as teens in Gothic TV series from 2000 till today. Its purpose is to address the following issues:

  • Gothic tropes in 21st century popular culture: renewal, rewriting or ‘cashing in’ on over-used motifs? Has the boom of fan culture had an impact on recent Goth pop series?
  • From British literature to American television : cultural and generic transfers/hybridity (teen drama x supernatural horror, the gothic x soap operas).
  • From publications in instalments (journals, “penny dreadfuls”) to TV series: questions of genre, narrative construction of dread, rebranding and marketing (importance of “gothic” label); TV format: series or serial? anthologies? self-contained narratives?
  • “What gothic looks like is increasingly becoming as important as the stories that it tells” (Spooner 2017): the dissemination of the Gothic aesthetic in mainstream TV series: “an anachronistic vestige” or a historical setting that enables a postmodern fiction to replay contemporary concerns (Spooner and McEvoy 2007), in other words, has the “Gothic look” superseded the “gothic story”?

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