Ep. No. 28, “Don’t Look Now” Rebecca, it’s Women in Horror Month (sorta)

Today, Counter Esperanto is celebrating Women in Horror Month, which is February and therefore a bit in the rear-view mirror, but now it’s March, which is Women’s History Month, so it all works out in the end! Karl and Jubel begin by discussing Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca and “Don’t Look Now.”

Daphne du Maurier brought the Gothic into the 20th century, and looked at the modern world, and human relationships through the classic Gothic lens.  High-profile adaptations from Alfred Hitchcock and Nicholas Roeg helped to solidify her legacy, but while she is certainly not a forgotten writer now, her extraordinary work deserves praise and reappraisal as some of the finest horror written in the 20th century.

We look at some other classic authors, but it is important to us that we help spread the word regarding the exciting work that is being made here and now. Not only do we live in the so-called “Weird Renaissance,” where hundreds of talented authors are able to disseminate their work through digital media and boutique small-press publishers, but many of the best of these authors happen to be women.  So in this episode, Jubel presents a short piece written about some of his favorite women authors working today: Gemma Files, Livia Llewellyn, Nadia Bulkin, Betty Rocksteady and S.P. Miskowski.

Some information about the “queen” of the Gothic, Ann Radcliffe

Leonora Carrington “in her own words.” Features great examples of her paintings.

Anne Rice’s website

Official site for Poppy Z. Brite

Caitlin Kiernan’s website

A bibliography of Ellen Datlow’s many anthologies

Marjorie Liu’s website for Monstress

“Who Needs Women in Horror Month” by James Chambers

We all need women in horror month.

Ep. No. 27, The Yellow Wallpaper by Gaslight, a Counter Esperanto discussion

For this “minisode,” Karl and Jubel discuss “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, our most recent reading, which features all-new music and sound design, and a masterful performance by actress Suzanne Owens-Duval. We break down the story’s use of the “unreliable narrator” device, its nebulous supernaturalism, and its role as an influential work of feminist fiction.

True to form, your hosts compare and contrast the story with other works, including Gaslight, Rosemary’s Baby, and of course Twin Peaks.

The ghost story (and most Weird fiction) frequently explores and builds upon themes of madness, and this is the first of no doubt many discussions of these themes as we move ever onward into the new year.

Ep. No. 26 — The Eighth Song: “The Yellow Wallpaper”

As with most pieces of great literature, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is many things simultaneously. It is an exquisite ghost story, a prime example of the “unreliable narrator” in short fiction, a psychologically astute depiction of a descent into madness, and a legendary piece of 19th century feminist writing.

For this reading, we have had the astonishing fortune of working with actress Suzanne Owens-Duval, who is one of the principal actors on “Annex,” a podcast written and directed by Drew Beard, which is recorded, edited and scored by Jubel Brosseau. Knowing that this is a rare stroke of luck, Jubel took great pains to make sure that this reading was as polished and immersive as the performance and source material deserves.

All sounds and music are by Jubel Brosseau, except for the Overture, which is composed and performed by Jubel Brosseau and Nicholas Swartz, and a section of “Gnossienne No 1,” composed by Erik Satie.

Ep. No. 24: The 17th Secret or “A Question and Some Answers”

“I have a question for you. Apologies, it’s a bit of a long one, but I think I’m going to need to unpack it a bit.

Okay. So you love Mark Fisher’s The Weird and the Eerie. I want to talk a little bit more about the Eerie, because you so often talk about the Weird. Here is a nutshell quote from Fisher ‘the Eerie is constituted by a failure of absence or by a failure of presence. There is something where there should be nothing or there is nothing where there should be something’. Now season 3 is riven with eerie absences. First and foremost, or at least the most obvious being Dale Cooper and Laura Palmer’s absenteeism. There are more fundamental absences: absences of story progression and structure, absences of narrative and temporal cohesion. Absences of place. We spend very little time in Twin Peaks as a location, and next to no time in a Twin Peaks that is recognizable to us as fans of the original show.

By venerating Laura, part 8 highlights and helps to foster a yearning for something that is fundamentally lacking. Even the music that underscores the scene in the fireman’s Palace reinforces this View. This lack can also be found in the way the season continuously defers, confounds and obscures its meanings, a quality which finds focus in elements that imply a hidden order, such as the recurrent instances of mysterious, seemingly metaphysically significant numbers.

All this absence generates a feeling that there’s a radical outside to this tale. A place where these structuring elements reside just behind a curtain that the fans attempt to glimpse behind through theories and readings. Perhaps if we are to talk about encounters with the weird in season 3, an incursion of something beyond the edges of the known, we need to talk about the way this vast sense of eerie absence bears down on the story and the characters. On us.

Naturally I have ideas about what this absence is. What this outside is. But this isn’t my podcast.

So what do you make of it?”

–Adam from Diane podcast. You can tweet at him (and the other Dianes) at: @DianePodcast and you should, because they are smarter than us.


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