Synopses & Reviews
In Goth's Dark Empire cultural historian Carol Siegel provides a fascinating look at Goth, a subculture among Western youth. It came to prominence with punk performers such as Marilyn Manson and was made infamous when it was linked (erroneously) to the Columbine High School murders. While the fortunes of Goth culture form a portion of this book's story, Carol Siegel is more interested in pursuing Goth as a means of resisting regimes of sexual normalcy, especially in its celebration of sadomasochism (S/M). The world of Goth can appear wide-ranging: from films such as Edward Scissorhands and The Crow to popular fiction such as Anne Rice's "vampire" novels to rock bands such as Nine Inch Nails. But for Siegel, Goth appears as a mode of being sexually undead--and loving it. What was Goth and what happened to it? In this book, Siegel tracks Goth down, reveals the sources of its darkness, and shows that Goth as a response to the modern world has not disappeared but only escaped underground.
Siegel (English and American studies, Washington State Univ., Vancouver) counters the dearth of research into goth and the hostility of post--Columbine representations with a sympathetic, compelling examination of goth subculture as premised on gender fluidity, with sadomasochistic practices as 'radical technologies of resistance.' This argument is strongly informed by French theorists Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, presupposing some familiarity with their arguments. To this end, goth is a revolutionary mode of becoming in the face of alienating culture. Methodologically, Siegel draws loosely from many online discussions with goths, but more so on portrayals of goth through music, novels, and cinema, including Boys Don't Cry and The Matrix. For example, Siegel examines Poppy Z. Brite's novels to foreground the male hero as a masochist challenging the gender binary by 'queering' masculinity. Siegel also challenges perceptions of goth racism with attention to Asian American youths involved in goth. This book is sometimes difficult to follow. Chapter one opens with gender and sexuality in goth--related music and closes with a critique of abstinence--only education. Linkages between such elements depend on careful readers; such readers will be rewarded with a provocative analysis of the challenge and resistance goth desire represents within 'America's culture of denial.' Summing Up: Recommended. Upper--division undergraduates and above.R. C. Raby, Brock University, 2006jul CHOICE
"Siegel... counters the dearth of research into goth and the hostility of post-Columbine representations with a sympathetic, compelling examination of goth subculture as premised on gender fluidity, with sadomasochistic practices as 'radical technologies of resistance.'... Recommended." --Choice Indiana University Press
"[Carol Siegel] makes a significant contribution to the intellectual discourse on this subculture... The panoramic quality of Goth's Dark Empire certainly poses a challenge, and the book makes no apology for its wide coverage of material from various disciplines. Instead, Siegel presents this diversity and complexity as a fundamental feature of the Goth community, its openness, and its fluidity..." --Rocky Mountain Review of Language and Literature Indiana University Press Indiana University Press
Provides a fascinating look at the Goth subculture showing that Goth as a response to the modern world by Western youth has not disappeared but only escaped underground.
About the Author
Carol Siegel, Professor of English and American Studies at Washington State University, Vancouver, is author of Male Masochism: Modern Revisions of the Story of Love (IUP, 1995); New Millennial Sexstyles (IUP, 2000); and Lawrence Among the Women: Wavering Boundaries in Women's Literary Tradition.
Table of Contents
1. Perils for the Pure: Goth Cultures and Abstinence Programs
2. In Memoriam Darkwave Hippies: Angela Carter through a Goth Lens
3. That Obscure Object of Desire Revisited: Poppy Z. Brite and the Goth Hero as Masochist
4. Boys Don't Cry: Brandon Teena's Stories
5. Heterosexualizing the Femme Boy: From Tea and Sympathy to Crime and Punishment in Suburbia
6. Identity Hunter A: Asian American Goths and New Masculinities
Conclusion: Goth's Come Undone
Appendix: A Discography of Goth Rock Artists, by Don Anderson