The Fall of the House of Usher

Poe and Faulkner: How the Gothic and Southern Gothic Influenced Literature College

Often criticized for its sensationalism, melodramatic qualities, and its play on the supernatural, the Gothic novel dominated English literature from its conception in 1764 with the publication of The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole to its 'supposed' demise in 1820. “The genre drew many of its intense images from the graveyard poets intermingling a landscape of vast dark forest with vegetation that bordered on excessive, concealed ruins with horrific rooms, monasteries and a forlorn character who excels at the melancholy” (Baldick, xx). Even though it has lost some of its popularity, the Gothic field sparked the influence of a subgenre with many of the same themes and unsettling elements. If the Gothic is a way to dig up the past, the Southern Gothic is a way to bring the social and cultural issues from the past to light. Much of the conflict in Southern Gothic is between what is valued and to be maintained as well as what is seen as normal and superior. Thus, race and gender plays a major role in these conflicts. In the following analysis, I will compare a variety of the works of Edgar Allan Poe, a profound figure in the Gothic fiction world, to the single work by William Faulkner: A Rose for Emily (1940). My reasons...

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