ABSTRACT. The following paper examines Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan through the lens of Diane Hoeveler’s Gothic Feminism. The latter work underscores a sociohistorical reading of the gothic genre, in addition to the psychological theme of the doubleganger which has been so widely discussed. The female gothic, according to Hoeveler, represents “a reaction to the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century shift from a libertine, aristocratic society to bourgeois middle-class in which females are given a prominent role in the domestic sphere, as well as in the literary marketplace” (215). In this context, Nina Sayer, the central focus of the Aronofsky’s film, as the rising star of the New York City Ballet continues the work of her female gothic predecessors of “making the world safe for the female middle-class.” Typical of gothic tales, this one deals with desires and fears, in this case, sexual fears of professional compromise and female replicability. In carrying out this mission, Nina reconstitutes the family and “reasserts her inheritance in a female-coded tradition.” In the process she transforms Tschaikovsky’s Swan Lake and enriches readings of the film as either a male fantasy or a tale of female breakdown. pp. 85–92
Keywords: gothic feminism; ballet; film studies; family romance; revisionist texts

How to cite: Nelson, Barbara (2015), “Remapping Tschaikovsky’s Swan Lake as a Gothic Feminist Tale,” Journal of Research in Gender Studies 5(2): 85–92.

Received 20 October 2014 • Received in revised form 25 November 2014
Accepted 28 November 2014 • Available online 1 August 2015

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Michigan State University, United States of America/
University of Bucharest, Romania

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