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Media, Computer Images and Gothic Architecture Dr Zeynep Aygen & Marina Hauer, University of Portsmouth ABSTRACT Welcome

to the world of Gothic. War has decimated the land, Orc Hordes are invading human territory and the king of the land needs a lot of ore to forge enough weapons for his army to stand against this threat. (www.amazon.com/Gothic-PC/dp/B0005QIQY, accessed at 26.11.2008) Euro-American Fantasy role-playing games (RPGs) which, if depicting historic environments, are most commonly situated in medieval surroundings, evoking a renewed rise to power of the Gothic literary tradition. Although ancient superstitions have been rationally prosecuted by science since the Enlightenment, even more ancient emotions like the fear of the unknown and the fear of the dark as witnessed by the sun worship temples and cults emerging in very early ages have prevailed persistently to transcend into literature, film and most recently to computer games and their representation in the media. On the other hand the nineteenth century admiration of Gothic as a symbol of early European civilisation as opposed to the classical civilisation of ancient Greece and Rome helped the Continent to come to terms with its medieval past. The post-modern reflections of this positive, non-sinister face of Gothic can be seen today in fashion, interior design and primarily in video games, sections of which represent a preference in their media advertisements. Gothic seems to provide a useful dichotomy to video games representing both an urbanised, civilised world as opposed to the tents of the nomads (See Guild Wars Factions, 2006) and at the same time mystery, horror and darkness mentioned in the first paragraph. This dichotomy can be also observed in other areas of post-modern Gothic revival; however nowhere it is as controversial as in the digitalised twenty-first century fragmental Gothic of the game culture and its media representation. The paper investigates the elevation of Gothic Architecture from the Gothic novel and Neo-Gothic cathedral to provide a most preferred environment for a type of screen-second life by exploring the psychological, social and technical parameters leading to this preference. Key Words: Media, Computer Images, Gothic Architecture, RolePlaying Games, Post-Modernism

Media, Computer Images and Gothic Architecture The ugly is very appealing to men. [...] Its instinct. One shrinks from the ugly yet wants to look at it. There is a devilish fascination in it. We extract pleasure from Horror. (Berman, 1939) INTRODUCTION This statement, made by the character of King Louis XI of France to Frollo in the 1939 motion picture The Hunchback of Notre Dame, sums up centuries of mankinds fascination with darkness and mystery. Beyond that, it describes the transition of the horrifying into the realm of the aesthetic to a point where, in the eclectic postmodern society of today, the boundaries between appalling and appealing are no longer visible. This relates as much to the visual arts including architecture, film and digital entertainment media as it does to literature. In many ways, the mysterious and even horrific is much more intriguing than everyday occurrences. While the roots of this fascination can be traced to certain dispositions as evolutionary results, Pascal Boyer and Scott Atran have argued that no single psychological mechanism disposes humans to believe in religion and the supernatural (in Grodal, 2008, p.47). It rather seems to be a combination of several factors, which include the very counter-intuitiveness and violation of common experiences as well as innate predator fear and fantasies of (self-) empowerment. In the Renaissance, when the term Goths and Gothic were first coined, little was known about the Nordic tribes which left no art or literature of their own and who were perceived to have brought about the barbaric Dark Ages that followed the fall of Rome and the classical civilization. Consequently, Gothic soon came to stand for everything medieval, or else, non-classical (Punter & Byron, 2004, p. 3-4). The Victorian age rendered this barbaric connotation thoroughly fashionable, thus elevating an architectural concept to be a subject discussed in the developing mass media such as newspapers and entertainment journals for the first time. Contrary to other styles, the Gothic has maintained this attribute in a kaleidoscope of shapes and forms right up to the present day. Nowadays, true to contemporary postmodern tendencies, the concept of Gothic has been transformed and fragmented to leave only a faint trace of its original meanings, particularly so in Fantasy and Horror video games. While the association with darkness remains, in-game references to Gothic architecture may now be at once menacing and mysterious as well as familiar and revered. In some cases, Gothic stands for nothing more than a medieval association. It can therefore be argued that the Gothic as a genre has been diffused and thinned out as part of a prevailing postmodern eclecticism and is now as fragmented as its representations in entertainment media, particularly video games. 2

GOTHIC BEGINNINGS The birth of the Gothic literature tradition is commonly placed around the middle of the 18th century, and largely attributed to a certain Horace Walpole, who in 1764 wrote what is regarded as the first ever Gothic novel, The Castle of Otranto. As changes in taste and social appreciation are always a fluent, gradual development of interwoven ideas and disciplines, it seems prudent to briefly explore the factors leading up to the extraordinary transition of the supernatural into entertainment. In the early 1700s, architects and theoreticians were beginning to tire of imitating the Roman imitations of lost Greek originals, which were associated with rationalist doctrine, and had started to turn away from the indulgence of Baroque and Rococo towards the purism of older styles (Brion, 1966, p. 9). At around the same time, intellectuals started to chafe at the strict restraints the enlightened society was placing on them. The medieval architecture of the Goths, although barbaric, began to be perceived as a system of order, and its spiritual as well as mysterious connotations appealed to the counterenlightened mind (Aldrich, 1994, p. 12; Botting, 1996, p. 5). Ruins became revered as both remnants of a glorious past as well as a symbol of contemporary philistinism through their very state of decay (Crook, 1995, p. 32). In 1762, two years before the Castle of Otranto was published, a sensational story of the appearance of a ghost coursed through Londons entertainment-hungry society like wildfire. The ghost, which communicated with visitors through a series of knocks, quickly became the talk of town and attracted large numbers of spectators. As minds were being conditioned to appreciate the barbaric and medieval, a growing disenchantment with the artificiality and formality of entertainment in the city meant that superstitions, which were formerly associated with the navet of the rural population, began to come into focus as an indigenous pastime. For the rich and the penniless alike, the haunted house in Cock Lane was the place to be. All of a sudden, ghosts had become a most fashionable metropolitan diversion (Clery, 1995, p. 16). Up to that point, the supernatural had most commonly been discussed in reference to religious doctrine, and would have been haughtily dismissed. The sudden upsurge in popularity however meant that good business was to be made from associations with the supernatural. In the industrious climate of emerging consumerism, this naturally led to a number of hastily published pamphlets with assorted illustrations on spirits and ghosts, as well as revised stage productions, some of them with earnest intentions while others openly made mockery of both spectacle and spectators. Whether the motivation behind indulging in the ghost hype was serious religious debate or curious and often sceptic sensationalism, it nonetheless paved the way 3

for the transformation of the supernatural from naive superstition to conscious entertainment (Clery, 1995, p. 10). This development also inspired Horace Walpole, who had, albeit as a sceptic, visited the ghost in Cock Lane and who, in a letter (to G. Montagu, Jan. 1766, in H. Walpole, 1964, p. x) described himself as a lover of visions and dreams. Yet while the public attitude towards the supernatural as fiction had begun to change, many contemporaries still regarded the Gothic writing as a symptom of regression to barbarism. Walpole, even though clearly proud of his literary work, was also fearing public ridicule so much so that he published the first edition of his Castle of Otranto not under his own name, but as the translation of an original Italian manuscript, and even then apologised for the authors views (see Walpole, 1964, preface to the first edition, pp. 36). It was only after the success of the first edition that Walpole admitted to the deceit. Over the following years, the social climate gradually changed in favour of supernatural fiction and by the turn of the century, Gothic writing had become an autonomous genre owing to a new appreciation of the medieval romance with its emotive tales of heroism, mystery and the exotic. Horace Walpole was not only highly influential in terms of the Gothic novel, but also one of the most prominent figures in early Neo-Gothic architecture. Driven by what would today be diagnosed as a strong tendency for escapism, Walpole bought an estate on the Thames and, between 1748 and 1792, converted the house into a toy castle - an elaborate vision of Gothic-ness (Fig.1). The estate, which he called Strawberry Hill, was by no means the first example of residential NeoGothicism, yet was rendered a hugely popular curiosity by serving as inspiration and indeed unofficial setting for his novel, which in turn encouraged other Neo-Gothic architectural projects. Walpole further published a book, Description of Strawberry Hill, in 1774 (Aldrich, 1994, pp. 58-67). In its second ever edition, the popular weekly magazine London Illustrated News featured a large story on Strawberry Hill in 1842 (No. 2, p. 8-9). It is at this point that the intricate connections between (Neo-)Gothic architecture and its literary eighteenth-century counterpart are revealed through a system of mutual influence. Sir Christopher Wren (1632-1723), a highly noted Neo-Classical British architect, is said to have described Gothic architecture as fantastical and licentious, [...] full of fret and lamentable imagery (in Aldrich, 1994, p. 14), using a set of vocabulary that would not be out of place in a Gothic novel. Together with romantic painting, Neo-Gothic architecture and writing both emerged from a growing opposition to the classicist precepts of order, symmetry, idealization and rationality, and found the fertile ground of industrialisation and early capitalism.

Fig.1: a comparison of (from top left to right) Strawberry Hill The real castle of Otranto Book illustration of the Castle of Otranto At the turn of the century, the supernatural had been established as a valid system of aesthetics within the literary realm (Clery, 1995, p. 9). The nineteenth century saw the creation of some of the best-known works of supernatural fiction, such as Mary Shelleys Frankenstein (1818), The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Robert Lewis Stevenson, 1886) and Bram Stokers Dracula (1897). Particularly for Victor Hugos masterpiece The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831), the architecture of the Gothic cathedral Notre Dame de Paris played a key role in elevating architecture from representing not only a scenesetting backdrop, but almost a character in itself. These stories, together with snippets of medievalist architecture, constitute the foundation of todays concept of Gothic. Driven by both antiquarian zeal and romantic conservatism (Crook, 1995, p. 1), Gothic architecture was not only reproduced, but enhanced and added to in an attempt to surpass historic examples Jokilehto (1999, pp. 109-112; 149-156) writes about early 19th century restoration efforts as the reconstruction of lost elements and destroyed buildings, in the process of which many architects got carried away with the fashionable Gothic and improved existing structures by making them more Gothic. MODERN GOTHIC: ARCHITECTURE, HORROR AND FILMS By the time motion films were being invented in the late nineteenth century, the Gothic revival had anchored the fashionable mystery and darkness and entertaining Horror firmly in the hearts of European and North American societies. Although in literature the Gothic novel did 5

not remain the largest genre throughout the century, and Neo-Gothic architecture was continuously warring with Neo-Classical styles for the favour of critics and patrons (see for example the debate over the style for the commission of the Houses of Parliament, England), their popularity endured largely unbroken. So it is unsurprising that just as it was back in the mid-eighteenth century with pulp novels, the Gothic genre readily seized the opportunity of distribution through new media with the advent of film. All in black and white and very silent, a tenminute filmic version of Frankenstein appeared in 1910, fifteen years after the pioneering cinematographers Lumire held their first public screening. Since the process of constructing films from a sequence of scenes was regarded as being highly architectural, architecture played an influential role in early cinema from the very beginning. Particularly the expressionist movies of the immediate post-war period, as aptly analysed by the German art critic Herman G. Scheffauer, elevated the concept of space from a static, dead backdrop or frame to a participant in the very emotions of a film (Vidler, 1993, p. 46). The stark contrasts of black and white films with copious dark shadows naturally lent themselves to the Gothic cause, while the very sets were designed be unsettling. The often eerie sceneries of gothic Prague portrayed in Paul Wegeners Der Golem: Wie er in die Welt kam (The Golem: How he came into the world, 1920) paint a vivid picture of unease which adds a palpable the tension to the film. The architect Hans Poelzig made use of darkness, Gothic-influenced architecture and gritty textures to great effect in the creation of the sets. Similar to the contemporary creation of fictional settings for movies or video games, Poelzig extracted essential Gothic architectural elements like the pointed arch, and twisted them to his requirements. Later, the Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) used medieval and Gothic architecture as an effective element to not only support but enhance the plot. Images of dark staircases, narrow corridors, gargoyles and the mysterious grandeur of Notre Dame itself dictate the mood of the film. In this case, one might argue that the setting is more important than the main character, Quasimodo the hunchback is associated with the cathedral, rather than vice versa. Of course, nowadays the use of certain architectural elements (or a lack thereof) for creating emotions and, as in video games, ludic constraints, is a well-practised exercise. This however will be discussed in more detail in the next part. In the early days of cinema, a large part of Gothic and Horror motion pictures were screen adaptations of well-known literary works, such as the above 1910 version of Frankenstein as well as a remake in 1931, Dracula (1931), Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1931). The highly acclaimed Nosferatu: Eine Symphonie des Grauens (Nosferatu: A symphony of horror; 1922), an expressionist German production, looks at first to be an independent Horror script but reveals itself to be an adaptation of Bram Stokers Dracula. It is thus that literature continued to influence Gothic and Horror even decades after its transition to film. Parallel to 6

the growth of the film industry, the genre expanded and supernatural tales were being produced as standalone movie scripts as well as cheap paperback novels. One could argue that the more the supernatural was disseminated through both films and pulp fiction, the more contents moved away from the original Gothic concept towards what we now understand as Horror. In terms of terminology, this means that there now is a distinction between Horror and Gothic, a distinction that did not necessarily seem to be made when the Gothic was created as a genre. Topics became darker, and what was originally a mysterious, frightful but in essence spiritual and virtuous environment gradually grew more evil. Laurie Taylor (2009, p. 49) describes Gothic as best defined by its processes, and, in particular, by subversion or transgression of boundaries such as cultural norms and social power structures, while Horror is defined by affect and the process of generating fear. Although Gothic elements are often strongly related to and used to produce Horror, the two are not intrinsically the same. Surprisingly, one can argue that iconic Gothic shapes and structures continued to be in use in architecture even after the revival styles had made way to modern no-frills architecture at the beginning of the 20th century. This becomes particularly evident if one considers the skyward-oriented, parallel lines of the grand ecclesial edifices of Europes high middle ages cathedrals. Their influence certainly shows in early North American high-rise buildings, but can even be traced as far as the former USSR. Some examples, like the Cathedral of Learning in Pittsburgh (1926-36), constitute a modern-era celebration of medieval aesthetics and wear their Gothic-ness open, and with pride. Buttress-like facade structures and vertical lines were also taken up by architects of the Art Deco period, the eclectic decorativeness of which would surely have been a thorn in the side of modern simplicity. The Boston Avenue Methodist Church (1929) in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the New India Assurance Building (1939) in Mumbai both feature a strong verticality in the facade design which is reminiscent of medieval church building without copying any elements directly. Manhattans iconic Empire State Building (1931) is a further step from traditional Gothic design, but there is no denying its spire-like qualities and desire to reach the sky. Not entirely removed from the western sphere of influence, the communist USSR mimicked some of the architectural examples of the capitalists and created what later became known as Stalinist Gothic a series of elaborate buildings such as the Seven Sisters (194759), among which is the Moscow State University. In claiming that Gothic traces can be found in architecture ever since the decline of its enormous popularity at the end of the 19th century, this paper does not strive to argue with the validity of commonly acknowledged features of the history of styles. The argument lies solely in the perception that the 19th century appreciation of medieval architecture, coupled with the popularity of literary tales full of 7

uncanny yet mysteriously gripping wishful thinking, has perpetrated and enforced a concept of Gothic aesthetics, which are now more diversified than ever before. Traces of Gothic ecclesial building styles continue to influence architecture up to the present day unsurprisingly, considering that the Gothic was not to be stamped out by modernism and nowadays finds a much more favourable climate in the eclectic, everything goes mindset of postmodernism. It is certainly not the most preferred building style in contemporary architecture, yet time and again, examples emerge to prove that the Gothic is, albeit changed, still very much alive in architecture. From the sleek glass facades of the 1984 PPG Place Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the silhouette of which could be compared with the famous Houses of Parliament in London, to the pointed arch shape of the proposed Trump International Hotel & Tower, Dubai, postmodern architecture adopts a mollified version of the Gothic, attempting associations with the sublime. However, the Gothic in physical architecture nowadays appears rather as an underlying current than a distinct stream of conscious design intentions. It is dwarfed by the staggering amount of representation Gothic architecture receives in contemporary entertainment media, particularly movies and video games. MEDIA - A POSTMODERN GOTHIC REVIVAL? With the emergence of American comic novels in the 1930s, Gothic features were condensed and transformed into an image of a dark, inhospitable and crime-infested metropolis Gotham City, home of the storybook vigilante Batman. This gloomy, almost apocalyptical built environment has been depicted differently by different artists over time, but always sees a return to Gothic and Art Deco elements. Stone gargoyles, which in medieval times adorned cathedrals in order to ward off evil, peer ominously from dark spires (Fig. 2). Reminiscent of scenes in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, they themselves have become an image of mystery and evil (Fig. 3). Dark alleys become associated with madness and crime, and the only ray of hope in this dreadful environment is a man impersonating a bat - one of the most iconic Gothic creatures through its associations with vampires, and notably, Count Dracula. These Gothic comic books, together with the previously mentioned horror pulp novels, helped propagate a very sinister side of the Gothic tradition. At around the same time, the phenomenal success of J.R.R. Tolkiens fantastic novels The Hobbit (1937) and The Lord of the Rings (1954-55) popularised a new genre closely related to Gothic writing Fantasy literature. If one regards horror as Gothic turned evil, then one might also think of Fantasy as Gothics friendly cousin. Fantasy as the creation of fantastic, often magically medieval new worlds as the setting for imaginative 8

storytelling is closely related to Gothic, particularly when portraying dark or evil agents, and freely borrows from Gothic literature tradition as well as popular folk superstitions and myths from all over the world. Although this paper is primarily concerned with Gothic and its image in historic and contemporary media, Fantasy has to be mentioned as one of the genres which nowadays, particularly in video games and motion pictures, most often visually portray Gothic architecture in a variety of forms through its association with the Medieval. Between themselves, Horror and Fantasy have fragmented and diversified the Gothic concept, helped along by commercial visualisations in novels, comic books and films, to form a new, facetted appearance in the true spirit of postmodern eclecticism. Fig. 2: Artists impression of Batman Fig. 3: Image from The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)

The advent of widespread computer use in the 1970s and 80s revolutionised the ways of image reproduction and dissemination, facilitating the Gothic media conquest that was to follow. Although computer graphics were very limited, Gothic was used from the very beginning, as a by-product of Fantasy and Horror, and was immediately established as a key ingredient in the design of virtual worlds, with the evolution of more complex backgrounds and environments in the 1990s. Studying the nature of representations of Gothic architecture in contemporary media one has to conclude that they appear frequently, yet unlike the cathedral in The Hunchback of Notre Dame mostly perform only the perfunctory role of a backdrop or, in game terms, the physical constraints to a players movement through a virtual environment. While in most cases Gothic architecture (or indeed parts thereof) is used to create what in principle are mysterious settings, thus relating back to early Gothic films such as Nosferatu or Der Golem, the postmodern Gothic environment has ceased to naturally produce anxiety or disquiet. In the 2006 expansion to the online 9

Fantasy computer role-play game Guild Wars (Guild Wars Factions, 2006, ArenaNet), fragments of Gothic ecclesial architecture like cathedral facades, windows and the ever-popular pointed arch serve as beacons of light in a dark forest, and shine a hopeful but melancholic light on the greatness of former civilisations (Fig. 4). This is but one example for a new, non-sinister face of Gothic which is currently disseminated in entertainment media and but one of the many uses Gothic architecture is being put to in digital environments. Interestingly, Gothic architecture in Fantasy role playing games is often employed to show up underlying social, cultural and political hierarchies within the game population. In Guild Wars Factions, the scattered remnants of a Gothic past suggest cultural supremacy over the opposing faction, a nomad people. In terms of game mechanics, both people are equally strong, and have approximately equal player support, yet Gothic architecture is clearly used to emphasize civilisation over a primitive other a notion very much in keeping with the ideas of Neo-Gothic builders and theoreticians such as Ruskin and Pugin. Yet while some games promote Gothic as the height of civilisation, others place it in a much more mundane context. In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (2006, Bethesda), Gothic churches can be found in villages and small towns, but the imperial city is designed as a vision of classical architecture, thus reviving the centuries-old struggle for supremacy between classic and Gothic. In contemporary fantasy games, there seems to be a slight tendency towards preferring the grandeur of classical architecture over the Gothic in conjunction with imperial connotations, as for example in the case of the Imperial Tomb in Lineage II Hellbound (Lineage II: The Chaotic Throne - Hellbound, 2007, NCSoft). Fig. 4: Screenshot from Guild Wars - Factions Fig. 5: Screenshot from Linage Hellbound

Overall, there seems to be very little in the way of thematic guidelines for the employment of snippets of Gothic architecture, both in regards to the function of a Gothic building as well as the aforementioned emotional associations with such buildings. In one and 10

the same game (Lineage II Hellbound), elements taken from Gothic cathedrals are used in the design of both temples and secular buildings (Fig. 5), as well as (in a more distorted form) the hideout of the ultimate adversary. The former ties of high Gothic architecture, such as can be found in cathedrals, with the sublime are thus being slowly dissolved, making way for a form of digital everyday Gothic which serves little purpose beyond being favourably recognisable as medieval. This goes as far as fully relieving the term Gothic from its innate connection with architecture and a certain literature tradition. The German/Austrian game series Gothic (in three parts with a fourth on the way, 2001-2006, Piranha Bytes) makes no reference whatsoever to neither Gothic architecture, nor does it feature particularly Gothic settings or scripts reminiscent of the Gothic literature tradition. It is rather a classical medieval Fantasy role playing game, with knights and dragons, magic and monsters, and therefore a good example for the estrangement of the word Gothic with its original associations. Other games, such as the early, still textbased (i.e. not featuring visuals of the game environments) computer role playing game Sceptre of Goth (1978, GamBit; Interplay), support this notion and provide evidence that the term Gothic is becoming a label for medieval associations of many a kind, provided there is a fantastic element to it an interesting development, considering that (barbaric) medievalism was Gothics first, original association. CONCLUSION Kelly Hurley (1996, p. 5) describes the Gothic as an instrumental genre, reemerging cyclically, at periods of cultural stress, to negotiate the anxieties that accompany social and epistemological transformations and crises. While perhaps this is made to sound too much like a conscious tool that can be employed when needed, there is no doubt that the Gothic in its many forms has always been a prime medium for escapism. Horace Walpole himself claimed that a wise man should seek solace in dreams and visions (letter to G. Montagu, Jan. 1766, in H. Walpole, 1964, p. x), and the supernatural in Gothic naturally supports escapism. Gothic is also a little rebellious, and always offers an alternative programme to mainstream doctrine a feature that became popular with the Gothic youth subculture in the 1980s. While the original literary Gothic was meant to be morally instructional, it is now purely entertaining. Although gradual social conditioning to horrific themes meant that Gothic had to become grittier and darker, it has retained a certain romanticism which is celebrated in art, music and also game environments. Tim Burtons animation movie Corpse Bride (2005) shows the otherwise scary supernatural in a loving, gentle light by depicting the world of the dead as a happy, colourful place in stark contrast to a grey, dreary Victorian England. Along similar lines, in-game references to Gothic architecture 11

can now be menacing and hope-inspiringly familiar at the same time. Through the nature of fantasy game design, which is dominated by the need to create ever new, unique worlds filled with recognisable elements in order to make players feel at home rather than alienate them, a fragmented, deconstructivist image of historic architectural styles is being disseminated to a wide audience. Traces of Gothic architecture and/or literature elements can be found in almost any contemporary Fantasy and Horror video game as well as in some Science Fiction settings. Additionally, Historic and Fantasy films serve as ready distributors to saturate contemporary western society with Gothic concepts. Are we witnessing a postmodernist Gothic revival? Thorben Grodal argues that the increasing role of supernatural themes in media does not not necessarily indicate an increasing interest in the supernatural, but that the traditional Christian hegemony in the realm of the supernatural has been weakened in the last fifty years, leaving media free to explore heretical forms of the supernatural (2008, p. 50). Arguably, society has never before been as eclectic and tolerant as it is nowadays, which provides the Gothic with a fertile ground. Additionally, the simplicity of image distribution brought about by mass media and particularly home computer use meant that the Gothic concept developed its own dynamics, deviating in some ways from its roots. Gothic is incredibly adaptive, embracing the past and future alike, adopting from and translating seamlessly into other genres as well as any form of entertainment media. In this more than anything else lies the potential of Gothic: to embrace current trends and to blend, chameleon-like, into any given social (western) background, thus securing its own survival. Its relational proximity to Fantasy and Horror allows for widespread dissemination and makes its exact boundaries hard to pinpoint, particularly in todays eclectic cultural environment. Yet perhaps there is no longer a need to lay down boundaries. Perhaps it is suffice to say that postmodern Gothic as a concept or genre is now just as fragmented as its representations in games and films. After all, not much has changed in peoples curiosity towards the supernatural; just as with the Cock Lane haunting almost 250 years ago, ghost-hunting for many is still a much-pursued pastime (see BBCs Most Haunted television series), to which the media representations of fragmental Gothic provide great support.

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References Aldrich, M. (1994). Gothic Revival. London: Phaidon Press Berman, P. S. (producer). (1939). The hunchback of Notre Dame [motion picture]. United States: RKO pictures Botting, F. (1996). Gothic. London; New York: Routledge Brion, M. (1966). Art of the romantic era: romanticism, classicism, realism. London: Thames & Hudson Clery, E. J. (1995). The rise of supernatural fiction, 1762 1800. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Crook, J. M. (1995). John Carter and the mind of the gothic revival. London: W.S. Manley & Son for the Society of Antiquaries of London Grodal, T. (2008). Born again heathenism enchanted worlds on film. Northern Lights 6, 45-58 Hurley, K. 1996). The gothic body: sexuality, materialism, and degeneration at the fin de sicle. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Lovecraft, H. P. (1973). Supernatural horror in literature. New York: Dover Publications Lukacher, B. (1994). Joseph Gandy and the mythography of architecture. Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 53(3), 280-299 Punter, D. & Byron, G. (2004). The gothic. Oxford: Blackwell Taylor, L. N. (2009). Gothic bloodlines in survival horror gaming. In B. Perron & C Barker (ed). Horror video games: essays on the fusion of fear and play (pp. 46-61). Jefferson, NC: MacFarland Vidler, A. (1993). The explosion of space: architecture and the filmic imaginary. Assemblage, 21, 44-59 Walpole, H. (edition) (1964). The castle of Otranto: a gothic story. Edited by W. S. Lewis. Oxford: Oxford University Press Images Fig.1 - a) Strawberry Hill, London; from World Monuments Fund website http://www.wmf.org.uk/projects/view/strawberry_hill b) The real castle of Otranto; http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00rb29b c) The entry of Prince Frederick into the Castle of Otranto, 1790; from Crook, J. M. (1995), p. 12 Fig.2 Batman by David Finch; http://blog.newsok.com/nerdage/2010/03/12/dc-shares-finch-coverto-batman-700/ Fig.3 Screenshot from The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939); http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/Reviews/hunchback_of_notre_dame.h tm Fig.4 author screenshot from Guild Wars Factions (2006); Fig.5 Screenshot from Lineage II Hellbound (2007); http://l2vault.ign.com/wiki/index.php/Screenshots:_Gracia_Final_%28 by_Tamoh%29 13