Thursday, December 24, 2009
Close Reading Questions for Stevens’s The Gothic Tradition (pp.1-31)
1. According to the text, what social forces was the Gothic movement more or less a response to? How might these explain the Gothic’s fixation on the ancient, the secret, and the macabre?
2. Why were women so instrumental in creating and perpetuating the Gothic genre? And why might the novel in particular (rather than poetry or drama) represent its ideal form of expression?
3. How did Gothic authors such as Coleridge, Beckford, Radcliffe, and Shelley change the conception of an “author”? What about their lives and characters (or how they represented them) may have contributed to this?
4. Compare Goya’s “The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters” (11) to one of the Romantic/19th century works on page 12. What “gothic” elements do you see in each, based on how Stevens defines the Gothic? How is each work similar—and what obvious differences are revealed by comparing the two? Is each one equally (or even legitimately) “Gothic”? For this last question, you can either Google the individual works/painters or visit the CGFA website: http://cgfa.acropolisinc.com/. Many of the works on page 12 can be found there.