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dc.contributor.advisorRadner, Hilary
dc.contributor.advisorMoine, Raphaelle
dc.contributor.authorDa Gama, Clement
dc.identifier.citationDa Gama, C. (2013). Un sous-genre parasitaire: continuité et changements dans le female gothic (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractThis thesis surveys the origin and development of the female gothic in feature-length fiction films. Highly influenced by gothic and female gothic literature, this feminine sub-genre marks American cinema from the 1940s through the twenty-first century, notwithstanding the fact that most scholars take the view that the female gothic ceased to exist at the end of the Golden Age of Hollywood. The first aim of this thesis is to assert the persistence of the female gothic during the past sixty years. Drawing on film scholarship, but also on social, gender and political analysis, this thesis demonstrates how the female gothic serves to express the social ideals and tensions of the periods that it traverses: the haven strategy of the nineteenth century, the separation of couples because of Word War II, the fear of Communism in the 1950s and Second-Wave Feminism are but a few examples of the ideologies and/or events influencing and defining the female gothic, and its evolution. Shifts in the popularity of dominant genres have had a determining influence on the re-cycling of the female gothic: the woman’s film, the film noir, the 1950s science-fiction film and, a couple of decades later, the slasher and the erotic thriller play major roles in the definition and transformation of the female gothic. Thus, this thesis looks at the female gothic from cinematic and socio-historical perspectives. These two approaches help to identify and understand the particular ideology of the films under consideration; recognized as a progressive and feminist sub-genre, the female gothic in fact fulfills a patriarchal agenda. Considering the zeitgeist of each era and its relation to each film, this thesis seeks to analyze how such an anti-women ideology develops within a sub-genre that appears (at least initially) to address a female audience. These relations between cinema, history and ideology are at the core of this thesis, which is divided into six chapters. The first chapter examines the genesis of the form in popular literature. The second chapter reviews the cycle of films in the 1940s, initially identified by feminist film scholars as examples of the sub-genre. The third chapter explores the development of the sub-genre in the 1950s and 1960s. The fourth chapter provides an in-depth analysis of Rosemary’s Baby (1968) as a case history exemplifying the ideological ambiguity of the female gothic. The fifth chapter reviews the temporary decline of the subgenre in the 1970s and 1980s. The sixth and final chapter explores the last developments of the subgenre through the twenty-first century and its extension into other media such as comic books and video games. Thus, this thesis demonstrates the capacity of the female gothic to “stay alive” by revitalizing itself through modification, repetition and generic parasitism, testifying to its relevance as a matrix of contemporary concerns regarding the heterosexual couple.
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
dc.rightsAll items in OUR Archive are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subjectfemale gothic
dc.subjectsecond-wave feminism
dc.subjectgothic literature
dc.subjectgeneric parasitism
dc.subjectamerican cinema
dc.titleUn sous-genre parasitaire: continuité et changements dans le female gothic
dc.language.rfc3066fr of Philosophy of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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