– Gothic –

The Art of Gothic: Britain’s Midnight Hours

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For the last two weeks I have been listening to Andrew Graham-Nixon (Art Historian) talking about Gothic art in this programme.

First episode was about the original revival of Gothic as an art movement and social movement (in context of how people want to revive the past in some ways), then lead to how people pushed themselves into further revival, in order to deal with their horrors and anxieties over societies in the Industrial Revolution period. With its final episode spoke heavily on vampire, I adore the episode especially on how vampire relates to Capitalism. For example, how the body of capitalism drained the blood and energy of workers.

“Capital is dead labour, that, vampire-like, only lives by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks. The time during which the labourer works, is the time during which the capitalist consumes the labour-power he has purchased of him.”

” Constant capital, the means of production, considered from the standpoint of the creation of surplus-value, only exist to absorb labour, and with every drop of labour a proportional quantity of surplus-labour. While they fail to do this, their mere existence causes a relative loss to the capitalist, for they represent during the time they lie fallow, a useless advance of capital. And this loss becomes positive and absolute as soon as the intermission of their employment necessitates additional outlay at the recommencement of work. The prolongation of the working-day beyond the limits of the natural day, into the night, only acts as a palliative. It quenches only in a slight degree the vampire thirst for the living blood of labour.”

For the impression on the programme – Graham-Nixon’s investigation seemed indicating that Gothic instead of being seen as a sheer art movement, should be seen as a collaboration between art and social movement under the changes. Through the programme, the perceptions that novelists and artists received toward their experiences with the society, often reflected through their work. For example, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. 

In fact – all art in some ways, big or small, related deeply with both individuals and societies through inter-effect.


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