New American Gothic

New American Gothic

New American Gothic

New American Gothic

Excerpt

Busily extroverted America has produced its quota of "Gothic" writers, the explorers of their own private worlds, who range from Charles Brockden Brown through Poe and up to the "newer" group which Irving Malin deals with in the present book: Truman Capote, James Purdy, Flannery O'Connor, John Hawkes, Carson McCullers, and J. D. Salinger. Mr. Malin doesn't emphasize causality; he makes no attempt to discover why these authors are what they are, but rather he takes them as they are and explores their tortuous inwardness in order to chart (his word) their characteristics and tendencies.

He does so, I think, to the profit of us all. He investigates the Gothic from a somewhat different angle than that of William Van O'Connor in his book in the Crosscurrents series, The Grotesque: An American Genre, and for the most part Mr. Malin deals with different authors than those Mr. O'Connor writes of. Mr. Malin is concerned with a specific small group, and when he finishes his charting of their work, he then provides an evaluation of it, about which more later.

In regard to Mr. Malin's lack of interest in the causal and in the sociological, it might be pointed out that while literature can often help us to understand certain features of a time and place, its truest function . . .

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