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Gothic Literature: Some Background and Reading/Viewing (I)

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monster (Goya)


There are plenty of resources on Gothic literature (or the Gothic genre as in literature, art and music more generally), some more valuable than others. I have separated (at least some) wheat from the chaff. Here are two to start off with:

Resource Links on the Gothic
Norton Anthology Section on Gothic Literature (This resource provides a good overview of other literary movements in English literature also).

I have a few more resources, but will post them in a week or two, because I don’t want to spoil your reading of Jane Eyre!

The Monk by the Sea

There is all kinds of interesting Gothic literature and art out there. Here are some suggestions (but do note that not all fit into the genre in exactly the same, neat way):

The Haunting of Hill House (Shirley Jackson)
many short stories by Carol Joyce Oates
“The Bloody Chamber” (Angela Carter): a postmodern, feminist version of the Bluebeard folk tale.
Wide Sargasso Sea (Jean Rhys): a postcolonial take on Jane Eyre
Frankenstein (Mary Shelley)
Dracula (Bram Stoker)
Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad)
Beloved (Toni Morrison): postmodern, feminist gothic.
“The Sandman” (E.T.A. Hoffman) (some information: Der Sandmann on Wikipedia): An important folk tale, which connects us to the idea of the uncanny and introduces us to ideas such as the double, the automaton, the gaze, some of which apply (to some extent) in Jane Eyre. You can read the textonline as well.

Other gothic texts that can be found on the internet:

The Yellow Wallpaper (Charlotte Perkins Gilman): early 20th century text, a precursor of the first American feminist movement.
“The Fall of the House of Usher” (Edgar Allen Poe): Actually, much of Poe is perfect if you want to read the probably most brilliant exemplar of American Gothic writers. He is also on a par with Virginia Woolf in terms of vocabulary!
Turn of the Screw(Henry James)

If you would rather be entertained by a film (hey, I’m all for opening the IB Film class, or, otherwise, make film scripts part of the English A1 syllabus!), you can try:

Alejandro Amenábar, The Others (2001, US, 104 min)
Stanley Kubrick, The Shining (1980, GB/UK, 115 min)
James Whale, Bride of Frankenstein. (1935 US, 80 min.)
FW Murnau, Nosferatu, (1922, Germ. 90 min.)
Alfred Hitchcock, Psycho (1960, US. 109 min.)
Ridley Scott, Blade Runner, (1982, US, 117 min.)
Ridley Scott, Alien (1979, GB/US, 117 min.)

Sea of Ice


“The Sleep of Reason” (Francisco Goya)
“The Monk by the Sea” (Caspar David Friedrich)
“The Sea of Ice” (Caspar David Friedrich)

N.B. I added some descriptions about the images, but I can’t figure out how to make it show! However, if you click on the pictures to open them in another window, you can see larger versions of them.

~ by ithinkthereforeib on October 30, 2008 . Tagged: , , , , , ,

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