Friday, January 22, 2010
Close Reading Questions for Stevens, Ch.3 (Beckford, Lewis, Radcliffe, Coleridge, Keats & Poe) and Coleridge’s Kubla Khan (1816)
Answer TWO of the following...
1. Which of the authors seems most indebted or inspired by Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto? Cite a specific example from the excerpt and point to its inspiration in Walpole’s original.
2. Matthew Lewis’s The Monk (1796) was a terrifically successful work—so much so, that his contemporaries called him Matthew “Monk” Lewis. It is also said to represent, even more than Otranto, the true hallmarks of the Gothic horror novel. Why do you think this is? What elements, ideas, or expressions seem to capture a more “modern” sense of the genre?
3. Consider the poems by Coleridge, Keats, and Poe: how does poetry (which is rarely narrative) inhabit the Gothic genre? What elements from Otranto are visible in these poems—and how might poetry develop Gothic themes in different ways/forms? (Hint: poetry can express one powerful precursor of the Gothic—see Stevens, Ch.1—that evades a prose novel).
4. In Coleridge’s Preface to “Kubla Khan,” he writes, “if [the poem] indeed can be called composition in which all the images rose up before him as things, with a parallel production of the correspondent expressions, without any sensation or consciousness of effort” (Longman, 545). Why do you think he uses the word “things,” and how might this Preface change how we read/interpret the poem? Consider Walpole’s similar statements in his First and Second Prefaces.