Sondeep Kandola at the Playhouse

Sondeep Kandola at the Playhouse

  The Haunting of Hill House, an adaptation of the 1959 novel by Shirley Jackson, is proving a critical and popular success at the Liverpool Playhouse: the Guardian review loved the play's 'unsettling suggestion we can only save ourselves – because we are all alone in the dark'. Jackson's novel is a student favourite on our third-year 'Vamps and Villians: Exploring Gothic Literature' module, and on 10th December 2015 LJMU English's Sonny Kandola gave a talk exploring that text in terms of the female Gothic, domestic trauma and neurosis. Ruminating on Jackson's own tortured life, she linked the breakdown of the central character, Eleanor, to the anxieties around women's social role exploded by Betty Friedan's 1963 sociological study The Feminine Mystique. Sonny traced the symbolism of the (Gothic) house in the American psyche back to work of Edgar Allen Poe, explaining how the house had been used to represent fears about political legitimacy in a comparatively young nation and anxieties about the dead hand of the past that the ghost in the...
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Research Seminar: A Rantin’, Drinkin’ Bard: Robert Burns & the (Scottish) Supernatural

Research Seminar: A Rantin’, Drinkin’ Bard: Robert Burns & the (Scottish) Supernatural

Dr Sonny Kandola began her paper by introducing us to the role of Gothic literature in the formation of the United Kingdom.  Reading Robert Burns’ ‘Address to the Deil’ and ‘Tam O’Shanter’, alongside Julia Kristeva’s theoretical conception of the ‘Abject’, Sonny mapped Burns’ central themes of the Supernatural to Scottish identities, cultural alienation, and the loss of independence.  The seminar raised complex questions around nation and colonial constructions of the self.  Though we traced Burns’ imagery to folkloric and Scottish oral traditions, Sonny also showed us how the Gothic could be used to reveal the poet’s ‘slippery politics’ and his movement between Jacobitism and Unionism.  Starting with ‘Address to the Deil’ Sonny focused on Burns’ heavy use of dialect and the poem’s carnivalesque transgression of Paradise Lost. Burns’ own reading practices were highly sophisticated, and we were reminded how his dialect was an ‘option not a necessity’. By transforming Milton’s vision of hell into a ‘jocular and domestic idiom’ Burns’ poem...
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