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The Haunted Dusk

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4.12  ·  Rating Details  ·  8 Ratings  ·  1 Review
Set against the background of the rapid flux of ideas & beliefs in the 19th century, these essays explore the presence of the supernatural in the works of well-known American writers. Beginning with Washington Irvings introduction of the gothic sensibility in the form of the ghost story, & following through the century to investigations of the unconscious in the wo ...more
Paperback, 248 pages
Published January 1st 1984 by University of Georgia Press
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Shawn
Jun 05, 2011 Shawn rated it really liked it
I read this as an adjunct to my recent finishing off of the comprehensive American Fantastic Tales:Terror and the Uncanny from Poe to the Pulps, which covered the same time period. I'd had THE HAUNTED DUSK sitting on my shelf, and had a non-fiction book scheduled in my reading, so events converged.

This is a collection of scholarly essays about various cultural movements and how they impacted the form and substance of supernatural writings in the 19th century. All the big names are represented he
...more
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“Psychic change, as Todorov has recognized, subverted the genre in another way, by revoking the cultural taboos, the social censorship, that had prohibited the overt treatment of psychosexual themes, which then found covert expression in the supernatural tale. 'There is no need today to resort to the devil [or to posthumous reverie] in order to speak of excessive sexual desire, and none to resort to vampires in order to designate the attraction exerted by corpses: psychoanalysis, and the literature which is directly or indirectly inspired by it, deal with these matters in undisguised terms. The themes of fantastic literature have become, literally, the very themes of the psychological investigations of the last fifty years.” 6 likes
“Supernatural fiction contains its own generic borderland: a neutral territory, which Tzvetan Todorov calls 'the fantastic,' between 'the marvelous' and 'the uncanny.' According to Todorov, 'The fantastic is that hesitation experienced by a person who knows only the laws of nature, confronting an apparently supernatural event.' Once the event is satisfactorily explained (and sometimes it is never explained), we have left the fantastic for an adjacent genre - either 'the uncanny,' where the apparently supernatural is revealed as illusory, or 'the marvelous,' where the laws of ordinary reality must be revised to incorporate the supernatural. As long as uncertainty reigns, however, we are in the ambiguous realm of the fantastic.” 5 likes
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