Gothic Fiction: Chinese WritersChen Yufei recently graduated from a college in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. This is his Thesis on Gothic Fiction. It was composed and written in English and there has been no editing of it on this page. Chen Yufei is a brilliant young man with a talent for writing in a 19th Century style, and he is well versed in the works of Edgar Allan Poe: Horace Walpole and Mary Shelly. His dream is to pursue an English writing career. He currently works as a translator for a Chinese publishing Company.
Chen Yufei recently graduated from a college in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. What appears in this article is the body of his Thesis on Gothic Fiction. Formerly my student in Wuhan in 2005/2006, we have remained friends and in constant contact ever since. I read this thesis and suggested we publish it.
We do so in good faith believing that he is entitled to publish his thesis. All attempts to discover otherwise proved fruitless.
Chen Yufei is a brilliant young man with a talent (in personal correspondance) for writing in a 19th Century style. It is my hope that in publishing this work, he may find it to his advantage in pursuing his dream of an English writing career.
The thesis was only written in English and there has been no editing of it on this page.
Chen Yufei's Gothic Fiction Analysis.
2. Classical Gothic Fiction
2.1 The Good versus the Evil
2.1.1 The legitimate versus the misplaced
2.1.2 The maiden and the villain
2.2 Symbolic Elements
2.2.1 Castle, monastery and crypt
2.2.2 Frankenstein and the monk
3. Edgar Allan Poe's Contribution to Gothic Fiction
3.1 A Brief Introduction to Edgar Allan Poe
3.2 Premature Burial
3.3 The Death of a Beautiful Woman and the Doppelganger
3.4 Mental Illness and Materialization
In many occasions, especially in the discussion of contemporary pop culture, "Gothic" is a frequenter among varied people with certain interest or knowledge in literature, horror movie, architecture or branches of rock music.
The word was derived from the name of a group of East Germanic tribes who harried the Roman Empire and then carried on Christian culture as successors to the Roman Empire. Then, the word "Gothic" indicated certain meanings of being brutal, barbarian as the Goths themselves often referred to as opposite to civilized Romans.
With the features in the medieval architecture style sharing the same name, the word "Gothic" was endued with dark, mysterious and superstitious overtones brought along by Gothic architectures in Dark Ages like churches with a crypt that well places the stage for the undead to lurk and castles with tall windows that barely let light in.
"Gothic fiction" was originally a term strictly defined by both historical and regional reference. In its narrow sense, the term especially refers to certain English fictions of the period from 1764 to 1820, with The Castle of Otranto, a Gothic Story by Horace Walpole as the herald, and Melmoth the Wanderer by Charles Robert Maturin as the "terminator".
Usually, these fictions are set to dark castles or monasteries, featured by thrilling plot with suspense. However, when talking about this word in our days, people tend to start with its notorious uncertainty of definition, because the connotation of Gothic fiction has been transcending itself both in the sense of period and region.
So, in its general sense, the word Gothic fiction is widely agreed by present English researchers as a term which contains three large-scale revivals in the history of English literature, i.e. first, the English Gothic fictions in later 18th century; secondly, the Victorian Gothic fictions represented by Stevenson's Dr. Jecyll and Mr. Hyde; thirdly, contemporary horror fictions in 1970s represented by Stephen King's Salem's Lot.
Just like vampire, a famous figure often seen in Gothic fictions, the fiction genre itself is a zombie that died at 1820 while continuously reanimated through centuries. It used to wander at the edge of literature, disdained by the mainstream, while the diversified developments of thought in modern days such like psychoanalysis and feminism have well contributed to the renaissance of the research on Gothic fiction and the Gothic tradition in literature itself.
Finally, Gothic fiction melts itself into the ocean of literature and stands under the spotlight on the stage. Various writers employ the techniques or the style involved in Gothic fiction, and many a critic explores the core values and eternal beauty of this mysterious genre from varied angles.
However, as the forefather of later supernatural fiction and modern horror fiction, Gothic fiction is born with some fundamental characteristics which will be inherited by further variations and shared by works of seemingly other genres in common. In my opinion, the very treasures and beauty of Gothic fiction lie in its inherent concern on human nature and psychological status.
I shall discuss these virtues mainly with ideas of psychology and slightly other theories.
2. Classical Gothic Fiction
2.1 The Good versus the Evil
In many English Gothic fictions, there is a common theme shared by many different works. As we often hear in various circumstances, the theme is usually summed up as "the struggle between the good and the evil". In early Gothic fictions, the theme is carried out by a certain good protagonist and an evil noble with powerful influence on him or her. The villains in these novels are prone to snatch some property or important people that are supposed to be owned by or be united with the protagonists, such as a large sum of money inherited from a kin passing away, a title along with real estate like a castle bestowed upon certain successors or occasionally, a beautiful princess or a handsome young man that well matches the age, temperament, status and most importantly, the will towards love of the protagonist.
These can be found without difficulty in Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto in which Manfred, the arrogant lord who owns the castle of Otranto tries to avert the catastrophe of his loss of power by divorcing his own wife who failed to bear him an heir and marrying Isabella, the belle protagonist who was supposed to marry Manfred's sickly only son, whose life was carried off by an inexplicable event. This successive marriage is followed by a series of supernatural events that serve as warnings to Manfred's arrogation of the castle of Otranto which is supposed to be the possession of the true prince, Theodore of Falconara.
Similarly, in The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe, a sensitive and unusually beautiful young lady，Emily St. Aubert who suffers several misadventures and then becomes ward of his aunt and later is imprisoned in Castle Udolpho by her aunt's husband, an Italian villain who deceives Emily's aunt into marriage for her property. Both of the two masterpieces of early Gothic fiction end up with the reunion of the protagonists and their true love, along with the restoration of their legitimate belongings.
2.1.1 The legitimate versus the misplaced
However, sometimes, this theme is embodied by other forms of conflict. In the sense of dualism, I incline to interpret it as the conflict between the "legitimate" and the "misplaced".
The "legitimate" can be seen as a well matched love or a due successor to a noble title, a property of a castle or ownership of a certain amount of money, etc. This kind of the "legitimate" as mentioned above can be found in Gothic fictions involved by struggles for heritage and mysteries around the hidden identity of a weak but virtuous protagonist. In other cases, in more abstract sense, it can also refer to something that serves as boundary or restrictions, whether as the moral principles, the proper ideas, the maximum ability of human, etc. In a word, it deals with the orthodox thoughts in our heart.
In contrast, the "misplaced" involves people who "don't deserve" certain property or bliss while practice some attempts to grip them or even take them away from those "legitimate". In a larger sense, it can also be embodied by misbehavior or overreaching something that is beyond the natural attributes or ethical. Besides the villains in novels mentioned above, Vathek, An Arabian Tale by William Thomas Beckford has well depicted such a character, a prideful, concupiscent while learned caliph named Vathek who trusts in his mother's word in believing a stranger named Giaour who claims to be an Indian merchant but in fact an evil jinn serving Eblis and then embarks on his way to damnation.
In this Gothic fiction set to Arabian world, Vathek's erudition is however, the seed of his main sin, the greed for knowledge. Thus, the "evil" itself is somewhat transferred to transcendence, as we see in here: "Such was, and should be, the punishment of unrestrained passion and atrocious deeds! Such shall be the chastisement of that blind curiosity, which would transgress those bounds the wisdom the Creator has prescribed to human knowledge; and such the dreadful disappointment of that restless ambition, which, aiming at discoveries reserved for beings of a supernatural order, perceives not, through its infatuated pride, that the condition of man upon earth is to be - humble and ignorant."(William Thomas Beckford, 1868, Page 206-207)
Here, as we read above, the words written by the author himself have led us to be confronted with the time when some of these novels are involved and urged us to take a look at the overall spiritual situations then. The 18th century English society witnessed a series of moral crises and later the renaissance of morality. In 1720, two notorious events, "the Gin Craze" and "South Sea Bubble" broke out. The former was an extreme epidemic of drunkenness caused by gin among British working classes, especially in London, which encouraged large-scale corruption of moral and public outrage towards it. The latter was rather a financial crisis seemingly caused by immoderate distribution of stock by South Sea Company, while in fact the consequence of the collusion between merchants and the government and moreover, the vicious circle developed by a trend of gambling and speculation prevailing in the whole society.
These events reflect the vacuity and depravation among the 18th English society where the domination of religion had been overthrown, meanwhile the thirst for large capital, instant pleasure and the loss of former moral guidance breeded disorder of ethic and sharp conflict inside individuals who were in trouble. Hence, a saviour, Evangelism came to the rescue. This renewed tide of religion with the attempt to convert more people to Christianity saved a number of people from their mental and moral damnation, through the formidable efforts of John Wesley and his fellow Methodists. We can find the reflection of this introspection in Manfred's arrogation and his final conversion to religion, alike in Vathek, an Arabian Tale, Vathek's fall is coincided with his renouncement with Islam, and his final punishment is quite mythological, i.e. showing sharp-cut sense of the triumph of the good over the evil like those in any sermon.
However, the difference lies in that Montoni and Manfred's betrayal to moral is rather secular, for its main purpose is but for wealth, family line or status, while Vathek's sin or his moral bankruptcy is somewhat metaphysical, for his attempt to gain knowledge that is supposed to be perceived only by supernatural beings ruling over mortals is merely a overdone aspiration for knowledge or even the expectation to improve and surpass the limit of human beings, if in the eyes of modern readers. We can even find something respectable out of his deed, though human sacrifice and vicious means can be found throughout his road to acquire his desired knowledge.
At the same time, the supernatural prodigies involved in religious doctrines can be found in early Gothic fictions in another aspect. As we can read in The Castle of Otranto, from the gigantic helmet that crushes Manfred's son to death to body-parts and other ancient oversized artifacts, the supernatural force has been affecting the whole process of the story. They mainly serve as warning to Manfred, hence the supernatural helps to correct the improper deed and compensate the wronged. This is the inner call to maintain justice and order which has long taken root in most individuals' heart and perhaps the ideal way for many in the abyss of desperation and lowest class to acquire their well-beings or somehow be equal to the others. Therefore, there is never a place where or a time when religion ceases to function as panacea.
However, correcting the disorder caused by immoderate behaviors and rebuilding the moral through the effort of religion may inevitably include a strong sense of the dualism of the good and the evil and thus emphasis on self restraint. This saviour at a time may turn to be the source for varied Gothic fictions later in the development of this unique genre. And, in the later part of this thesis, which is involved in a new era and its movement of thought, we will discuss them through other views.
2.1.2 The maiden and the villain
Another pair of contradictories can be found in early Gothic fictions, too. It has certain ties with the "legitimate" and the "misplaced", but since we may employ another way of thinking in surveying its inner value, the new duality may hence enter a brand new category, which I would rather name as it is illustrated in many Gothic novels, "the maiden and the villain".
The two images involved in this duality can be perceived as symbols with certain cultural background. Emily St. Aubent in The Mysteries of Udolpho is depicted as unusually beautiful, gentle and virtuous, with her main interest in book and music, yet apparently weak since she becomes ward under the care of her cold aunt and then at the hand of the villain, Montoni's greed and bluster. She is separated from her suitor and imprisoned in Castle Udolpho along with her aunt by Montoni. To her, the new "home" is a prison, physically as well as mentally. She is courted by the unwanted suitor and her disguised guardian, Montoni, by whom she is also discontent with for she won't give in or to follow the ladyship that Montoni wishes. Besides the supernatural elements of horror employed in the novel, this struggle can be interpreted as woman's defiance to the traditional male-dominate society as well.
Furthermore, this kind of defiance is not only illustrated by female characters in Gothic fictions, but also realized later by a lot of female followers like Mary Shelley, the Bronte sisters and Carson McCullers who apply Gothic techniques in their works with feministic features.
This concern developed even as early in first Gothic fictions has revealed a new horizon which is well developed through the efforts of various writers to come, that is the more and more tremendous change of the image of female in literature. In ancient mythologies and folklores, female is often visualized as beings associated with temptation, original sin, hatred, danger, cause of disaster or evil itself. From harpies, Siren and lamia to succubus and Lilith, etc. Of course, there are also a lot of "good" female beings. However, if seen through the surface, there is usually something to do with lust, the ideal image of female highly customed by male or even the male violence and dominance over female. So, it is not difficult for one to see that the female roles in these old creations are generally products of a male-dominate culture which leaves no room for female to appeal.
Then, as a series of cultural reforms and political movements bring enlightenment to people of all walks of life, the awaking of female gradually find its own path, though bumpy and full of frustrations. It certainly shows its influence on literature, regardless of the realism, romanticism or later schools.
The female characters tend to be diversified. While at meantime, some male characters in Gothic fictions in this period resemble some female features instead. "One of the reasons that Gothic is interesting to feminists is that it offers a symbolic expression of female paranoia.. But we have many fewer examples of 'hommes fatals', of a male hero portrayed from a female viewpoint as both seductive and dangerous.
The Gothic novel, by contrast, gives full rein to female ambivalence toward male sexuality. It treats masculinity as a disturbing mystery.. The brooding, enigmatic villain, suggests Patricia Meyer Spacks, is a multivalent symbol of the 'paternal sublime', of a father who is seen as remote, fascinating, and all-powerful. Radcliifean Gothic, embodies a specifically female view of the family romance: not the competition of fathers and sons, but the dangerous, ambivalent love of daughters for fathers. Mutant attraction governs the relations of fathers and daughters. The relationship, however, also emphasizes women's exclusion from male power." (Rita Felski, 2003, Page 152)
What makes it so interesting is that the features which are interchanged between the two genders, i.e. the male bears those of the female and vice versa, would later become a characteristic of certain Gothic fictions, such as vampire Gothic, in which extremely handsome male vampires like Lestat and Louis in Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire astonishingly resemble the beauty of women, and even show an unusually intimate relation that to some extent reminds us of homoerotism. I regard this as the reflection of tremendous change in psychology.
Here, I would like to use some theories of analytical psychology to point out this subtle relation between the process of man's psychology and literature. According to Jung, we are born with both male and female qualities, just like every individual carries hormones of both sexes. Meanwhile, there are two archetypes which function as the alter ego to our dominant "true self", the anima and the animus. The former refers to the female alter ego in a man, while the latter refers to the archetype which represents the male alter ego in a woman.
In his theory, a healthy psyche is acquired through the balanced development of complementary mental functions, such like the anima and a man's ego as male, or the animus and a woman's ego as female. If a man's male qualities grow so strong that he behaves certainly as a typical masculine in any aspect, while on contrary, the female temperament has almost no opportunity to grow, thus his anima will consequently remain primeval and crude. As a result, he will have a totally virile outside, which gives off the shines of rationality, authority, conviction and aggression, yet a flabby and submissive inside. Then, in certain situations, especially when under stress, his oppressed anima will wildly break the jail made by his ego, and bring him down as victim of mental disorder. This compensation action is well illustrated in some early Gothic fictions and inherited by their subsequent variations.
In the sense of the psychology theories mentioned above, the male characters in quite a long period of history are mainly stereotype with features of established male qualities. It is rather infrequent for evidence of such mutant or ill images of male to be found in the mainstream of literature, though on the other hand, there are some famous male heroes in literature and history known to us , some even standing for the word "man" itself, yet actually homosexual if we unfortunately reveal the truth on impulse driven by curiosity. Among them, we can see acquaintances like Achilles, the demigod hero in Trojan War; Alexander the Great, the conqueror who shocks the world; Plato, as well as Socrates, forefathers of western philosophy, etc.
These figures usually mean to us as more or less sublime and at least, free from blemish like being a queer, when judged by a conventional concept. However, our relatively "normal" and "right" idea on such undercurrent issues is none but the effect of conventional and dogmatic influence imposed by dominant social rules. As the compensation action indicates, the oppressed anima and animus of the whole human race begin to appeal for themselves in literature and culture.
Gothic fiction, as a genre wandering outside the mainstream itself, however, is among those pioneers who offer a refuge for these purgees exiled by the psyche of all. The unacceptable qualities, such as female characters deviating from male society or homosexual hint and even incest turn to be a vital part of Gothic fictions. What considered to be "unhealthy" becomes the very feature that makes Gothic rather more remote from the mainstream values. But through such a symbiosis, Gothic fiction offers enough space for these peripheral qualities of the whole society to grow, making them somehow evenly matched to the mainstream and thus enhance a colorful and healthy mental status of human.
2.2 Symbolic Elements
As time goes by, many early elements in Gothic fiction fade to oblivion. Likewise in reality, castles and churches with somber underground systems are relatively rare to see in modern days. However, like the Gothic genre itself has already died at 1820, while many spiritual values and styled techniques inherited by various successors, some spots or figures survive in the form of other beings. Spots, for example, such like a castle may be reincarnated as a secret laboratory, while a necropolis as hospital, a dungeon as a sewer system, etc. Similarly, figures like necromancers may become evil scientists, demons become mutant creatures and superhuman beings become aliens from other worlds. Yes, certainly these changes of decoration indicate certain progress in our perceiving of the world, but the core values of the archetype, i.e. the original Gothic fiction, are precisely held in those classical elements, which I define as symbolic elements, though symbolism is a movement in fashion later.
2.2.1 Castle, monastery and crypt
In a cultural view, the settings of castle and other medieval features are necessary response to the revival of medieval architecture and the so-called medievalism. It is the revival of Gothic architecture and Romanticism all together give birth to the Gothic fiction. However, the renewed medieval relics employed in Gothic fiction certainly won't function merely as cultural reference as we see evidences of crime in the castle of Otranto, and hypocritical monks in The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis and The Italian, Ann Radcliffe's last work published.
In a philosophical vision, I interpret them as the symbol of the overwhelming influence of governing class and convention like religion on individuals. Caleb Williams, the three-volume novel written as a call to end the abuse of power by what the author William Godwin see as a tyrannical government has offered a vivid proof of this symbolistic connotation. Intended as a popularization of the ideas presented in his 1793 treatise Political Justice, the author uses the protagonist of this story to show the ways through which the government and legislative destroy individuals. Caleb, a poor but able young man with ambition who happens to discover the terrible secret of his master, British squire Ferdinando Falkland's past. The squire then uses varied means of power, such like unfair trials, imprisonment and assassination to silence him and maintain his status and inborn priority. Meanwhile, the religion conceptions which emphasis on the unchangeable status predetermined and mortification of the flesh are also among the relics of the Dark Ages.
As for the part of crypts, the dark, winding charnels or enigmatic inner structure of military constructions are perfect models of our inner realm. The underground systems may not necessarily contain lurking dead or floating ghost, but well resemble the complexity and unpredictability of unconscious. The supernatural events taking place in the crypts and dungeons in Gothic fictions are seemingly horrific, but the true terror comes from our imagination and especially our reaction towards the shocking unconscious. As these places are usually abandoned or forgotten, just like that our unconscious is unreachable, it will be an experience full of astonishment as well as fear to see how wild and anamorphic our oppressed aspects of psyche behave in their realm where we have nearly nothing to resist.
2.2.2 Frankenstein and the monk
Besides the typical medieval features involved in the early Gothic fictions, other symbolistic elements also enrich the genre with psychological concern.
In Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, which is considered to be both the vanguard of Gothic fiction and science fiction, the humanoid creature which is more frequently referred to as Frankenstein rather than the cognominal scientist who invents him is another disaster brought about by the overreaching of man.
However, the monster bears something more profound than those products made by similar deeds mentioned in our discussion on the "legitimate" and the "misplaced", for the monster itself and the novel has entered the era we call "Industrial Age". "......and Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, obviously resonate with the events of an age that, as Chris Baldick has finely observed, witnessed humanity seizing responsibility 'for recreating the world, for violently reshaping its natural environment and its inherited social and political forms, for remarking itself.'" (Howard L. Malchow, 1996, Page 10)
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Great Britain experienced massive improvement and progress in her productivity and manufacture, making it the "world factory". However, the advantage that industrialization brought with caused side effects as well. Severe pollution and machinery's superior efficiency over human became the uneasiness of man. Human were frightened by the creation made by themselves, as if they committed the sin of bringing something not belonging to this world by their own hands so that they would be brought into collision with God. Thus, Frankenstein remains an eternal figure that endlessly haunts human as we become more and more advanced in technology and science, and our insatiable curiosity is often blind.
Frankenstein, on the other hand, indirectly reveals the psychology and the attitude of the Western towards the other races in the sense of postcolonial politics. The monster itself originally bears no harmful intention, not to mention any vicious mind, though his malformation appearance inevitably reminds those normal human of the outline of fiend or demon. With the friendly attempt to live peacefully with mankind, however, he receives frightened look and hostile actions driven by the sense of perceiving him as evil and dangerous, in return. Learning from all these harsh experiences, the monster develops a sense of injustice and persecution, and decides to revenge for his fate. As we can read in the novel, his revenge contains but physical abreaction, without any deadly behavior at first. However, it is the further repulsion and his master and creator's betrayal to create a mate for him that brutally breaks the last hope and "humanity in his heart", if it can be called so.
The dark and sinister appearance of the creature along with his superhuman power and figure, in the view mentioned at the beginning of this passage, indicates some racial messages for it resembles features of the standard description of black people frequently appearing in the literature of West Indies and West African exploration. There was a trend in the British Empire then that many celebrities in cultural and political field quote the name of Frankenstein's monster to refer to "exotic, savage non-white". Likewise, there has been a vaunted superiority of culture held by the West, hence becoming what we call the postcolonial politics centuries later. Of all these, Gothic fiction has faithfully recorded.
Among the symbolistic elements of classical Gothic fiction, some other symbols, with which we have well acquainted in the previous parts, are worthy to the further attention we shall pay as following. We have seen the monks and supernatural force in early Gothic fictions as symbol of the religious influence upon individuals and illusions of the idea of justice in their mind. Here, as a conclusion to draw, I define the former as the persona, a psychologic term which refers to our social roles in the outside, a mask for the whole Western society to wear. As early Gothic fiction itself bears certain relics of the Dark Ages, the persona of that period, or precisely the moral and social roles customed by Christianity remains as well. These roles mainly stress self-restrain, asceticism and the acceptance of a predefined fate, which are bound to oppress human nature and even destroy individuality.
As we have seen previously, the reconstruction of moral in 18th century British society certainly has its historic significance, but the overcorrect measures against indulgence and depravation may cause an outrageous reaction of the oppressed nature. Ambrosio, the protagonist in Matthew Gregory Lewis's The Monk, is a pious, respectable monk in Spain. While, seduced by his pupil, an instrument of Satan in female form, he commits a series of sins associated with carnal lust and gradually steps down to his damnation. Such a sharp downfall is a highly personified process of the collapse of an imbalanced psyche. Here, again, Gothic fiction serves as an asylum of this non-mainstream observation which offers a forum for social criticism and later inspires great works like Notre Dame de Paris of other genres
3. Edgar Allan Poe's Contribution to Gothic Fiction
3.1 A Brief Introduction to Edgar Allan Poe
The previous parts of the thesis focus on the discussion on early Gothic fictions, of which most are English works. Here, in the latter parts, I shall analyze the beauty and core values of the Gothic fiction in a larger sense mainly through Edgar Allan Poe's works.
Edgar Allan Poe is a vital figure one should never forget on the subject of Gothic fiction. The American short-story writer, poet as well as editor and literary critic who is best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre is considered to be part of American Romanticism and father of detective-fiction genre. His short while checkered life full of twists and turns is regarded as a legend alongside with his eximious masterpieces.
The further influence of his works and theories range from symbolist like Charles Bauderlaire to the author of Sherlock Holmes series, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Though well received abroad and burdened by various careers and productions, his life is still filled with permanent financial difficult, for he earns a living through writing alone. Some of his works bear certain indications of the influence of events in his life, such like the early death of his young wife and cousin. Though intended to appease the public taste, his Gothic fictions are nevertheless among the top of Gothic treasures for his tendency to the internalization of Gothic fiction.
3.2 Premature Burial
One recurring theme in Poe's Gothic novels, though usually called as short stories, is the concern on premature burial, which is endowed with inborn implication of horror. In his short story The Premature Burial, Poe takes use of a common fear at his time, the fear of being buried alive, which actually has been a source for folklores like vampire and ghoul. The unnamed narrator and protagonist of the story suffers from a kind of physical disorder that he randomly falls into a trance as if he died. Thus, he grows a phobia of being mistakenly buried and henceforth tries hard on explaining his physical disorder and persuading his friends not to bury him alive. Refusing to leave his home, he builds a specially designed tomb with devices with which he can ask for help if awaking from a premature burial.
The hair-raising and rather ridiculous story highlights a forgotten corner of Gothic realm, bringing the readers with the experience of the exact feeling of those buried dead, and confronting us with a serious topic of psychiatry, claustrophobia. In his The Fall of the House of Usher, Roderick Usher's twin sister, Madeline is mistakenly buried alive even though she is entombed for two weeks in a vault before the permanent burial. This unfortunate event serves as the climax of the whole story. Similar theme recurs in his The Cask of Amontillado and Berenice, too.
Closed in a narrow and dark place, especially when crumbled and muted, man will be challenged by varied levels of anxiety or even severely hurt by his own panic attack. This is one of our most feared nightmares. Without any intended descriptions of supernatural beings or bloodshed scenes, the fear inside has done everything necessary for a Gothic horror, and even done better. This is the very soul of Poe's stories of the macabre.
3.3 The Death of a Beautiful Woman and the Doppelganger
"The death of a beautiful woman, is unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world." This famous assertion of Poe is somewhat supernatural, for the main aesthetic standard indicated is a cross reference to the death of his wife and cousin, Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe, who marries Edgar Allan Poe at the age of 13 and eventually dies from tuberculosis at 27. The disease and eventual death of his wife had a substantial impact on Edgar Allan Poe, making his works haunting with the death and resurrection of young women as well as himself despondent and keeping to the bottle.
The death of his little wife is mainly caused by the long-term suffering of her disease, while at the same time partially by the rumor of Poe's affairs. So, this can be found in the frequent motif of his works such as poems Annabel Lee, Ulalume and Lenore, short stories The Oblong Box, and Ligeia, etc. This mingled feeling of mourning and self-accusation together breed the keynote throughout his later works with Gothic style.
Meanwhile, another recurring theme in his works is the doppelganger. This loanword from German means the ghostly double of a person that haunts its living counterpart. In folklores, it is said that one will be severely sick or even dead soon when seeing his doppelganger. In Poe's William Wilson, the profligate protagonist witnesses a boy roughly resembles his appearance but bears exactly other features, the date of birth, for example. He finds later that this boy in the same academy with him and beginning to imitate him. As the story goes on, the boy becomes exactly another self, thus annoying Wilson to kill him. Finally, when Wilson finishes the murder, only to find that he killed himself.
This variation of the doppelganger better illustrates another "me" in one's inner world, who is endowed with exactly the opposite sense but the same appearance. In my opinion, the doppelganger is the symbol of the shadow, which is a psychologic term referring to the uncontrollable personal unconscious, or especially the over-oppressed shadow. Poe's application of the doppelganger can also be seen in his The Fall of the House of Usher, where the twin brother and sister have almost the same appearance, and the illness, mental uneasiness even as well as death effect both of the twins. These employments of psychologic hints make Poe's Gothic fictions outstanding from others.
3.4 Mental Illness and Materialization
Poe's contribution to the internalization of Gothic fiction not only lies in his application of inspiration from his insight into contemporary concern, life experience and traditional elements in folklore, but also in his faithful maintain of the Gothic atmosphere and creative invention of new techniques.
Again, in his The Fall of the House of Usher, we see Roderick Usher, one of the last descendants of the family of Usher, showing strong symptoms of mental illness. His mental diseases include hyperesthesia (extreme hypersensitivity to light, sounds, smells, and tastes), hypochondria (an excessive preoccupation or worry about having a serious illness), and acute anxiety. Please note here, Poe wrote the story before modern psychology was founded. Roderick's symptoms can be found almost everywhere, from his words, his taste for music and art to his figure and the library he owns. Meanwhile, Poe employs a sagacious technique here, which I call materialization.
We can see in the novel that the narrator attempts to calm Roderick by reading aloud The Mad Trist, a novel involving a knight named Ethelred who breaks into a hermit's dwelling in an attempt to escape an approaching storm, only to find a palace of gold guarded by a dragon. He also finds hanging on the wall a shield of shining brass of which is written a legend: that the one who slays the dragon wins the shield. With a stroke of his mace, Ethelred fells the dragon, who dies with a piercing shriek, and proceeds to take the shield, which falls to the floor with an unnerving clatter. As the narrator reads of the knight's forcible entry into the dwelling, cracking and ripping sounds are heard somewhere in the house. When the dragon is described as shrieking as it dies, a shriek is heard, again within the house.
All of these have shown the vivid process of materialization of Roderick's mind. His thoughts, mental activities affect the surroundings or what we call "reality". In Poe's description, the unnamed narrator has sensed the gloom ever since the first lines of the story. Later, on his road to the house of Usher and in the staying with the twins, these endless experiences of oppression, sorrow and anxiety combine with the materialization of Roderick's tortured spirit. Such a mutual effect of the mind upon the reality and the reality upon the mind all together contribute to a brand new horizon of Gothic horror, which will be inherited by various modern novels, not horror novels alone. A realm of terror, which obscures the boundary between the mental and the physical, has been established by Edgar Allan Poe.
Gothic fiction, though the original formal genre has faded into the undercurrent of history, survives in other forms and becomes a vital part of modern literature and culture. Its unparalleled insight into the pain, sorrow and desire of human and its authentic record of the growth and setbacks in modern history have made itself a highly stylized seer among all genres of literature and a mirror for us to embrace our inner world with introspection. Through the pathbreaking exploration and experimental innovation contributed by various writers, this literary genre has gradually drawn attention from Chinese scholars and litterateurs, as well as numerous readers.
Though starting much later than the West, the influence of Gothic fiction and culture in China is on its way to mature. Li Weifang's comparative study on certain Chinese mythical novels and British Gothic fictions provides a systematic introduction as well as guidance for both professional and amateur. In popular literature, horror novelist Cai Jun also claims to commit himself to create the Chinese Gothic fiction, which is followed by a few of trial mocks written by others. Other medias like movie, especially horror movie have also shown their reactions to the relatively young trend of Gothic in China. More and more Chinese youth are more or less aware of Gothic culture and some even tend to dive into a decadent fashion derived from Gothic subculture.
As for the effect that Gothic fiction brings to China and its future, I see optimism in it. By the means of studying the core values and eternal beauty of Gothic fiction, we see a new horizon for men of letters in China. Since Chinese culture has accumulated a rich and varied storage of mystery stories and ghost folklores, if we absorb the nutrition of Gothic fiction in an objective way so that we may combine our own cultural values and the beauty of Gothic fiction in one, the future of this genre and our literature shall witness the prosperous new fruits of the culture of human.
Mingxing's company had booked him into the upmarket Kempinski Hotel in Wuxi and he organized and paid for one extra day so that we could go sightseeing. There are two photos in Part one that relate to the Kempinski Hotel Room, but this photo is of the lavish foyer of the Hotel as taken from the first floor landing above the coffee shop. Whilst the Big Buddha is the 'centerpiece' so to speak, the real spectacular is to be found in the Cultural Museum. This place is one helluva spectacular place inside. It sits directly opposite the replica of the Potala Palace, and when you enter you are required to put coverings over your shoes. I suspect that the real reason is to cut down on the cleaning bill. This place was crowded and all those people shuffling along wearing shoe protectors gave the marble floor a really high sheen.
The Fairy Island on the Lake Taihu. which used to be called the Three-Mount Island, is a group of well-known islands and islets in the famou s scenic spot of Lake Taihu.it lies in the lake, and is 2. 0 kilometers away from the Turtle Head Peninsual, which is in the northeast shore. The entire islands are made up of the islets such as Daji, Xiaoji, Dongya, Xiya, with a total area of 12 hectares. (From a Sign at Taihu.)
It was decided that unshod horses would not be allowed to be used in commercial ventures. People couldn't ride horses for a living; salesman couldn't load goods onto their horses; and horses could no longer pull carts. While it all seemed quite logical and humane, the unforeseen consequence of the law was that the supply of goods into and out of the town began to dwindle, until in the end, business after business went bankrupt. As time went by the whole city went bust until the only ones left were those who could not afford to move, and one of these was our blacksmith. One day, considering that since the council itself was now gone, the blacksmith decided to restart his business.
When excavating workers discovered the original Royal road and archaeological viewing platforms have been set up from both above and beside the original road. No charge! You can go down the ramp and clearly see the road and the accompanying signs/ The Chaotian Gate - During the Zhizheng Reign of Yuan Dynasty it was renamed to Gongbei Tower. It was destroyed in the 10th year (1474) of Chenghua Reign Ming Dynasty and rebuilt in the next year. The building was destroyed again in early Qing Dynasty and rebuilt in the 25th year (1686) of the Kangxi Reign Qing Dynasty. It is known as Drum Tower.
Politically Correct activists fight many different causes but their bottom line strategy is to demonstrate that their opponents are "GUILTY" - guilty of anything and everything one can quickly think of so as to disempower those same opponents. Reaction formation generally speaking is accusing others of those things of which you yourself are guilty BUT which you find inexcusable within yourself. Itís rather like being a Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. One part of the character lives in the righteous, non discriminatory respectable world of PC but underneath there is a guilty secret that one doesn't want to let escape. It would ruin their image. And so they point the fingers of hatred at those guilty of the same thing - because in fact they "loath themselves".
Having stated that the Governor is one of the very first elected officials to take this action and that there is no play book to show him what to do next, the American Policy Center is calling on citizens to sign a 'Letter of Thanks' to Governor Bentley: If you care about protecting our Constitution and our way of live from attacks by the United Nations, then you must stand with Governor Bentley by signing and returning you "Letter of Thanks for Opposing United Nations' Agenda 21". The newsletter warns however that if Governor Bentley is left to fight alone, then he is probably doomed to be destroyed by the very powerful UN/Agenda 21 forces.
The original command to anoint Jehu as king over Israel (not Judah) was given to Elijah the prophet in 1 Kings 19:15-17 in which he is commanded to anoint Hazael as King over Syria (in place of BenHadad) and Jehu over Israel in place of Ahab's son Jehoram. And there is a promise from God that those who escape from Hazael will be slain by Jehu and those who escape Jehu will be slain by Elisha. But even though the Scripture talks about killing the King of Israel's heirs (the house of Ahab), no where does it say that anyone is to kill the King of Judah "Ahaziah", who was either Ahab's grandson, nephew or son-in-law. (2 Kings 8:18 makes his mother to be the daughter of Omri and therefore sister of Ahab and so he was Ahab's nephew, while verse 26 states that his mother was Ahab's daughter therefore he was Ahab's grandson but verse 27 refers to him as son-in-law).
Definition: King's Calendar Chronological Research
The Premise: Between the 5th and 3rd centuries BCE (but continuing down to at least 104 BCE), Sectarian redactors transcribed the legitimate 'solar year' chronological records of Israel and Judah, into an artificial form, with listed years as each comprised of 12 months of 4 weeks of 7 days, or 336 days per year, thus creating a 13th artificial year where 12 solar years existed.
When the Synchronous Chronological Data provided in the Books of Kings and Chronicles for the Divided Kingdom Period are measured in years of 336 days, the synchronisms actually align. [Refer to Appendix 5. to see how it synchronises the Divided Kingdom Period]
About the KingsCalendar Publisher
R.P.BenDedek is the owner and Editor of KingsCalendar.com which was originally set up to publicize his research results into the Chronology of Ancient Israel. Those results were published under the title: 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran'.
Whilst there have been many attempts to solve the chronological riddle of the Bible's synchronisms of reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah and their synchronism with other Ancient Near Eastern Nations, no other research is based on a simple mathematical formula which could, if it is incorrect, be disproved easily. To date, no one has been able to dismiss the mathematical results of this research.
Free to air Academic articles set forth Apologetics for and results of his discovery of an "artificial chronological scheme" running through the Bible, Josephus, the Damascus Documents of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Seder Olam Rabbah.
Check the Chapter Precis Page to see details of each chapter and to gain access to the Four Free to Air Chapters
R.P. BenDedek writes social commentaries and photographic 'Stories from China' both at KingsCalendar, and as a contributing columnist at Magic City Morning Star News in Maine USA.
(He has been teaching Conversational English in China since 2003 and currently (2013) is teaching in Suzhou City Jiangsu Province.)
General formula for Biblical Data conversion:
The formula for constructing the artificial calendar was:
'X' times 364 equals 'Y' days'Y' days divided by 336 equals 'Z' artificial years.Values are:'X' = any given number of 'real/solar' years364 = perceived days in the sectarian calendar'Y' = number of days calculated336 = number of days in an artificial year'Z' = artificial years = 1.083'X' and represents the original number of the converted years plus 8%.To reverse the process by hand:'Z' years times 336 equals 'Y' divided by 364 equals the Number of 'X' years converted.
To see how effective this method is, SEE:Appendix 5:Diagrammatic Reconstruction of Israelite History from 936 to 586 BCE:
The Principle of Linear Causality
The King's Calendar is a very simple approach to Biblical Chronology. It substitutes a value of 336 days for every year listed in Scripture. As far as the Divided Kingdom is concerned, when you use this 336 day year value, the synchronisms actually work. To see how effective this method is, SEE:Appendix 5: Diagrammatic Reconstruction of Israelite History from 936 to 586 BCE
Because it is a mathematical system, the King's Calendar must abide by certain mathematical rules, the most important of which, is that if you change any date for any day, month, or year every other day, month, or year is effected and must also change. It's like a 'domino effect'. Chronological references cannot be 'forced' to fit, and nor can they simply be ignored or 'compressed' as is the usual case with historians and archaeologists.
If any King's Calendar chronological determination disagrees with anything in the history books, it must argue the case as to why the history books are wrong, or why the evidence for an assertion is untrustworthy. If the King's Calendar successfully defends its' position, then the history books cannot be treated as definitive, and if the King's Calendar is 'proven' wrong, then every other chronological reference it provides is also wrong.
Because of this, the King's Calendar Chronological Reconstruction of Israel's history is unique, in that its' methodology can be scientifically (mathematically) tested and demonstrated to be either true or false. Its' chronological predictions are able to be 'proved' or 'disproved'.
Rules of Evidence Series at Kingscalendar.
Part 1. The Law, Rules of Evidence & Archaeology Part 2. The Law, Rules of Evidence & Archaeology Part 3. The Law, Rules of Evidence & Archaeology Part 4. The Law, Rules of Evidence & Archaeology