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A Comparative Approach: The Early European Supernatural Tale

Five Variations on a Theme


Germán Gil-Curiel PH.D.

This book explores the supernatural literature of Walter Scott, James Hogg, Théophile Gautier, Charles Nodier and Gérard de Nerval from a European perspective that casts them as part of a network rather than as the discrete, isolated artistic outcomes of different national literatures, by focusing on the central role played by the literature of E.T.A. Hoffmann during the first half of the nineteenth century. The author claims that Hoffmann had a seminal role through the reactions that his literature aroused. These reactions took place both in the realm of theory, for Hoffmann’s works provoked a great deal of discussion on the nature and purposes of supernatural literature, and also in the realm of their literary writings themselves, with much cross-fertilisation taking place, sometimes enabled through translation and sometimes from direct experience. The author focuses on shared themes like the idealized dead beloved, and dreams, reveries and altered states.
Contents: Walter Scott – James Hogg – Théophile Gautier – Charles Nodier – Gérard De Nerval – E. T. A. Hoffmann – Supernatural Literature – Nineteenth Century – Europe – Scotland – France – Romanticism – Fantastic – Gothic – Tales – Short Stories – Nouvelles – Translation – Cross-Fertilisation – Imagination – Inner Self – Dreams – Oneiric – Reverie – Nightmare – Delirium Tremens – Eroticism – Death – Afterlife – Seer – Outcast – Visionary – Dreamer – Ghost – Spectre – Revenant – Witch – Elf – Goblin.