jueves, 13 de marzo de 2014

p/OE & Co.

Poe and Hawthorne, two of the most prominent writers on the field of Fantasy, have more points in common than only the fact that the first wrote about the second with contained admiration, reviewing the work of his colleague and pointing at its quality and importance.

We can see both of them as Dark Romantics influenced by the Transcendentalist movement of their times. We find in the contents of their stories an emphasis in psychological issues, reflections on evilness, destiny, personal trauma, exploration of the unknown, and a deep questioning about the sense of things/life.

However, we see a few differences too, definitive and significant. Probably, most of them comes from the fact that Hawthorne is more influenced by religion/Puritanism; while the ideas behind Poe’s work, even if he is equally influenced by the main ideas/spirituality of his times, have perhaps a more Universal philosophical background.

Using the omniscient narration in his main works (I am thinking of The Scarlet Letter, actually), Hawthorne manages to gives a guide of what he is trying to say from a moral perspective, he judges characters and clears certain situations up. Poe by his part uses more the first-person point of view, to put us inside the characters and so to emphasise the individual emotions they experiment. Subjectivity and ambiguity have the leading role, obtaining as a result more subtle and disturbing stories.

It is ironic how departing from a pretended Universal point of view, Hawthorne offers a narration given from a very specific point of view (Puritanism), while departing from a certain subjectivism, Poe managed to communicate universal emotions. Probably that is the reason why, even being Hawthorne a much respected writer, today Poe has more fame and respect. We could say that from today's perspective, Hawthorne was one of the biggest American Dark Romantic writers of his time, while Poe was the biggest.

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