Exploring the aspects of Dark Romanticism in 19th Century American Literature
AuthorMoazzem, M Shahriar
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Dark Romanticism in 19th century America was popular among the readers, but not entirely in literary circles where writers were focusing more on transcendalist writings, like “Nature” of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Writers like Thoreau and Whitman are also notable of this school of thought. The works discussed in this thesis therefore, show stark contrast to the prevalent style of that era. The style of writing of Edgar Allen Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Emily Dickinson was contrary to the style of popular transcendentalist writers of contemporary period. Hawthorne’s works like “The Birth-Mark” are excellent representations of Gothic conventions and critique Transcendentalist idealism. Poe’s works like “The Raven”, “The Masque of the Red Death” and some of his non-fictions are considered a staple in understanding this contrast. Similarly, Emily Dickinson’s poems, “I felt a Funeral in my Brain” and “Tis so appalling--it exhilarates—“etc. are essential to comprehend Dark Romanticism. All these works are heavily constituent of Gothic conventions, motifs, symbolism and often elements or allusions of the supernatural that have been strived to identify and elucidate in this thesis. It further tried to assess its impact on literature and establish a contrast with Emersonian ideals.