Heroes and Monsters: The Southern Gothic in Poe, Faulkner, and Williams

  • Ahmed Honeini (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk


A talk given at a RHUL English dept. lunchtime research meeting, organised by Professor Judith Hawley.

Abstract: This paper charts the history and development of the Southern Gothic through three key works of the genre: “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe, “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner, and "Suddenly Last Summer" by Tennessee Williams.

I begin by charting scholarly discussions of the Southern Gothic (beginning with Ellen Glasgow’s influential 1935 essay 'Heroes and Monsters', before turning to David Punter, Fred Botting, and Charles L. Crow). Intentionally borrowing from Glasgow’s title, my argument is that, in the works explored herein, the distinction between heroism and monstrosity is intentionally blurred and indistinguishable: Roderick Usher, Emily Grierson, and Sebastian Venable are each the ostensible “heroes” of their respective works, but their actions, often driven by profoundly disturbed mental and emotional states, inevitably cause them to become monstrous and villainous.
Period26 Mar 2019
Held atDepartment of English