Why the South?
Is there more grotesque written in or about southern literature? In this research paper, I will try to define and explain the reasons I see more grotesque in the south as opposed to the rest of the nation and elsewhere. To understand the gothic and the grotesque, I will use an historical analogy to support my argument and yet I will attempt to predict where I see the grotesque is going in the next century in our southern society.
What is the grotesque? In our class discussions we didn’t have a set definition of grotesque, but merely a set of elements that could explain grotesque. Some elements included: disharmony (things that don’t belong together), the comic and the terrifying, unresolved class of incompatibilities, ambivalently abnormal, etc. We generally accept a definition that is somewhere between the comic and the disturbing.
When trying to defend or even find the word grotesque in an historical analogy, it can become very challenging since the word itself is a fairly recent term. The word grotesque appeared in art in the Renaissance era as grottesche and was used mostly as fantasy, not the literary meaning we think of today. The book On the Grotesque, explains it best as saying “it is possible to compile history, if not of the grotesque, at least of the documents that discuss it. But there is no historical certainty to be won by doing so, for these documents consist largely of statements relating the grotesque to such touchstone, but historically inconstant concepts as reality or nature (Harpham 18).”
Gothic is sometimes associated in the origin of the term “grotesque”. I feel it is very interesting to note that the term “gothic” didn’t appear anywhere in any English dictionaries until the late eighteenth century. According to The Gothic Fiction in the American Magazines, stated that “Gothic, a term used at the present time, appeared in neither the 1755 nor 1785 edition of A Dictionar...