Segments in this Video

Future Shock (03:00)


Experts describe the backdrop to which the American Gothic writers emerged. The country changes at a rapid pace.

Nathaniel Hawthorne (03:00)

American Gothic writing in the 1820s and 1830s are a reflection of the country's challenges and uncertainties. Hawthorne, a descendant of puritans, was born in 1804. He confronted his past in "Young Goodman Brown" and "The Scarlet Letter."

Absolute Faith (02:01)

Priscilla Wald describes Hawthorne's interest in Puritanism. Emory Elliott believes that Hawthorne was suspicious of anything that claimed to be an absolute.

Herman Melville (03:32)

Hawthorne influenced Melville's work; hear an excerpt from "Hawthorne and His Mosses." Experts describe the meaning of the white whale.

Melville's Early Years (03:13)

Melville was born to a wealthy family in 1819; the family fell into debt after his father's death. Melville spent his youth at sea. Elliott calls "Moby Dick" a turning point in Melville's writing.

What is America? (02:06)

Moby Dick is a commentary on the changes in America. Elliott describes the different people aboard the Pequod.

Emily Dickinson (03:37)

Hear a reading of "There's a Certain Slant of Light." Dickinson was born in 1830, and rarely left her hometown of Amherst, Massachusetts. Experts describe the ambiguity of her writing.

Dickinson's Dash (03:42)

Listen to a youth choir sing "He Fumbles At Your Soul." Wald explains that Dickinson breaks with the formal conventions of poetry.

Deep Uncertainty (01:11)

Nathanial Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Emily Dickinson capture an era recovering from the Civil War. Experts share final thoughts on the works of the writers.

Credits: Gothic Undercurrents—American Passages: A Literary Survey (00:58)

Credits: Gothic Undercurrents—American Passages: A Literary Survey

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Gothic Undercurrents—American Passages: A Literary Survey

Part of the Series : American Passages: A Literary Survey
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



What was haunting the American nation in the 1850s? The three writers treated in this program — Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Emily Dickinson — use poetry and prose to explore the dark side of nineteenth-century America

Length: 28 minutes

Item#: BVL113247

Copyright date: ©2003

Closed Captioned

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