We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Goth's Dark Empire

Carol Siegel

Publication Year: 2005

In Goth's Dark Empire cultural historian Carol Siegel provides a fascinating look at Goth, a subculture among Western youth. It came to prominence with punk performers such as Marilyn Manson and was made infamous when it was linked (erroneously) to the Columbine High School murders. While the fortunes of Goth culture form a portion of this book's story, Carol Siegel is more interested in pursuing Goth as a means of resisting regimes of sexual normalcy, especially in its celebration of sadomasochism (S/M). The world of Goth can appear wide-ranging: from films such as Edward Scissorhands and The Crow to popular fiction such as Anne Rice's "vampire" novels to rock bands such as Nine Inch Nails. But for Siegel, Goth appears as a mode of being sexually undead -- and loving it. What was Goth and what happened to it? In this book, Siegel tracks Goth down, reveals the sources of its darkness, and shows that Goth as a response to the modern world has not disappeared but only escaped underground.

Published by: Indiana University Press

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (131.8 KB)
pp. ix-x

My gratitude goes out first to all the Goths who invited me into their world and guided me through its magnificent darkness. Without your help, encouragement, trust, and corrections of my misperceptions, this book would never have been. And special thanks to the anonymous Goth at the book signing for New Millennial Sexstyles who exhorted me to undertake this project. I hope I have...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (175.6 KB)
pp. 1-25

I begin this extended look at the subculture called Goth with an allusion to Linda Williams’s landmark feminist study of pornographic films, Hard Core: Power, Pleasure, and the “Frenzy of the Visible,” because, just as Williams did when she addressed that topic fifteen years ago, I am entering an area of inquiry that has attracted an enormous amount of attention in popular media but...

read more

1. Perils for the Pure: Goth Cultures and Abstinence Programs

pdf iconDownload PDF (825.9 KB)
pp. 26-48

In an epilogue to his history of Gothic rock and roll music and cultures, The Dark Reign of Gothic Rock, Dave Thompson speculates that because the 1990s second wave of Goth began in America, it has been characterized by a harsh, infuriated seriousness that the original movement lacked (242). Thompson seems bemused by what he perceives as an American tendency to...

read more

2. In Memoriam Darkwave Hippies: Angela Carter through a Goth Lens

pdf iconDownload PDF (277.9 KB)
pp. 49-71

American scholars of subcultures may be surprised to read, in ethnographic studies conducted in the United Kingdom, remarks like the following from a young woman whose appearance seems to mark her as Punk: “I started off, like, in the goth-hippy-type thing” (Muggleton, 121). While the category of hippie remains distinct from that of Punk in the U.S., as I shall discuss below, clearly in the...

read more

3. That Obscure Object of Desire Revisited: Poppy Z. Brite and the Goth Hero as Masochist

pdf iconDownload PDF (654.0 KB)
pp. 72-92

Poppy Z. Brite’s importance to the Goth subculture was best expressed for me through this response I received to an online questionnaire: “Do I read Poppy Z? I ALREADY TOLD YOU I WAS A GOTH!”1 Anyone with more than a passing acquaintance with Goths should recognize as typical my respondent’s astonishment that I would need to ask. Davenport-Hines calls her “the most impressive goth novelist to emerge in the USA in the 1990s” (345). And incase that seems...

read more

4. Boys Don't Cry: Brandon Teena’s Stories

pdf iconDownload PDF (238.9 KB)
pp. 93-115

As I hope is clear from the previous chapter, Goths are not merely the innocent victims of persecution by authorities who erroneously believe the Columbine shooters were motivated by a philosophy generated by this subculture. Yes, Goth has been misunderstood in that way. But it does, because of its emphasis on demonized sexualities, disrupt abstinence education and other...

read more

5. Heterosexualizing the Femme Body: From Tea and Sympathy to Crime and Punishment in Suburbia

pdf iconDownload PDF (409.3 KB)
pp. 116-136

In the previous chapter Deleuzian theory helped me explain how the missed connections between Goth subcultures and the film Boys Don’t Cry could be re-established, the erased rhizomatic lines retraced, to clarify problems in America’s current majoritist constructions of masculinity. This chapter will examine how a feminist/Deleuzian approach to film narrative combined with...

read more

6. Identity Hunter A: Asian American Goths and New Masculinities

pdf iconDownload PDF (234.4 KB)
pp. 137-156

If Goth refreshes concepts of masculinity, allowing new ways of understanding previously demonized forms, this is especially evident in what might be called contemporary cinema’s Goth-techno zone in which images of Asian American males1 converge with images of so-called nerds, or the technologically invested and gifted. An examination of the connections between Asian American and...

read more

Conclusion: Goth’s Come Undone

pdf iconDownload PDF (134.0 KB)
pp. 157-167

Around 1982, when the club called the Batcave opened in London, Goth had achieved as coherent an identity as it would ever have. No longer merely a catch-all term for various bands and fashions considered Gothic or influenced by Gothic rock, Goth had come to signify specific types of music and styles of dress. By the mid-eighties the originally British Goth had already both expanded and diffused, through its importation...

read more

Appendix: A Discography of Goth Rock Artists

pdf iconDownload PDF (145.1 KB)
pp. 169-183

As far back as I can remember I have always been fond of dark and depressing music. I never considered myself a depressed individual. The passion contained in a sad song simply spoke to me more than a happy jingle. I feel there is something noble, honest, and even proud about writing sad music. It’s a strong position to take, a kind of backward machismo. “We are sadder than you,” one could proclaim...


pdf iconDownload PDF (137.4 KB)
pp. 185-194


pdf iconDownload PDF (142.9 KB)
pp. 195-206


pdf iconDownload PDF (131.7 KB)
pp. 207-211

E-ISBN-13: 9780253111562
E-ISBN-10: 0253111560
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253345936

Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2005