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All that Gothic

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Edited By Agnieszka Lowczanin and Dorota Wisniewska

This book provides a comprehensive introduction to the history, aesthetics and key themes of Gothic, the main issues and debates surrounding the genre along with the approaches and theories that have been applied to Gothic texts and films. The volume discusses a wide range of 18 th and 19 th century texts and moves into 20 th century literature and film. It explores the cultural resonances created by the genre and raises a variety of issues, including the ways in which Gothic monstrosity mimics same-sex desire and social transgression. The texts included in the volume argue that Gothic film and fiction animated the darker shadows of the dominant culture.
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Perversity in the Selected Works of Edgar Allan Poe

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Weronika Łaszkiewicz

Stories such as “The Fall of the House of Usher” (1839), “The Tell-Tale Heart” (1843), “The Black Cat” (1843) and “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” (1845) are well-known and can be called the epitome of gothic tradition in literature. Gothic writing is characterized by the ubiquitous presence of violence, crime, death, decay, abnormality, and madness; these elements also constitute the core of Poe’s fiction. They can be studied individually, but the aim of this article is to gather them under one term: perversity. With the notion of perversity as the main tool of the analysis, we will be able to unfold the numerous mysteries of Poe’s short stories and explain how perversity permeates the settings of those stories, dominates the relationship between the characters and, finally, controls the events presented in the plot.

The analysis of the stories should be preceded by an explanation of the term “perversity.” In the most traditional context, perversity is regarded as any kind of abnormal sexual practices, and this type of perversity is also found in Poe’s tales. However, perversity can be discussed also in another context: something is described as perverse because it is deformed, corrupted and degenerate (sexual references are not obligatory).

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