By Charles L. Crow
A better half to American Gothic encompasses a choice of unique essays that discover America’s gothic literary tradition.
- The biggest number of essays within the box of yank Gothic
- Contributions from a large choice of students from round the world
- The so much entire insurance of idea, significant authors, pop culture and non-print media available
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Thus far would Dylan take us, and I shall return to his inescapable voice; but for now our psychopompos, taking us down to the further reaches of Hades, must take the form of the greatest chronicler within the strange, indeed estranged, tradition of “American realism,” Stephen King, in his beloved, hellish small town, Derry: Ben put one eye to a venthole but could see nothing. He could hear that drone, and water running down there someplace, but that was all. He took a breath, got a whiff of a sour smell that was both dank and shitty, and drew back with a wince.
It has taken the resurgence of some earlier theoretical schemes undervalued by New Criticism and the rise of quite new theories of what should be the focus of literary interpretation to bring the Gothic to the fore as an unsettling but pervasive mode of expression throughout the history of American culture. To be sure, the New Critical– Old Historicist–History of Ideas alliance has occasionally interpreted the American Gothic within its combination of criteria. The Power of Blackness (1958) by Harry Levin, which takes its title from Melville’s 1850 phrase for Hawthorne’s most distinctive revelation for American literature (Levin 1958: 26), counters Matthiessen by asserting that “the affinity between the American psyche and the Gothic Romance” (20) is rooted Old Historically in a “union of opposites” basic to “the American outlook” (xi) in which there are “hesitations between tradition and modernity” (241) because the “New World” (4) is haunted by Old-World Original Sins, among them the “institution of slavery” (34).
A. (1982). American Gothic: Imagination and Reason in Nineteenth-Century Fiction. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky. C. (1982). Through the Custom-House: Nineteenth-Century American Fiction and Modern Theory. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. K. (1980). The Coherence of Gothic Conventions (1976). New York: Arno Press. Sonser, A. (2001). A Passion for Consumption: The Gothic Novel in America. Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green University Popular Press. R. (1973). Poe’s Fiction: Romantic Irony in the Gothic Tales.
A companion to American gothic by Charles L. Crow