Criticism: Major Authors In Southern Gothic Literature - Essay

Alfred Appel Jr. (essay date 1965)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Appel, Alfred, Jr. “The Grotesque and the Gothic.” In A Season of Dreams: The Fiction of Eudora Welty, pp. 73-103. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1965.

[In the following essay, Appel distinguishes between grotesque and gothic elements in American fiction, using the works of Eudora Welty as examples of an author who successfully uses the grotesque to expound on themes of social and individual displacement while instilling a sense of compassion and hope in the reader.]

The grotesque and Gothic have always been major modes in American fiction and popular culture, from Brockden Brown to Paul Bowles, from frontier humor to W. C. Fields. Perhaps...

(The entire section is 13645 words.)

Max Putzel (essay date fall 1971)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Putzel, Max. “What Is Gothic about Absalom, Absalom!Southern Literary Journal 4, no. 1 (fall 1971): 3-19.

[In the following essay, Putzel presents an overview of Absalom, Absalom! examining several gothic elements in the work as techniques used by Faulkner to create a vision of the American past that conveys decay and decline while also providing the reader with a sense of lost greatness.]


During the second World War, when he was just setting out to build Faulkner's reputation into the national monument it has since become, Malcolm Cowley placed Absalom, Absalom! “in the realm of Gothic romances, with...

(The entire section is 6226 words.)

Bill Christophersen (essay date summer 1982)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Christophersen, Bill. “‘Jean-ah Poquelin’: Cable's Place in Southern Gothic.” South Dakota Review 20, no. 2 (summer 1982): 55-66.

[In the following essay, Christophersen praises Cable for the success with which he appropriates the English gothic tradition to an American landscape, noting that he grounds the grotesquery of his story in the realism of the socio-economic reality of his country.]

Ernest Stone, in his article entitled “Usher, Poquelin, Miss Emily: The Progress of Southern Gothic,”1 renders a previous comparison between Poe's “The Fall of the House of Usher” and Faulkner's “A Rose For Emily”2 suddenly...

(The entire section is 4169 words.)

Ronald Schleifer (essay date 1993)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Schleifer, Ronald. “Rural Gothic: The Sublime Rhetoric of Flannery O'Connor.” In Frontier Gothic: Terror and Wonder at the Frontier in American Literature, edited by David Moden, Scott P. Sanders, and Joanne B. Karpinski, pp. 175-86. Cranbury, N.J.: Associated University Presses, 1993.

[In the following essay, Schliefer proposes that O'Connor effectively uses the backdrop of the rural South and combines it with elements of the supernatural to present a world of powerful possibilities in her fiction.]

There are two qualities that make fiction. One is the sense of mystery and the other is the sense of manners. You get manners from the...

(The entire section is 4954 words.)