Hitherto classified as a form of genre fiction, or as a particular aesthetic quality of literature by H. P. Lovecraft, the weird has now come to refer to a broad spectrum of artistic practices and expressions including fiction, film, television, photography, music, and visual and performance art. Largely under-theorized so far, The American Weird brings together perspectives from literary, cultural, media and film studies, and from philosophy, to provide a thorough exploration of the weird mode. Separated into two sections, the first exploring the concept of the weird and then the second how it is applied through various mediums, this book generates new approaches to fundamental questions: Can the weird be conceptualized as a generic category, as an aesthetic mode or as an epistemological position? What are the transformations it has undergone aesthetically and politically since its inception in the early 20th century? Which strands of contemporary critical theory and philosophy have engaged in a dialogue with the discourses of and on the weird? And what is specifically "American" about this aesthetic mode?
As the first comprehensive, interdisciplinary study of the weird, this book not only explores the writings of H. P. Lovecraft, Caitlin Kiernan, Jeff VanderMeer, China Mieville and Cormac McCarthy, but also the graphic novels of Alan Moore, the music of Captain Beefheart, the television show Twin Peaks and the films of Lily Amirpour, Matthew Barney, and David Lynch.
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Julius Greve is a lecturer and research associate at the Institute for English and American Studies, University of Oldenburg, Germany. He is the author of Shreds of Matter: Cormac McCarthy and the Concept of Nature (Dartmouth College Press, 2018), and of numerous articles on Cormac McCarthy, Mark Z. Danielewski, critical theory, and speculative realism. Greve has co-edited America and the Musical Unconscious (Atropos, 2015), Superpositions: Laruelle and the Humanities (Rowman & Littlefield International, 2017), and "Cormac McCarthy Between Worlds" (2017), a special issue of EJAS: European Journal of American Studies.
Florian Zappe is Assistant Professor of American Studies at the Georg-August-University Goettingen, Germany. He is the author of books on William S. Burroughs ('Control Machines' und 'Dispositive' - Eine foucaultsche Analyse der Machtstrukturen im Romanwerk von William S. Burroughs zwischen 1959 und 1968, Peter Lang, 2008) and Kathy Acker (Das Zwischen schreiben - Transgression und avantgardistisches Erbe bei Kathy Acker, Transcript 2013), as well as the co-editor of the forthcoming volume Surveillance|Society|Culture. Additionally, he has published essays on a variety of topics, ranging from artists such as William S. Burroughs, Genesis (Breyer) P-Orrdidge or Larry Clark, various modes of cinema to the cultural history of atheism in America.
1.Introduction: Conceptualizations, Mediations, and Remediations of the American Weird
Julius Greve (University of Oldenburg) and Florian Zappe (University of Goettingen)
Part One: Concept
2. A Doxa of the American Weird
Dan O'Hara (New College of the Humanities, UK)
3. The Oozy Set: Toward a Weird(ed) Taxonomy
Johnny Murray (Independent Scholar)
4. Validating Weird Fiction as an (Im)Possible Genre
Anne-Maree Wicks (University of Southern Queensland, Australia)
5. Woke Weird and the Cultural Politics of Camp Transformations
Stephen Shapiro (University of Warwick, UK)
6. The Weird in/of Crisis, 1930/2010
Tim Lanzendoerfer (University of Mainz, Germany)
7. After Weird: Harman, Deleuze, and the American 'Thing'
Daniel D. Fineman
8. Concerning A Deleuzean Weird: A Response to Daniel Fineman
Graham Harman (American University in Cairo, Egypt/Southern California Institute of Architecture, USA)
Part Two: Medium
9. Get Out, Race and Formal Destiny (on Common Weirdness)
10. From a Heap of Broken Images: Symbolic Resistance and Thematic Space in Ana Lily Amirpour's Weird Western Landscapes
Maryam Aras (University of Bonn, Germany)
11. "It is in Our House Now": Twin Peaks, Nostalgia, and David Lynch's Weird Spaces
Oliver Moisich and Markus Wierschem (University of Paderborn, Germany)
12. Demolishing the Blues: Captain Beefheart as Modernist Outsider
Paul Sheehan (Macquarie University, Australia)
13. Weird Visual Mythopoeia: On Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle
Florian Zappe (University of Goettingen, Germany)
14. Hidden Cultures and the Representation and Creation of Weird Reality in Alan Moore's Providence
Alexander Greiffenstern (University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany)
15. The Glamour of the Eerie
Fred Francis (University of Kent, UK)
16. Conspiracy Hermenuetics: The Secret World as Weird Tale
17. Afterword: Weird in the Walls
Roger Luckhurst (Birkbeck, University of London, UK)