My own approach to literary problems is very like the one Dr. These are not times when writers in this country can very well speak for one another.
Like drivers passing the scene of an accident, our heads turn. We are inescapably drawn to disasters and especially the moment of death. What now saturates our culture can be traced back to the advent of photography in the 19th century and especially to the work of Alexander Gardner during the Civil War.
Gardner took his camera and darkroom out to the battlefields and created a visual record of the bodies and blasted landscapes of modern war. Once disseminated, these shocking photographs contributed to vast changes in the society and culture of the United States, not least by breaking down the restriction over what it was permissible or proper to be seen.
In the fall ofAlexander Gardner, scenting a commercial opportunity, took his camera out to a battlefield near Sharpsburg, Maryland, and made the photographs that became known as The Dead at Antietam. The emphasis was clearly on the documentary truth of the photographs and how that truth then impacted Northern culture, including not just its art and literature, but its emotions and habits of feeling.
Historians from Edmund Wilson to Drew Gilpin Faust have charted the way that the Civil War was a watershed in the transformation in American culture, in everything from the way we write to mourning rituals.
The photographs were also the beginnings of the visual macabre that has become a staple of popular and underground culture to this day. The photographs, as part of their association with magic, appealed to the sensations, including the psychological appeal of the macabre, the grotesque, and the uncanny.
The photographs were transgressive, not just in the sense that combat fatalities could damage morale the U. People wanted—and still want—to be shocked. When Gardner dragged a Confederate corpse at Gettysburg out of the burial line and artfully arranged the body into a tableau about the dead Rebel sharpshooter, he was creating a melodramatic storyline that would be instantly familiar to an American audience steeped in the popular literature of the Gothic, of Poe and even of dark fairy tales.
Even the rocky landscape and the enclosed cranny was redolent of Gothic architecture. Yet this horror could still be managed by fitting it into familiar cultural formats.
Intellectually and figuratively in his arrangement of the corpse, Gardner was trying to compartmentalize reaction in familiar terms even as the reality of the casualties at Gettysburg made that task impossible. The genie was out of the bottle. But there is another, less easily measured, reaction to the casualty photographs that takes them beyond rationality and connects them with our own age: Weinberg Lincoln Conspirators Collection The photographs are sensational—in the original usage of the word.
Gardner had exclusive rights to photograph the executions and his series of images shows the ritual of official death from the reading of the death sentences to the bodies swinging beneath the gallows. Rationally, the photographs were news and they also were an official record that justice had been done—and was documented for a public excluded from the hangings for security purposes.
So the photographic evidence exists at several different levels of intention. Photography vastly increased our field of vision, giving the audience access to what had been hidden, repressed, or thought to be taboo. The show will be on view through March 13, Flannery O’Connor (March 25, –August 3, ) is among the titans of twentieth-century literature (in addition to being a lesser-known satirical cartoonist).
In , O’Connor penned an essay titled “Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction,” eventually included in the.
Jonathan Jones: Diabolically grotesque art – from Jonathan Payne’s sprouting finger sculptures right back to Hieronymus Bosch – has staying power. As .
Mar 13, · The Grotesque is both an artistic and literary term, and is a bit difficult to describe, as it is less of a solid definition, and more of a range between a number of different qualities. The Grotesque is primarily concerned about the distortion and transgression of boundaries,be they physical boundaries between two objects, psychological boundaries, or anything in caninariojana.coms: 7. Grotesque: Grotesque, in architecture and decorative art, fanciful mural or sculptural decoration involving mixed animal, human, and plant forms. The word is derived from the Italian grotteschi, referring to the grottoes in which these decorations were found c. during the excavation of Roman houses such. The photographs, as part of their association with magic, appealed to the sensations, including the psychological appeal of the macabre, the grotesque, and the uncanny.
Flannery O'Connor wrote, "Whenever I'm asked why Southern writers particularly have a penchant for writing about freaks, I say it is because we are still able to recognize one" ("Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction", ). The photographs, as part of their association with magic, appealed to the sensations, including the psychological appeal of the macabre, the grotesque, and the uncanny.
The grotesque in modern art was heightened by the real-life horrors of the first world war.
It is at the heart of dada and surrealism. We will write a custom essay sample on How and Why Is the Grotesque Used in Tennessee Williams’ a Streetcar Named Desire specifically for you for only $ $/page Order now.