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Gothic Literature’s Influence On Modern Society

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Modern writing has changed time and time again throughout the centuries. Arguably, one of the biggest influences for modern writing was gothic literature. Gothic literature was such a dramatic change from many previous works due to its dark, mysterious, melancholy tone. This different approach to writing allowed authors to express themselves in a different way than what was originally seen as “normal” or “the right way”. Gothic literature provided people with a different creative outlet allowing them to express their emotions as well as feelings towards certain things in a way that they could not have originally expressed through traditional writing styles. Gothic literature created a new era for writing blessing us with some of the most interesting and unique stories to ever be created.

One of the most well known authors of gothic literature was Edgar Allen Poe. Poe is one of the many authors during the gothic time period, but he had quite possibly the largest impact on the genre. Poe wrote many different works but among the most famous of these was a poem called “The Raven”. “The Raven” was a story about an unnamed man who lost the love of his life and is thrown into a very distraught and melancholy state causing him to have hallucinations. One of these hallucinations that the story is based around is a raven that flies into his room and speaks to him. It does not say any lengthy phrases, but instead it only replies to the narrator’s questions with the word “nevermore”. This helps add to the ommonus and spooky feel that the poem gives off. It is quite possibly one of the most well known gothic writings to date.

Poe’s story “The Raven” has been one of the most influential poems ever to be written. It not only helped shape the genre of gothic literature, but it has even gone as far to impact the writing of modern day comedic scripts. An example of this is an episode of the modern day comedic television show known as “The Simpsons”. In the episode they do an animated version of “The Raven” with their own little touch. This just goes to show that the influence of gothic literature spreads much further than dark and depressing poems and short stories.

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Around the same time gothic literature was in its prime a large deal of people were migrating to the United States. “In large part, Americans’ anxiety about cities resulted from significant and rapid increases in urbanization and immigration in the late antebellum era. The Erie Canal greatly reduced transportation costs to Manhattan from the Great Lakes region, thus making the port city the entrepôt for inland agriculture and America’s ‘premier urban center.’ This commercial growth spurred New York City’s expansion in area and population, as it attracted migrants from both the hinterlands and overseas.” This allowed the genre of writing to diffuse through an incredibly dense and diverse area and then throughout the country. The main port responsible for this diffusion was Ellis Island.

Gothic literature has influenced writing in a very controversial way as well. The topic of sexuallity was a topic breiflly touched on in previous writing, but become a much more common topic during the era of gothic literature. “Multiple authors characterized brothels – again, enticing and immoral – as the Islamic paradise. As Edward Said has noted, European writers in the Orient sought ‘a different type of sexuality, perhaps more libertine and less guilt‐ridden.’ Readers’ familiarity at the time with huriyat – and, for that matter, Hārūn al‐Rashīd – is indicated by authors’ use of the allusions without any gloss. Like many Eastern images, huriyat appeared as the stuff of fantasy. In Hot Corn, Walter saw a huriya, which he had ‘often read of, often dreamed of, never before seen.’ As with allusions to Wall Street and saloons, authors acknowledged the attraction of the scene but criticized a lack of morality. Writers disagreed as to whether prostitutes were alluring or simply shameful.” Now the topic of sexuallity is a lot more common in writing as well as everyday life, and it is not viewed in such a negative way anymore. It is more widely accepted by a majority of modern society.

Another big part of gothic literature that was architecture. Architecture played a huge role in setting the mood of stories and poems as well as the construction of buildings outside of works of writing. Many of the building constructed in the era of gothic literature are still around today and many new ones have been constructed with the same concepts in designs as the original gothic structures. “In the 12th–13th century, feats of engineering permitted increasingly gigantic buildings. The rib vault, flying buttress, and pointed (Gothic) arch were used as solutions to the problem of building a very tall structure while preserving as much natural light as possible. Stained-glass window panels rendered startling sun-dappled interior effects.” Many of these buildings can still be found in places like new york city.

Another big thing to come from gothic literature was an increase in female authors. Many people believe that females played the biggest role in gothic literature, because the genre gave them a creative outlet for them to voice their opinions on society as well as express themselves in a way that they were never able to. The genre allowed them to express feminst ideologies through their stories and poems. “As many scholars have noted, women authors often create Gothic worlds that symbolize patriarchal power in which a virginal heroine attempts to overcome an exaggerated version of the subjugation women face in everyday life. However, a critical mass of women’s Gothic writing exists that addresses very different themes and characters.” “The middle of the century saw the emergence of Female Gothic with Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. Exposing how women are often trapped in a domestic space and dominated by men, the novel was both celebrated and detested. Our next Gothic novel appears in 1871 with Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla. Although influenced by Coleridge’s unfinished poem Christabel, Carmilla is influential in its own right. The “deviance” of female sexuality is explicit in this novel, especially by Victorian standards, and paves the way for the vampire as a sexual metaphor.” These beliefs are becoming more and more common as the years have progressed.

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Gothic Literature’s Influence On Modern Society. (2022, February 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved November 29, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/gothic-literatures-influence-on-modern-society/
“Gothic Literature’s Influence On Modern Society.” Edubirdie, 18 Feb. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/gothic-literatures-influence-on-modern-society/
Gothic Literature’s Influence On Modern Society. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/gothic-literatures-influence-on-modern-society/> [Accessed 29 Nov. 2022].
Gothic Literature’s Influence On Modern Society [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 18 [cited 2022 Nov 29]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/gothic-literatures-influence-on-modern-society/
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