Dark romanticism

Dark Romanticism is a literary subgenre of Romanticism, reflecting popular fascination with the irrational, the demonic and the grotesque. Often conflated with Gothicism, it has shadowed the euphoric Romantic movement ever since its 18th-century beginnings. Edgar Allan Poe is often celebrated as one of the supreme exponents of the tradition.

Edgar Allan Poe portrait B
Edgar Allan Poe is among the most well-known authors of Dark Romanticism

Definitions

Romanticism's celebration of euphoria and sublimity has always been dogged by an equally intense fascination with melancholia, insanity, crime and shady atmosphere; with the options of ghosts and ghouls, the grotesque, and the irrational. The name "Dark Romanticism" was given to this form by the literary theorist Mario Praz in his lengthy study of the genre published in 1930, ‘’The Romantic Agony’’.[1][2]

According to the critic G. R. Thompson, "the Dark Romantics adapted images of anthropomorphized evil in the form of Satan, devils, ghosts, werewolves, vampires, and ghouls" as emblematic of human nature.[3] Thompson sums up the characteristics of the subgenre, writing:

Fallen man's inability fully to comprehend haunting reminders of another, supernatural realm that yet seemed not to exist, the constant perplexity of inexplicable and vastly metaphysical phenomena, a propensity for seemingly perverse or evil moral choices that had no firm or fixed measure or rule, and a sense of nameless guilt combined with a suspicion the external world was a delusive projection of the mind—these were major elements in the vision of man the Dark Romantics opposed to the mainstream of Romantic thought.[4]

18th- and 19th-century movements in different national literatures

Elements of dark romanticism were a perennial possibility within the broader international movement of Romanticism, in both literature and art.[5]

Like romanticism itself, Dark Romanticism arguably began in Germany, with writers such as E. T. A. Hoffmann,[6] Christian Heinrich Spiess, and Ludwig Tieck – though their emphasis on existential alienation, the demonic in sex, and the uncanny,[7] was offset at the same time by the more homely cult of Biedermeier.[8]

British authors such as Lord Byron, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Mary Shelley, and John William Polidori, who are frequently linked to Gothic fiction, are also sometimes referred to as Dark Romantics.[9] Dark Romanticism is characterized by stories of personal torment, social outcasts, and usually offers commentary on whether the nature of man will save or destroy him. Some Victorian authors of English horror fiction, such as Bram Stoker and Daphne du Maurier, follow in this lineage.

The American form of this sensibility centered on the writers Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Herman Melville.[10] As opposed to the perfectionist beliefs of Transcendentalism, these darker contemporaries emphasized human fallibility and proneness to sin and self-destruction, as well as the difficulties inherent in attempts at social reform.[11]

French authors such as Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly, Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud echoed the dark themes found in the German and English literature. Baudelaire was one of the first French writers to admire Edgar Allan Poe, but this admiration or even adulation of Poe became widespread in French literary circles in the late 19th century.

20th-century influence

Twentieth-century existential novels have also been linked to Dark Romanticism,[12] as too have the sword and sorcery novels of Robert E. Howard.[13]

Criticism

Northrop Frye pointed to the dangers of the demonic myth making of the dark side of romanticism as seeming "to provide all the disadvantages of superstition with none of the advantages of religion".[14]

See also

References

  1. ^ First English translation 1933. The title in its original Italian is: "Carne, la morte e il diavolo nella letteratura romantica" (Flesh, death, and the devil in romantic literature".
  2. ^ Dark Romanticism: The Ultimate Contradiction Archived 2007-01-28 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Thompson, G. R., ed. "Introduction: Romanticism and the Gothic Tradition." Gothic Imagination: Essays in Dark Romanticism. Pullman, WA: Washington State University Press, 1974: p. 6.
  4. ^ Thompson, G.R., ed. 1974: p. 5.
  5. ^ Felix Kramer, Dark Romanticism: From Goya to Max Ernst (2012)
  6. ^ A. Cusak/B. Murnane, Popular Revenants (2012) p. 19
  7. ^ S. Freud, 'The Uncanny' Imago (1919) p. 19-60
  8. ^ S. Prickett/S. Haines, European Romanticism (2010) p. 32
  9. ^ University of Delaware: Dark Romanticism
  10. ^ Robin Peel, Apart from Modernism (2005) p. 136
  11. ^ T. Nitscke, Edgar Alan Poe's short story "The Tell-Tale Heart" (2012) p. 5–7
  12. ^ R. Kopley, Poe's Pym (1992) p. 141
  13. ^ D. Herron, The Dark Barbarian (1984) p. 57
  14. ^ Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism (1973) p. 157

Further reading

  • Galens, David, ed. (2002) Literary Movements for Students Vol. 1.
  • Harry Levin, The Power of Blackness (1958)
  • Mario Praz The Romantic Agony (1933)
  • Mullane, Janet and Robert T. Wilson, eds. (1989) Nineteenth Century Literature Criticism Vols. 1, 16, 24.

External links

Anguish

Anguish is derived from the Latin word angustiae, meaning extreme pain, distress or anxiety. The feeling of suffering from anguish is typically preceded by a tragedy or event that has a profound meaning to the being in question. Anguish can be felt physically or mentally (often referred to as emotional distress).

Anguish is also a term used in philosophy, often as a translation from the Latin word for angst. It is a paramount feature of existentialist philosophy, in which anguish is often understood as the experience of an utterly free being in a world with zero absolutes (existential despair). In the theology of Kierkegaard, it refers to a being with total free will who is in a constant state of spiritual fear in the face of their unlimited freedom.

Body horror

Body horror or biological horror is a subgenre of horror which intentionally showcases graphic or psychologically disturbing violations of the human body. These violations may manifest through aberrant sex, mutations, mutilation, zombification, gratuitous violence, disease, or unnatural movements of the body. Body horror was a description originally applied to an emerging subgenre of American horror films, but has roots in early Gothic literature and has expanded to include other media.

Edgar Allan Poe bibliography

The works of American author Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) include many poems, short stories, and one novel. His fiction spans multiple genres, including horror fiction, adventure, science fiction, and detective fiction, a genre he is credited with inventing. These works are generally considered part of the Dark romanticism movement, a literary reaction to Transcendentalism. Poe's writing reflects his literary theories: he disagreed with didacticism and allegory. Meaning in literature, he said in his criticism, should be an undercurrent just beneath the surface; works whose meanings are too obvious cease to be art. Poe pursued originality in his works, and disliked proverbs. He often included elements of popular pseudosciences such as phrenology and physiognomy. His most recurring themes deal with questions of death, including its physical signs, the effects of decomposition, concerns of premature burial, the reanimation of the dead, and mourning. Though known as a masterly practitioner of Gothic fiction, Poe did not invent the genre; he was following a long-standing popular tradition.Poe's literary career began in 1827 with the release of 50 copies of Tamerlane and Other Poems credited only to "a Bostonian", a collection of early poems that received virtually no attention. In December 1829, Poe released Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems in Baltimore before delving into short stories for the first time with "Metzengerstein" in 1832. His most successful and most widely read prose during his lifetime was "The Gold-Bug", which earned him a $100 prize, the most money he received for a single work. One of his most important works, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue", was published in 1841 and is today considered the first modern detective story. Poe called it a "tale of ratiocination". Poe became a household name with the publication of "The Raven" in 1845, though it was not a financial success. The publishing industry at the time was a difficult career choice and much of Poe's work was written using themes specifically catered for mass market tastes.

Imrama

Imrama is the debut album of the Irish black metal band Primordial. It was originally released in 1995. In 2001, it was re-issued by Hammerheart Records with two bonus tracks. It was reissued again, this time by Metal Blade Records in 2009 as CD/DVD digipack in slipcase. It is a part of collector series of the first 4 albums reissues.

Immrama, meaning 'voyages' or literally 'rowings about' refers to a category of medieval Irish Christian literature in which a protagonist sets about voyaging in penance for sins committed. Medieval catelogues of literature see this genre as contrasting with Eachtra, 'expeditions' or 'adventures' in which the protagonist visits the Otherworld of Irish traditional lore.

In Ireland, an overwhelmingly English speaking country, usage of the Irish language is an outward expression of Irish identity, which is a central theme of Primordial's aesthetic and appeal. Imrama, correctly pronounced with a stressed first syllable and voiced labiodental fricative second 'm', is pronounced by the band themselves (as native speakers of English, ignorant of the Irish language and its orthography reading the word would) with a stressed second syllable and bilabial nasal second 'm'.

Judas Iscariot (band)

Judas Iscariot was an American black metal band. It began in 1992 as the solo-project of Andrew Harris, who performed under the pseudonym Akhenaten (after the Egyptian Pharaoh of the same name).

With the release of Heaven in Flames (1999), Duane Timlin (aka Cryptic Winter) joined the band as a session drummer. During 1999 and 2000, Akhenaten twice performed live with a line-up featuring members from Nargaroth, Krieg, Absu and Maniac Butcher.

After relocating to Germany, Akhenaten announced the demise of Judas Iscariot on August 25, 2002.

Morella (short story)

"Morella" is a short story in the Gothic horror genre by 19th-century American author and critic Edgar Allan Poe.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthorne (; né Hathorne; July 4, 1804 – May 19, 1864) was an American novelist, dark romantic, and short story writer.

He was born in 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts, to Nathaniel Hathorne and the former Elizabeth Clarke Manning. His ancestors include John Hathorne, the only judge involved in the Salem witch trials who never repented of his actions. He entered Bowdoin College in 1821, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in 1824, and graduated in 1825. He published his first work in 1828, the novel Fanshawe; he later tried to suppress it, feeling that it was not equal to the standard of his later work. He published several short stories in periodicals, which he collected in 1837 as Twice-Told Tales. The next year, he became engaged to Sophia Peabody. He worked at the Boston Custom House and joined Brook Farm, a transcendentalist community, before marrying Peabody in 1842. The couple moved to The Old Manse in Concord, Massachusetts, later moving to Salem, the Berkshires, then to The Wayside in Concord. The Scarlet Letter was published in 1850, followed by a succession of other novels. A political appointment as consul took Hawthorne and family to Europe before their return to Concord in 1860. Hawthorne died on May 19, 1864, and was survived by his wife and their three children.

Much of Hawthorne's writing centers on New England, many works featuring moral metaphors with an anti-Puritan inspiration. His fiction works are considered part of the Romantic movement and, more specifically, dark romanticism. His themes often center on the inherent evil and sin of humanity, and his works often have moral messages and deep psychological complexity. His published works include novels, short stories, and a biography of his college friend Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States.

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Pagan metal

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Launching in 1998, the Rose Mortem fashion label has been featured in several publications including Mick Mercer's cult classic, 21st Century Goth. Her work has been repeatedly featured in goth subculture magazines including Gothic Beauty, Auxiliary Magazine, Darklife, Cynfeirdd, Terrorizer, and Fangoria. Rose also creates fashions for independent films and theatre productions, and live performers of varying kinds including members of several bands, symphonies, operas and chamber music ensembles. Use of velvets, chiffons, satins, tulles and lace with sharply angled hemlines and layered skirting have become the label's trademark style. As a musician and promoter, Rose is linked most notably with legendary gothic rock band The Awakening of South Africa. She has worked on many tours and events for gothic rock, synthpop, and alternative rock musicians including Wolfsheim, Faith and the Muse, and The Mission; and held resident DJ positions under the name Mary Chain as tribute to post-punk rockers The Jesus and Mary Chain.

According to interviews with Rose, her designs are inspired greatly by musicians, ranging widely in style, from David Bowie to Loretta Lynn. The designer also draws on her studies of Bohemianism, Dark Romanticism, and love for the literature, art and music of the Decadent movement. She credits her knowledge of fashion design entirely to her mother and grandmother's instruction, and to her "youthful passion for dissecting thrift store wedding gowns." Rose attributes her creativity to her eccentric upbringing by a non-nuclear family of various artists, and her long-time obsession with "making fashions that feel like music."In 2009, Rose Mortem announced a partnership with South African record label Intervention Arts to distribute The Awakening's albums in the USA. Shortly thereafter, Rose joined the band on piano and keyboards, and was featured in their 2009 release entitled Tales of Absolution and Obsoletion and the single Fault released on the band's 2014 Anthology XV compilation. Rose describes her latest fashion since joining The Awakening as "combining the elegance and extravagance of classic New Wave and Gothic fashion with touches of Bohemian elegance and Lolita chic — updated and reinvented for the modern world." In a 2015 Gothic Beauty magazine feature, the artist states her latest fashion stylings are directly inspired by her most recent music collaborations with rocker husband Ashton Nyte.

Southern Gothic

Southern Gothic is a subgenre of Gothic fiction in American literature that takes place in the American South.

Common themes in Southern Gothic literature include deeply flawed, disturbing or eccentric characters who may be involved in hoodoo, ambivalent gender roles, decayed or derelict settings, grotesque situations, and other sinister events relating to or stemming from poverty, alienation, crime, or violence.

Suburban Gothic

Suburban Gothic is a subgenre of Gothic fiction, film and television, focused on anxieties associated with the creation of suburban communities, particularly in the United States, from the 1950s and 1960s onwards. It often, but not exclusively, relies on the supernatural or elements of science fiction that have been in wider Gothic literature, but manifested in a suburban setting.

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Tasmanian Gothic

Tasmanian Gothic is a genre of Tasmanian literature that merges the traditions of Gothic fiction with the history and natural features of Tasmania, an island state south of the Australian continent. Tasmanian Gothic has inspired works in other artistic media, including theatre and film.

The Devil's Elixirs

The Devil's Elixirs (German: Die Elixiere des Teufels) is a novel by E. T. A. Hoffmann. Published in 1815, the basic idea for the story was adopted from Matthew Gregory Lewis's novel The Monk, which is itself mentioned in the text.

Although Hoffmann himself was not particularly religious, he was nevertheless so strongly impressed by the life and atmosphere on a visit to a monastery of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, that he determined to write the novel in that religious setting. Characteristically for Hoffmann, he wrote the entire novel in only a few weeks. The Devil's Elixirs is described by some literary critics as fitting into the Gothic novel genre (called Schauerroman in German). It can be classified in the subgenre of dark romanticism.

Ultra-Romanticism

Ultra-Romanticism (in Portuguese, Ultrarromantismo) was a Portuguese literary movement that took place during the second half of the 19th century and later arrived in Brazil. Aesthetically similar to (but not exactly the same as) the German- and British-originated Dark Romanticism, it was typified by a tendency to exaggerate, at times to a ridiculous degree, the norms and ideals of Romanticism, namely the value of subjectivity, individualism, amorous idealism, nature and the medieval world. The Ultra-Romantics generated literary works of highly contendable quality, some of them being considered as "romance of knife and earthenware bowl", given the succession of bloody crimes that they invariably described, which realists fiercely denounced.

In Portugal, the first Ultra-Romantic piece ever written was the poem "O noivado do sepulcro" ("The tombstone engagement") by António Augusto Soares de Passos, while in Brazil the first major Ultra-Romantic works were the books Lira dos Vinte Anos (Twenty-year-old Lyre) and Noite na Taverna (A Night at the Tavern) by Álvares de Azevedo.

In Brazil, it is called "the second phase of the Brazilian Romanticism", being preceded by the "Indianism" and succeeded by the "Condorism".

Urban Gothic

Urban Gothic is a subgenre of Gothic fiction, film horror and television dealing with industrial and post-industrial urban society. It was pioneered in the mid-19th century in Britain, Ireland and the United States and developed in British novels such as Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), and Irish novels such as Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890), and Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897). In the twentieth century, urban Gothic influenced the creation of the subgenres of Southern Gothic and suburban Gothic. From the 1980s, interest in the urban Gothic revived with books like Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles and a number of graphic novels that drew on dark city landscapes, leading to adaptations in film including Batman (1989), The Crow (1994) and From Hell (2001), as well as influencing films like Seven (1995).

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