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478 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 2007
Since so much of supernatural fiction appears to find the source of its terrors in the depths of the remote past, how can a nation that does not have much of a past express the supernatural in literature?
The tale is pitched in the vein of [E. T. A.] Hoffmann and has all the earmarks of a German tale; yet I have found no German source for it. Very possibly Irving’s own statement of its source in his mock-acknowledgment of sources for Tales of a Traveller is to be taken at face value. He says “The Adventures of the German Student . . . is founded on an anecdote related to me as existing somewhere in French . . . .”
[E]nough evidence exists to conclude that the numerous and detailed resemblances between Hawthorne and Wilde’s stories cannot be convincingly explained away as merely coincidental. If Oscar Wilde was not directly influenced by Hawthorne, it is safe to infer that Dorian Gray would not be the novel it is without Hawthorne in the background, at least, as a shaping influence of “prophetic picture” fiction as it developed later in the nineteenth century.
"To learn what we fear is to learn who we are."
Oh, yeah, that game..the What If game. I probably play it too often. (Vain attempt to enlarge realm of the possible? Heighten my own sensitivity? Or merely work myself into an icy sweat?)