Saturday, February 20, 2010

Time & Death

One characteristic of the Gothic selections we read this week was that they were extremely fast. The break-neck velocity results from the sing-song, short line structure that we commented on in class. In addition, the narrative accelerates the reading with people racing through corridors, chased through woods, kidapped by ghosts, etc. As we noticed, even the dialogue in The Castle was set in-line with the text.

In addition to their incredible speed, these works included a multitude of time-warps and twists. For example, many people seem to be returning from a previous time, like the fulfillment of the ancient prophecy in The Castle, the promise and its fulfillment in Alonzo the Brave, the return of William in Lenora. All of these events put a weird sense of the passage of time in the texts.

It seems that time is a very important device in Gothic literature. While this may have been a byproduct of its commercialization, I think that it is more a byproduct of their emphasis on death. With death on every corner, every moment seems to be a race against time.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that Gothic writers employed a sort of "stream of consciousness" writing style at times, which I think is meant to serve as a tool of dis-familiarization. Since these narratives and poems deal with the strange and incomprehensible, their authors try to write them in such a manner as to reflect their subject matter. In this way, especially in poetry, authors are able to marry form and content in their work. Our inability to clearly follow some aspects of a Gothic tale was intended by its writer, and underscores the poem's effectiveness as a trip into a horrible, unbelievable world.