AmLit – Gothic Novel

Legend of Sleepy Hollow

  • Sets up an otherworldly place. Gestures toward otherness. Insists (with elaborate scenic description) that there’s a distinctive atmosphere for this one place
  • Authority of tradition, stasis, and change
  • Insiders and outsiders
  • How does this text frame terms of engagement?
  • Almost pronographic interest in landscape. And food. Because it represents wealth. Shroodness to Ichabod Crane
  • Modernity shut out when Crane is ‘banished’ from town for his otherness
  • Value of story lies in showing what will not change.
    • Purpose = inhabit realm of imagination that isn’t driven by materialistic values of progress, wealth, mobility of status, real estate, acquisition, etc, but inhabit a place where all of those are suspended. You tarry
  • Excuses fictionality while emphasizing its own value
  • Romantic interest in otherness of culture
  • Fiction becomes leisure good/commodity and advertises its own fiction. You know what you’re getting
  • Story came through series of intermediaries. Post script to story…

The Fall of the House of Usher

  • What conventions of character and narration does Poe’s story trade in?
  • Both interested in the weight of tradition
  • Aesthetic frame of setting
  • Determinism of the past. Constitutional and family evil. Weight of the past
  • Narrative specification, objectification of subjective response
  • Inaugurates the Southern Gothic Novel
  • Degeneracy of Human character
  • Trapped by scene and atmosphere of the house. Story is about the house.

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