Dark Romanticism American Gothic Macabre The Brothers Grimm

Fairy Tales are NOT for Children
 appreciation of the beauties of nature
 emotion over reason and of the senses over intellect
 a turning in upon the self and a heightened examination of
human personality and its moods and mental potentialities
 a preoccupation with the genius, the hero, and the
exceptional figure in general, and a focus on his passions and
inner struggles.
 an emphasis upon imagination as a gateway to transcendent
experience and spiritual truth
 interest in folk culture, national and ethnic cultural origins,
and the medieval era
 and a predilection for the exotic, the remote, the mysterious,
the weird, the occult, the monstrous, the diseased, and even
the satanic.
 The Romantics studied history and turned
back to the Middle Ages for themes and
 The trend toward the irrational and the
supernatural was an important component of
English and German romantic literature.
Rooted in the German movement called
Sturm und Drang -- ("Storm and Stress")
For some Romantic writers, the imagination
led to the threshold of the unknown—the
shadowy region where the fantastic, the
demonic and the insane reside.
When the Gothic's saw the individual, they
saw the potential of evil.
Gothic writers were peering into the darkness
at the dark side of human nature and the
 The Gothic Tradition was firmly
established in Europe before American
writers had made names for themselves.
 By the 19th century, Edgar Allan Poe,
Nathanial Hawthorne, Washington
Irving, and Herman Melville were using
the Gothic elements in their writing.
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
 At the ages of 13 and 14, Jacob
and Wilhelm move to Kassel.
 Both attend the University of
Marburg, at the ages of 17 and
 Studied law because it was
expected, not because they
wanted to.
 Being of lower social status because of the death
of their father, they were not treated equally.
 They were disqualified from admission because of
their social standing and had to request
dispensation to study law.
 The brothers were excluded even from tuition aid.
 Although their poverty kept them from student
activities or university social life, their outsider
status worked in their favor and they pursued
their studies with extra vigor.
 The Grimm brothers were said to have loved a
good story.
 Inspired by their law professor, Friedrich von
Savigny, who awakened in them an interest in
history and philology(study of history and
development of languages)
 The brothers turned to studying medieval
German literature.
 Began to collect folktales in the early 1800’s.
 Although the brothers gained a
reputation for collecting tales from
peasants, many tales came from
middle-class or aristocratic
 Wilhelm's wife and her family, with
their nursery maid, told the
brothers some of the more wellknown tales
 Others were collected from a
German Baron and his circle of
 While, several of the storytellers
were of Huguenot (French) ancestry.
 Publish first collection in 1812.
 Contains 86 folktales.
 Two years later, a second
volume is published.
 Adds 70 more folktales.
 In another two years, two
volumes of Deutsche Sagen is
 Cinderella
 Snow White
 Little Red Riding Hood
 Rapunzel
 Rumpelstiltskin
 Hansel and Gretel
 Sleeping Beauty
 more “kid friendly”
 stayed true to the
spoken legends.
 More morbid and grim
(pun intended).
 Violent themes . . .
 Doves peck out the eyes of Cinderella's Stepsisters
 Briar Rose’s (sleeping beauty) suitors bleed to death
outside of her castle
 The Queen in “Snow White” is forced to wear red-hot
iron slippers on her feet and dance until her death
 In “The Juniper Tree” a mother decapitates her son,
chops up his body, and feeds it to her husband in a
 In “Hansel and Gretel” the witch is thrown into her
own stove and is baked alive
 Leave behind the best
collection of German fairy
tales and folk legends of
the time.
 a fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm, as tale
no. 101.
 The main character of the German version is a
 The Americanized version of the story is set in rural
Virginia after the Civil War with the main character
being a desperate ex-Confederate soldier.
 The tale is a spin of the German Faust Legend. (We
will talk about this later)
 America's first international literary celebrity was
born in New York City.
 The eleventh child in a close-knit family.
 After writing satirical sketches and essays for his
brothers' newspapers for some years, Irving
captured the nation's attention with the fictitious
A History of New York, supposedly written by a
curious old gentleman named Diedrich
 In May 1815, Irving left the country for what would be a
seventeen-year stay in Europe, where he worked first
as an importer in Liverpool, then as an attaché
(ambassador) to the American legation in Spain, and
finally as secretary to the American legation in
 While living in Europe, Irving, studied European
folklore, including Faust and the Brothers Grimm.
 This research influenced his writing greatly.
 He, like other romantic writers, felt that folklore
contained the secret and primitive dreams of the
people and also intriguing elements of the
 His diverse works range from The Life and
Voyages of Christopher Columbus (1828) and The
Alhambra (1832), both written during his stay in
Spain, to A Tour of the Prairies (1835) and The
Adventures of Captain Bonneville U.S.A. (1837),
studies of the American West written on his
return from Europe, to a five-volume life of
George Washington and the famous short story
The Devil and Tom Walker taken from Tales of a
 Two of his best-known
stories are “Rip Van
Winkle” and “The Legend
of Sleepy Hollow,” both
appearing in The Sketch
Book of Geoffrey Crayon,
Gent. (1819-1820).
 These stories and others
like them provided
American legends and
helped shape an
American folklore.
 After returning to the U.S., Irving retired
at the age of 50.
 He settled on Sunnyside, his estate on
the bank of the Hudson River
 Continued writing including his
biographies of Columbus and
1. Irving is the first belletrist* in American literature,
writing for pleasure at a time when writing was
practical and for useful purposes.
2. He is the first American literary humorist.
3. He has written the first modern short stories.
4. He is the first to write history and biography as
5. He introduced nonfiction prose as a literary genre.
belles-lettres - writings that are valued for their
elegance and aesthetic qualities rather than for
any human interest or moral or instructive
Irving’s stories are known for:
 Recasting German folk tales or Spanish legends
into Dutch colonial settings
 picturesque color
 human richness
 polished style
 detailed description
 satire
Washington Irving
 Setting: Set in New England area near Boston
in the early eighteenth century (1700s).
 A narrator relates a story he has heard about a
local man’s dealings with the devil.
 The narrator never claims that the stories are
true, only that they are widely believed.
 According to local legend, a treasure is buried
in a dark grove on an inlet outside of Boston.
 It is said that Kidd the Pirate left the treasure
under a gigantic tree and the devil himself
“presided at the hiding of the money, and took it
under his guardianship.”
 Since the pirate Kidd was sent back to England to
be hanged, no one has disturbed the treasure or
challenged the devil’s right to it.
 FOLK TALES – stories passed down by word of
mouth among the common people of a particular
culture that teach a lesson or express a general
truth about life; events are unrealistic and
characters are stereotyped
 SATIRE – Literature that exposes in order to
ridicule the vices or follies of people or societies.
 The main object of Washington Irving’s satire is
greedy people, especially those whose wealth is
ill-gotten or gained through the bad luck of
 Irving pokes fun at this type of person through his
exaggerated characterization of Tom and his wife.
 Allegory
 Many folktales are allegories
 Teach a moral lesson
 In allegories, characters and actions are symbolic of
larger conditions of human nature.
 The character of Old Scratch personifies evil or
 Tom Walker, an unscrupulous money-lender,
makes a pact with the devil and only later professes
religious beliefs.
 Through these actions, Tom represents hypocrisy,
which Irving shows will be punished.
 Point of View
 Narrated by Geoffrey Crayon, a
fictional character created by Irving.
 The first person narration adds to the
feeling the reader has of being told a
story in the oral tradition.
 Greed is one of the most important themes of “The
Devil and Tom Walker.” Making a deal with the
Devil—For what price?
 Hypocrisy is the act of preaching a certain belief,
religion or way of life, but not, in fact, holding
these same virtues oneself. This is evident
throughout the story.
 Moral Corruption: Though Tom Walker is
presented as an individual who has always been
morally corrupt, the action of “The Devil and Tom
Walker” presents how moral corruption breeds
more moral corruption, escalating to the greatest
corruption of all, a pact with the devil.
Irving Took the European literary
Themes we discussed earlier, and
gave them American settings:
In The Devil and Tom Walker,
Irving used Germany’s Faust
Legend as the basis for the work.
• The historical Georg Faust is a shadowy
character, probably lived c. 1480 – 1538.
• Faust seems to have been an astrologer and
alchemist of ill-repute.
 Faust was a Renaissance Man, one active in all
branches of arts and sciences; however, Faust
seems to have been more of a swindler than a
real scientist.
• The Faust Legend is a conglomeration of this
“character” and earlier medieval accounts of
wizards and sorcerers.
• The Faust Legend arose – about 70 years later
– as a loose collection of stories associated
with Faust passed down through Oral
• The one defining element of all versions of the
legend is the Pact with the Devil.
• An ancient idea, found in a number of classical and
medieval works.
• Faust fascinated Renaissance audiences
because his pact called into question the great
advances of the age – humanism, science, art,
and philosophy.
• Later versions of Faust legend appeared
throughout Europe and America.
• Every generation presents its own version of
the Faust legend, based upon their own
aspirations, desires and fears.
 Modern versions of Faust do not usually
punish Faust for seeking forbidden knowledge
and experience.
 Typically it is a tale about a man who sells his
soul to the devil for earthly benefits.
 Each retelling involves a person who trades his
soul for experience, knowledge, or treasure.
 Endings vary with the protagonist either,
 Doomed to failure, or
 Redeemed by virtues