Gothic Literature The Dark Side of Romanticism Notes
Transformation from Romanticismand Transcendentalism to Gothic/Dark • Developed as a REACTION against the rationalism of the Age of Reason to
Once the Romantics freed the imagination form the age of reason, they could follow the imagination wherever it might lead them.
For some Romantic writers… • This led to the threshold of the unknown – that shadowy region where the fantastic, the demonic, and the insane reside. GOTHIC TERRITORY
Why this sudden change? • Why did we go from looking at the individual with hope, to looking at the individual and seeing the potential of evil?
1861 – 1865 American Civil War • Suffering • Killing • People needed an escape • Monsters and other creatures invented to take society’s mind off the world around them
Gothic Tradition Origins • 1764 Horace Walpole’s Castle of Otranto • Medieval (Gothic setting) • Creates feelings of … • Gloom • Mystery • Suspense Is dramatic sensational diabolical terrifying etc.
When did the Gothic tradition begin in American Literature? • Late 18th – 19th Century
The spirit and imagery of the Gothic literary tradition was born from… • Gothic Architecture
Gargoyles • A grotesque creature • Mascot of Gothic • They ward off evil spirits because… • They often looked more demonic than the spirit
Gothic Tradition or The Dark Side of Romanticism
Gothic writers saw the potential of evil when they looked at the individual.
Romantic vs. Gothic inspiration • Romantics = beauty and nature • Gothic = peering into the darkness and supernatural
Four Most Well-Known Writers Using Dark/Gothic Elements by end of 19th Century
Common Elements of Gothic Literature • Setting: medieval castles/decaying estates • Characters: • male: narrators - insane • female: beautiful – dead • Plots: Weird, terrifying events Murders, live burials, physical and mental torture
Edgar Allan Poe once said, People revealed their true natures only in extreme situations
Nathaniel Hawthorne • Rather than looking at the mind and its functions (like Poe did) • Hawthorne examined the human heart under various conditions of fear, greed, vanity, mistrust, and betrayal
Gothic Spirit had to wait until the 20th century before it came back into vogue Two 20th century authors inspired by Poe and Hawthorne • William Faulkner – Poe • Flannery O’Connor - Hawthorne