The Black Cat
The Political, Social and Philosophical Analysis of 19th Century American Gothic Literature College
The highly innovative studies of Russian philosopher Sveltana Boym, which explore the human psyche and its relationship to the past, argue that ‘nostalgia has historically coincided with revolution’, (Askenaizer, 2016). Boym refers to the French and Russian revolutions’ influence on cultural nostalgia; a Romanic revival flourished throughout the fashion of France following the nation’s revolt, as the toga became a symbol of liberty and the red bonnet an expression of political radicalism, notably worn through the streets of London by the Romantic poet William Blake.
In England, earlier that century, a cultural nostalgia began and coincided with the country’s own state of political upheaval, foremost with architecture: the Gothic revival. This ran concurrent with the Jacobite uprisings and Civil War of the 1740’s, as the Catholic monarchy reared back from its defeat in the 1600s with desire to reclaim the throne. English literature began its contribution to the culture of Gothic revival in 1764 with Horace Walpole’s incredibly influential novel The Castle of Otranto, which, whilst can be read as sensationalizing Protestant suspicions of Catholicism and its repressed debauchery, employs a medieval nostalgia as a reaction to a new...
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