American gothic


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American gothic

  1. 1. American Gothic Also known as Dark Romanticism
  2. 2. Michael Wolgemut "Danse Macabre", 1493.
  3. 3. The American Gothic Tradition The European fascination with death and its motif dates in part to the Middle Ages' Dance of the Macabre, to the celebreation and veneration of Christian martyrs as well as the beliefs regarding witchcraft and the horrific threats of the lower world. In the 18th Century, a popular fascination emerged in England, giving rise to the "literature of lament" and the Gothic Romance. The tomb and everything about it took on a popular enchantment. The thrill for things that go bump in the night spread to America in the 18th Century.
  4. 4. A movement in literature, music, movies, comics, etc towards the expression of the decadent natural world and the obscure supernatural world. Authors, musicians and directors use their imagination to depict decadence and obscurity. The characters in the novels, songs and movies wander the earth alone, abandonded by God. It is always winter and the obscure, supernatural world is far away - hidden to the ambivalent human being.
  5. 5. "American Gothic", Grant Wood, 1930.
  6. 6. "American Gothic" is a painting by Grant Wood from 1930. Wood's inspiration came from a cottage designed in the gothic revival style, with a distintive upper window. The painting shows a farmer standing beside a woman whose identity remains ambiguous, she might either be his spinster daugther, or the farmer's wife. The couple are in the traditional roles of men and women. The man's pitchfork symbolizing hard labor, and the flowers over the woman's right shoulder suggesting domesticity. It is one of the most familiar images in the 20th Century American Art, and one of the most parodied artworks within American popular culture.
  7. 7. Literature * Literary subgenre, also known as dark romanticism. * Reaction to transcendental philosophical movement, which was popular in the 19th century in America. * Transcendentalism originated in New England and gained its popularity up to late 1840s. * Popular writers were: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Margaret Fuller. * However, some other writers, like Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Emily Dickinson found transcendental beliefs too optimistic and egoistic and modified them in their prose or poetry.
  8. 8. Typical elements * Setting: large, drafty old houses instead of castles which were not present in the American landscape. *Atmosphere of mystery and suspense, the plot aims at discovering the secrets lying within supernatural environment * Ghostly legends, unexplainable events or horrifying death which took place in the family estate are common themes. * Significance of omens, foreshadowing, dreams. * Tales involving highly emotional states, such as terror, anger, anxiety, feeling of some impending doom, obsessive love.
  9. 9. Edgar Allan Poe
  10. 10. Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849). His literature represents some of the most innovate creation to come from all American letters. He is the creator of the "ideal short" story and he was also the inventor of the detective story. His works are associated with death and horror, and at that level, he finds a place among the Gothic writers. His use of death as a central motif finds service only his pursuit of the "effect" which suggests should be the motivation behind the creation and development of any short story. He fashions every element of his story to promote within the reader his predetermined, emotional effect which was the experience of melancholy or terror.
  11. 11. Poe chooses the unanticipated and undeserved death of young maidens as the subject most likely to inspire his effect. All the other elements -setting, characters, length or the work itself, incident- should be fashioned to achieve the effect as the proper climax and end of the story. The same effect is the point of his poetry. He transport the metrical patterns and refrains of musical composition into the craft of writing poetry.
  12. 12. Nathaniel Hawthorne
  13. 13. Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804- 1864). This author explores the dark side of human soul in conflict with itself. The Gothic machinery of witches and devilry are metaphores for disturbance of all people experience in quest of sanctuary in the comfort of some absolute virtue or truth. Set frequently against English Puritanism and religiuos piety, his characters reside in the cloudy community of ambiguity and dualistic thinking. The stories he wrote expose the limitations of narrow- mindedness and absolutism in human relations.
  14. 14. Nowadays influence of the Gothic Movement