Reviews

When people talk about 'gothic' culture today it could apply to pretty much anything with dark clothes, dark hair and pale skin. Author and historian Bob Douglas, on the other hand, has a deeper awareness of the true origins of the Gothic tradition. He has written about that tradition, as well, in a fascinating study titled That Line of Darkness: The Shadow of Dracula and the Great War (Encompass Editions, 2011). In the book, Douglas uses the Gothic literary conventions – especially those contained in Bram Stoker's Dracula – as a means to understanding the late 19th Century and the early 20th Century, right through to and including World War One. Douglas's full study doesn't stop with the Great War; however, he is currently working on a second volume that covers both the Nazi and Stalinist era up until the post 9/11 culture...
            Click here to read the full interview on the criticsatlarge.ca
            "David Churchill interviews Robert Douglas", January 2012


    The Borgo Post's latest issue arrived in the mail, today. I was having a read through it and came across Elizabeth Miller's review of Robert A. Douglas' That line of darkness. Miller says the author 'takes as his starting cue Gothic novels, most notably Bram Stoker's Dracula, Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jeykll and Mr Hyde, and Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Grey peering through the lens of these extraordinary works to explore the class, race and gender tensions in late nineteenth-century Britain.'1 According to Amazon, the paperback edition was published 10 May 2011; the hardback a month later. News to me. 
            Click here to read the full review
            The Vampirologist, October 2011


   "In his brilliant elucidation of the Gothic sensibility, Robert Douglas guides us across 'that line of darkness' where the monster within us all cleaves onto the innocent, demonized other. From the timeless, spell-binding stories of Dracula and Jekyll and Hyde to Jack the Ripper and the trial of Oscar Wilde, from racism and eugenics to the blood sacrifice of The Great War, Douglas reminds us, with erudite, page-turning prose, how life is forever imitating art. Forbidden, atavistic desires lurk under the thin skin of our civilization, and with equal parts horror and fascination, we are transfixed."
– James FitzGerald
   winner, 2010 Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Prize
   author of What Disturbs Our Blood (2010) 


  "A massive undertaking of erudite scholarship, thoroughly researched, readable and engaging. A comprehensive analysis of the social and cultural descent into darkness triggered by demonization of the 'other'. Unique among studies of Dracula, That Line of Darkness culminates in the atrocities of the Great War—the epitome of 'monster-hunting'—and its disastrous consequences. Stoker’s classic vampire novel provides the ideal lens through which to view the 'ideological obsession with blood, race and soil.'"

Elizabeth Miller
   author of A Dracula Handbook (2005) and  
  Bram Stoker's Dracula: A Documentary Journey into the Vampire Country of the Dracula Phenomenon (2009)


  "If you’ve ever wondered how so many public figures, intellectuals, commentators and even entire television networks can base their existence on decrying the collapse of Western civilization—or even if you just wonder why vampire shows are so unbelievably popular—read this book.  A bracing analysis of social fear."
Ian Brown
   author of The Boy in the Moon (2009)


"A remarkable read.  The prose and argument is clear from the outset, the careful articulation of the Gothic novel impressive and valuable for an understanding of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century Zeitgeist. A strong, engaging, and clearly written book—a pleasure to read."

Dr Leonard Friesen
   
Associate Professor of Global Studies and History, Wilfred Laurier University,
   
author of Rural Revolutions in Southern Ukraine: Peasants, Nobles and Colonists 1774-1905,2009)


That Line of  Darkness: The Gothic from Lenin to bin Laden (Encompass Editions, 2013)  


"With this study Robert Douglas brings his monumental study of the Gothic to the present.  Nor does he hesitate to go deep into the history of the turbulent 20th century as Douglas challenges our assumed understandings of the dominant ideologies that gave shape to Hitler's Nazi Germany and to Stalin's Russia. This is cultural history writ large, with no stone left unturned. Even more provocative than the first volume, Douglas once again deserves a broad readership."

Dr Leonard Friesen
   
Associate Professor of Global Studies and History, Wilfred Laurier University, author of Rural Revolutions in Southern Ukraine: Peasants, Nobles and Colonists 1774-1905, 2009.

“In his magisterial confrontation of the politics of fear, Robert Douglas forcefully reminds us of the darkness that lives in us all; how even the most ‘civilized’ and ‘enlightened’ can succumb to the spell of paranoid leaders; how the primeval past infuses the post-modern present; how we are the mirror image of the monster we wish to destroy. Douglas’ unflinching look at the universal and timeless phenomenon of unconscious projection -- our craving for scapegoats to pave the road to social and political utopias -- can only end in mass terror. Let he who is without darkness cast the first stone.”

James FitzGerald, author of What Disturbs Our Blood, winner of the 2010 Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Prize








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