December, dVerse poetics, Edgar Allan Poe, Gothic Literature, John Keats, Sanaa Rizvi, the muse as excuse, winter, Writing through life
Hello dVerse Poets!
Sanaa here, (aka adashofsunny) to stir your muses this evening. The sky is pink and the weather outside is cold; the sharp prongs of bare trees are ripping a hole into the clouds. Perfect atmosphere to delve into our subject today.
Gothic Literature is a genre that emerged as one of the eeriest forms of Dark Romanticism in the late 1700s, and developed during the Romantic period in Britain.
In fact, the first mention as pertaining to Literature was in the subtitle of Horace Walpole’s 1765 story “The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic Story.” Set in a labyrinth Medieval Italian castle, the tale is steeped in the supernatural, romance and murder. The novel merged medievalism and terror in a manner that has persisted ever since.
But what does Gothic mean other than a style of writing that describes strange or frightening events which take place in mysterious places?
Picture courtesy: Gothic Art ~ Séance by Stephan Mackey ~
La Belle Dame sans Merci
O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.
O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel’s granary is full,
And the harvest’s done.
I see a lily on thy brow,
With anguish moist and fever-dew,
And on thy cheeks a fading rose
Fast withereth too.
I met a lady in the meads,
Full beautiful—a faery’s child,
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild.
I made a garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She looked at me as she did love,
And made sweet moan
I set her on my pacing steed,
And nothing else saw all day long,
For sidelong would she bend, and sing
A faery’s song.
She found me roots of relish sweet,
And honey wild, and manna-dew,
And sure in language strange she said—
‘I love thee true’.
She took me to her Elfin grot,
And there she wept and sighed full sore,
And there I shut her wild wild eyes
With kisses four.
And there she lullèd me asleep,
And there I dreamed—Ah! woe betide!—
The latest dream I ever dreamt
On the cold hill side.
I saw pale kings and princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried—‘La Belle Dame sans Merci
Thee hath in thrall!’
I saw their starved lips in the gloam,
With horrid warning gapèd wide,
And I awoke and found me here,
On the cold hill’s side.
And this is why I sojourn here,
Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.
Written in 1819, Keats ballad is flavored with none other than the theme of Femme Fatale. “I met a lady in the meads, full beautiful – a faery’s child,” her beauty makes up part of the blazon, a device common to ballads which presents a character’s physical description, particularly women. But as the poem progresses we learn that there is more to the woman than what meets the eye.
Influence on Fiction nowadays:
Gothic Literature has been replaced by horror stories, suspense novels and other contemporary forms that emphasize shock and sensation.
The novel, “Northanger Abbey,” by Jane Austen is a satire of Gothic novels. Published posthumously in 1817, it tells the story of Catherine Morland and her dangerously sweet nature, innocence, and sometimes self-delusion.
And in “The Sound and the Fury,” by William Faulkner, we come across the tragedy of the Compson family. Notoriously difficult, the novel takes its title from Macbeth’s reflection that life is “a tale/ told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, /signifying nothing.” It features some of the most memorable characters in literature: beautiful, rebellious Caddy; the man-child Benjy; haunted, neurotic Quentin; Jason, the brutal cynic; and Dilsey, their black servant.
The year 1816 saw the birth of John Polidori’s “The Vampyre,” the first vampire story to be written in English. In The same year Mary Shelley released “Frankenstein,” or “the Modern Prometheus,” which, similar to the vampire figure, saw the macabre horror of raising the dead.
Our next Gothic novel appeared 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.
And what makes a Gothic novel unforgettable? Why, its elements of course! The eight elements of Gothic Literature include, setting in a castle, an atmosphere of mystery and suspense, high and even over-wrought emotion. An ancient prophecy which is connected with either the former or present inhabitants of the castle. Omens, portents and visions. Women in distress and last and but not the least, supernatural or otherwise inexplicable events which take place in the duration of the novel.
The Haunted Palace
In the greenest of our valleys
By good angels tenanted,
Once a fair and stately palace—
Radiant palace—reared its head.
In the monarch Thought’s dominion,
It stood there!
Never seraph spread a pinion
Over fabric half so fair!
Banners yellow, glorious, golden,
On its roof did float and flow
(This—all this—was in the olden
Time long ago)
And every gentle air that dallied,
In that sweet day,
Along the ramparts plumed and pallid,
A wingèd odor went away.
Wanderers in that happy valley,
Through two luminous windows, saw
Spirits moving musically
To a lute’s well-tunèd law,
Round about a throne where, sitting,
In state his glory well befitting,
The ruler of the realm was seen.
And all with pearl and ruby glowing
Was the fair palace door,
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing
And sparkling evermore,
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty
Was but to sing,
In voices of surpassing beauty,
The wit and wisdom of their king.
But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
Assailed the monarch’s high estate;
(Ah, let us mourn!—for never morrow
Shall dawn upon him, desolate!)
And round about his home the glory
That blushed and bloomed
Is but a dim-remembered story
Of the old time entombed.
And travellers, now, within that valley,
Through the red-litten windows see
Vast forms that move fantastically
To a discordant melody;
While, like a ghastly rapid river,
Through the pale door
A hideous throng rush out forever,
And laugh—but smile no more.
To understand “The Haunted Palace,” one must understand the context in which it appears. The short story “The Fall of the House of Usher” is one of Poe’s most acclaimed, famous works. It speaks of the fall — literal and figurative — of the House of Usher, an old family in a state of decline. It is narrated from the perspective of Victor Reynolds, a friend of the last heir of Usher who visits to comfort him in his twin sister’s final illness.
“The Haunted Palace,” is a terrifying depiction of insanity. The text depicts a structure that slowly degrades, along with its residents. Just as the house falls apart, so does a mind. Poe sought to draw comparison between these two different structures. It is one of Poe’s most popular Gothic poems.
Picture courtesy: The Nightmare, by J. Henry Fuseli, 1781 Oil on Canvas
Significance of Gothic Literature:
Gothic Literature is rooted first and foremost in invoking human emotion, rather than reason and was created as a darker side of the Romanticism movement in which the explorations of feelings were emphasized.
The emotions particularly invoked were that of awe, fear, wariness and terror, which contrasted sharply with the uplifting ones invoked by Neoclassical themes of art and emotions of happiness, longing, nostalgia, love and sorrow which were often found in mainstream Romanticism. The happier emotions in Gothic Literature are extreme such as elation and frenzied joy.
It is a genre which, through the supernatural, the fantastic and the remote, allows a discussion on everything that has been repressed.
Sources: Definition of Gothic Literature and What is Gothic Literature and why are we still obsessed with it?
For today’s Poetics, I would like you to write a Gothic poem and explore the question: “Which according to you are the deepest, darkest and most concealed of human emotions?”
Once you have created your post, please link up with Mr. Linky widget below. Make sure you visit your fellow poets and comment on their work. I look forward to reading you all and hope you enjoy the prompt.
Welcome to Poetics, everyone!
On the menu we have Rose champagne with beet risotto, Syrah with roast lamb or if you prefer we also have raspberry almond muffins with coffee/tea of your choice. 🙂
Thank you for hosting our last Poetics for 2020. Learned something new about this genre and the poems too. Cheers!!!! Calls for rose champagne with beet risotto.
Rose champagne with beet risotto coming right up! 💝 It’s been a wonderful year in regards to poetry, so glad you enjoyed the prompt! 😀
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Linda Lee Lyberg said:
Hello Sanaa- This is a challenging prompt and one I will need to ponder. Thank you so much for hosting and the wonderful prompt! I’ll just have champagne please.
Rose champagne for the lovely lady 😉 good to see you, Linda! 💝
Wow, Sanaa – this is a challenge to sink your teeth into! Thank you, especially for including the Keats, one of my all-time favourite poems!
Thank you so much, Ingrid 😀 I love the Keats poem too! 💝
Björn Rudberg (brudberg) said:
Do you mean sinking your teeth literally … I think that’s about right.
Thanks for hosting, Sanaa! Today’s my birthday, so I’m going to get quite a poetry treat! I’ll take some champagne with a muffin because that sounds delightful.😀
Happy Birthday, Merril! 😀 Rose champagne with raspberry almond muffins coming right up! 💝
Happy happy birthday Merril !!!!
Björn Rudberg (brudberg) said:
Happy birthday… what a treat to have you here.
Awww–thank you! I will probably have to catch up tomorrow.
Happy Birthday Merril, hope you have a good one! Enjoyed your reading
Thanks so much!
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Good evening all, and thank you Sanaa for hosting the last Poetics of the year with a Gothic prompt, which you know I love! No food or drink for me this evening as I am still suffering, but I will take my sustenance from the poetry.
Good evening, Kim! Sending love and gentle hugs your way 🙂 I hope you feel better soon. Heading over to read your delicious Gothic poem 💝
Thank you, Sanaa, It’s improving very slowly, but I hope to be back to normal in the next couple of days.
Absolutely 🙂 you will be 💝💝
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Such a lovely prompt Sanaa. I will see if I might find my way back to the inglenook and one of those forbidden poems. 😉
I’ll take champagne to toast Merrill, Sanaa, myself and anyone else having a December birthday. 💝
And beetroot risotto to fortify a give colour to some gothic writing. 🥂
Rose champagne with beet risotto coming right up! I join you in raising a toast. Cheers to Merril 😀 on her birthday! 💝
Never written anything Gothic before. It was both fun, strange and challenging.
So exiting to read everyone else take on the prompt.
Björn Rudberg (brudberg) said:
I think I will go easy today… just some Bloody Mary for me.
Bloody Mary coming right up! 😀 Heading over to read you, Bjorn! 💝
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This sounds difficult. Nevertheless, it’s a good prompt, Sanaa! Thanks for all the information about what Gothic literature means.
Thank you so much, Jenna 😀 Would you like to join me for muffins and coffee? 💝
Hello Sanaa and All. I very much enjoyed learning about the elements of gothic writing and will be referring to it for future gothic writing. Didn’t have the time to create a new one but decided to revamp a story I wrote earlier this year. Hot tea with a muffin sounds just right please 🙂
Raspberry almond muffins with hot tea coming right up! 😀 Heading over to read you, Lisa 💝
Thank you and cheers!
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Great prompt Sanaa! Thank you for hosting, and for providing dark fodder for my gothic inclinations. This is wonderful, getting to explore the shadowed human soul — and it’s not even Halloween… 🙂
Thank you so much, Rob 😀 I am pleased you enjoyed the prompt! Heading over to read you. 💝
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Oh this is waaaaaay outside my usual. I hope it measures up.
I absolutely loved it! 😀 Thanks, Ron 💝
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drinking hot choc with 80’s goth rock on the headphoneslooking for the darkness. will post when i find the blackness
Looking forward to it! 💝
the goth rock of the 1980’s has helped wish the hot choc had alittle extra (blood) though
It has also sprung forth a delicious poem 😀 I loved it! 💝
Beverly Crawford said:
I feel like odd man out with my folksy, light-weight rhymes in this group of very talented poets, but I do so enjoy the reads!!
You are loved, Beverly! 💝 I enjoyed your poem 🙂 thank you so much for joining in!
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Sanaa, thank you for hosting such a beautiful and challenging prompt. I’ll see if I can rile up some goth within my soul. I’ll have champagne with beet risotto.
Rose champagne with beet risotto coming right up! 🙂 I look forward to what you come up with, Eugenia 💝
ben Alexander said:
This was really hard for me, and I seriously don’t think I actually succeeded at creating a gothic piece… but… I still like the result 🙂
You have done a brilliant job, Ben 🙂 I loved it! 💝
All right then, I will be back in the morning 🙂 loving the responses to the prompt so far.. thank you everyone for writing! The bar is still open.. the menu available.. please help yourselves.. 💝💝
This is interesting Sanaa, but totally out of my realm. Blood, gore , evil and twisted are not places I can go. I will opt out this time.
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Thank you Sanaa, a challenging prompt. No love can escape the black fist. Other than that today was pretty good! Lol! -Eric
Sent from my iPhone
Hey where can I get the recording of last weeks open mike night? I arrived late and would love to hear the rest of it
Thank you so much, Eric 😀 so glad you enjoyed the prompt! Heading over to read you, will share the YouTube recording with you as well! 💝
Tricia Sankey said:
This was so interesting Sanaa! I only had time to write something super short tonight and it may not fit the bill, but I will share it as this post inspired it! 💕
Thank you so much for writing to the prompt, Tricia 💝 I absolutely loved it! 🙂
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Deliciously dark Sanaa, such fun.
Thank you so much! 💝 I enjoyed your poem 😀 It was perfect!
Thank you very much Sanaa.
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Linda Lee Lyberg said:
Well, I gave it a shot, but not sure how successful I was at Gothic. It reads like a dark fairytale.
I loved it! It has a Keats flavor to it which appeals to the senses 💝
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Helen Dehner said:
Laughing now, missed the linky by two minutes …..