Catherine Spooner writes on William Blake and the whimsical macabre in graphic novels.

The latest issue of Gothic Studies includes an article on rewriting Blake in the graphic novel Satania.

The latest issue of Gothic Studies includes an article on rewriting Blake in a graphic novel by Catherine Spooner. The article, "My Friend the Devil: Gothic Comics, the Whimsical Macabre and Rewriting William Blake in Vehlmann and Kerascoët’s Satania" offers a close reading of Satania as explained in its abstract:

This article develops the concept of the ‘whimsical macabre’, introduced in my book Post-millennial Gothic: Comedy, Romance and the Rise of Happy Gothic (2017) to refer to texts which deliberately fuse the comic and cute with the sinister, monstrous or grotesque. I propose that Fabien Vehlmann and Kerascoët’s graphic novel Satania (2016) extends the whimsical macabre in new directions, by drawing on the work of Romantic poet and artist William Blake, whose illustrated books are often cited as forerunners of modern comics. By rewriting Blake’s visionary account of a journey into the infernal regions in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1793) and alluding to Songs of Innocence and of Experience (1789/1794), Satania reveals the serious ethical dimensions that underlie the whimsical macabre. In doing so, it interrogates and complicates the maturational narrative associated with children’s and young adult literature. The article concludes by suggesting that Satania’s heroine Charlie’s relationship with her demon draws on a Blakeian model of friendship in opposition, pointing towards a ‘reparative’ form of Gothic in which otherness is neither erased nor expelled, but embraced and cherished

Catherine Spooner works across both English Literature and Creative Writing. Her academic research is centred on Gothic in literature, film and popular culture, and fashion and costume in literature and film, within the broader spectrum of literature and culture from the late-eighteenth to the twenty-first century. As a creative writer, she is interested in poetry, place writing and historical fiction, and her writing usually has a strong Gothic flavour. She has published three monographs: Fashioning Gothic Bodies (2004), Contemporary Gothic (2006) and Post-Millennial Gothic: Comedy, Romance and the Rise of Happy Gothic (2017), which was awarded the International Gothic Association’s Allan Lloyd Smith Prize for significantly advancing the field of Gothic Studies in 2019. She has also edited a variety of works.

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