Gothic period of American Literature - 1800-1850

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Gothic is a sub-genre of Romanticism

Content:

  • sublime and overt use of the supernatural
  • individual characters see themselves at the mercy of forces our of their control which
  • they do not understand
  • motif of the "double": an individual with both evil and good characteristics
  • often involve the persecution of a young woman who is forced apart from her true love

Style:

  • short stories and novels
  • hold readers' attention through dread of a series of terrible possibilities
  • feature landscapes of dark forests, extreme vegetation, concealed ruins with horrific
  • rooms, depressed characters

Effect:

  • today in literature we still see portrayals of alluring antagonists whose evil
  • characteristics appeal to one's sense of awe
  • today in literature we still see stories of the persecuted young girl forced apart from
  • her true love

Historical Context:

  • industrial revolution brings ideas that the "old ways" of doing things are now irrelevant

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