Guide Mad Man of the Mountain (Gothic Classics)

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A masterpiece for any time of the year. Free at Project Gutenburg, or treat yourself to the smart Folio Society edition.

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Not generally classed as Gothic literature, being written far too early and also being a play. Perhaps THE Gothic classic. Available free at Project Gutenburg, but I would be tempted to splash out on this amazing Folio Society edition, myself…. It may not have the best characters, or the best writing style.

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So why is it no. Although the main plot of the story centres around the corruption of the monk Ambrosio, there are a great many diversions offering so much for fans of the Gothic. How the book barely got away with it in the tender year of is something of a mystery. Finally, did I mention that this book was written in 10 weeks, when Lewis was only 19 years old?

Just bear that in mind as you read it…. Share On facebook Share On facebook Share. Share On vk Share On vk Share. Share On lineapp Share On lineapp. In that case, the cowboy looks are less surprising as the film takes place in Texas, but the mystery surrounding the character and the absence of information regarding his background make him almost unreal.

The continuous movement of the Frontier throughout the 19th century made the theme of the wanderer an obvious choice for Western novelists, whose works seem to have influenced the Coens as much as the hard-boiled novels of Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and James M. This process of hybridization has become their trademark as directors.

Contrary to a lot of directors, they have always been sensitive to the process of writing films before making them. Although his filmmaking career has always overshadowed his passion for writing, the younger brother Ethan is a published writer. He seeks assistance from a more experienced writer, W.

Mayhew John Mahoney , a provocative depiction of William Faulkner as a Southern gentleman with the behavior of a Texan drunkard. Among many other stories, he explains how the Southern writer never really fitted in the Hollywood crowd and went through several periods of severe depression until Jack Warner finally cut him loose.

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The first sequence establishes a discrepancy between the East and the West coasts, Broadway being considered as highbrow culture and Hollywood as lowbrow in the s. The transition to California is made through a very long dissolve showing a rock hit by the waves on a Californian beach gradually unveiling Barton as he stands in the dark lobby of a seedy hotel where most of the action will take place.

Incidentally, Hollywood is portrayed as an enclosed setting but a sequence alluding to the South, featuring Mayhew and Audrey on a picnic lunch with Barton, shows a recreation of what resembles a Southern landscape in books, green and sunny with a light breeze.

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The old author ends up leaving the table and drinks himself to death, singing a traditional melancholy Southern tune, Old Black Joe Stephen Foster, , as if he were denouncing the fate of black slaves as his own. In the film, the West California has become a hellish place where supposedly sophisticated writers are damned, strangely echoing what the two directors strive to avoid in real life.

These smarter, frustrated individuals are trapped in a conflicting situation in which they see themselves as victims. However, as the author craftily shows, in reality they are all failures, ineffectual creatures who have deluded themselves in thinking that they know something, possess something, or can achieve something. On top of being a crook, he represents a potential threat that could be related to the Gothic roots of the wanderer. The Jewish origin of the character might just be a coincidence — although it is unlikely coming from the Coens, given their own Jewish background and the recurrent allusions to Jewish culture in almost all their films.

The character of Bernie inaugurates a pattern which consists in including a wanderer in each of their films. As a matter of fact, Barton Fink is also a declination of the wandering Jew condemned to a lifetime in Hollywood, tied by a contract to a movie mogul who owns him as Jack Warner owned Faulkner. Oh Muse! Sing in me, and tell the story Of that man skilled in all the ways of contending, A wanderer, harried for years on end…. In the 19th century American writings, there was a good deal of grotesque literature which came from the Frontier and was supposed to be funny; but our present grotesque characters, comic though they may be, are at least not primarily so.

His scary physical appearance is in keeping with his complete lack of compassion and his cruelty to harmless Delmar. He offers a good demonstration of his sadism in one of the most memorable sequences of the film, when he crushes a frog — that is supposed to be Pete — in his bare hands, making a squishy sound recalling that of a bottle of Ketchup being squeezed.

He never takes his mirrored-sunglasses off and keeps chasing his preys, day and night, with his bloodhound that, like psychopomp animals in Gothic novels, seems to be omniscient. The child was early taught to find most of his entertainment within himself, and when he did not, he was whipped. He had no playmates and few toys. His chief story-book was the Bible, which he read many times from cover to cover at his mother's knee.

His father, the "perfectly honest wine-merchant," seems to have been the one to foster the boy's aesthetic sense; he was in the habit of reading aloud to his little family, and his son's apparently genuine appreciation of Scott, Pope, and Homer dates from the incredibly early age of five. It was his father, also, to whom he owed his early acquaintance with the finest landscape, for the boy was his companion in yearly business trips about Britain, and later visited, in his parents' company, Belgium, western Germany, and the Alps.

All this of course developed the child's precocity. He was early suffered and even encouraged to compose verses; [2] by ten he had written a play, which has unfortunately been preserved. The hot-house rearing which his parents believed in, and his facility in teaching himself, tended to make a regular course of schooling a mere annoyance; such schooling as he had did not begin till he was fifteen, and lasted less than two years, and was broken by illness.

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  4. But the chief effect of the sheltered life and advanced education to which he was subjected was to endow him with depth at the expense of breadth, and to deprive him of a possibly vulgar, but certainly healthy, contact with his kind, which, one must believe, would have checked a certain disposition in him to egotism, sentimentality, and dogmatic vehemence. At Oxford—whither his cautious mother pursued him—Ruskin seems to have been impressed in no very essential manner by curriculum or college mates.

    With learning per se he was always dissatisfied and never had much to do; his course was distinguished not so much by erudition as by culture. He easily won the Newdigate prize in poetry; his rooms in Christ Church were hung with excellent examples of Turner's landscapes,—the gift of his art-loving father,—of which he had been an intimate student ever since the age of thirteen.

    But his course was interrupted by an illness, apparently of a tuberculous nature, which necessitated total relaxation and various trips in Italy and Switzerland, where he seems to have been healed by walking among his beloved Alps.

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    For many years thereafter he passed months of his time in these two countries, accompanied sometimes by his parents and sometimes rather luxuriously, it seems, by valet and guide. Meanwhile he had commenced his career as author with the first volume of Modern Painters , begun, the world knows, as a short defense of Turner, originally intended for nothing more than a magazine article.

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    But the role of art-critic and law-giver pleased the youth,—he was only twenty-four when the volume appeared,—and having no desire to realize the ambition of his parents and become a bishop, and even less to duplicate his father's career as vintner, he gladly seized the opportunity thus offered him to develop his aesthetic vein and to redeem the public mind from its vulgar apathy thereby.

    He continued his work on Modern Painters , with some intermissions, for eighteen years, and supplemented it with the equally famous Seven Lamps of Architecture in , and The Stones of Venice in This life of zealous work and brilliant recognition was interrupted in by Ruskin's amazing marriage to Miss Euphemia Gray, a union into which he entered at the desire of his parents with a docility as stupid as it was stupendous.

    Five years later the couple were quietly divorced, that Mrs. Ruskin might marry Millais. All the author's biographers maintain an indiscreet reserve in discussing the affair, but there can be no concealment of the fact that its effect upon Ruskin was profound in its depression.

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    Experiences like this and his later sad passion for Miss La Touche at once presage and indicate his mental disorder, and no doubt had their share—a large one—in causing Ruskin's dissatisfaction with everything, and above all with his own life and work. Be this as it may, it is at this time in the life of Ruskin that we must begin to reckon with the decline of his aesthetic and the rise of his ethical impulse; his interest passes from art to conduct.

    It is also the period in which he began his career as lecturer, his chief interest being the social life of his age. By , he was publishing the papers on political economy, later called Unto this Last , which roused so great a storm of protest when they appeared in the Cornhill Magazine that their publication had to be suspended.

    The attitude of the public toward such works as these,—its alternate excitement and apathy,—the death of his parents, combined with the distressing events mentioned above, darkened Ruskin's life and spoiled his interest in everything that did not tend to make the national life more thoughtfully solemn. His lectures as Slade Professor of Art at Oxford, a post which he held at various times from to , failed to re-establish his undistracted interest in things beautiful.

    The complete triumph of the reformer over the art-critic is marked by Fors Clavigera , a series of letters to workingmen, begun New Year's Day, , in which it was proposed to establish a model colony of peasants, whose lives should be made simple, honest, happy, and even cultured, by a return to more primitive methods of tilling the soil and of making useful and beautiful objects. The Guild of St. George, established to "slay the dragon of industrialism," to dispose of machinery, slums, and discontent, consumed a large part of Ruskin's time and money.

    He had inherited a fortune of approximately a million dollars, and he now began to dispose of it in various charitable schemes,—establishing tea-shops, supporting young painters, planning model tenements, but, above all, in elaborating his ideas for the Guild.

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    The result of it all—whatever particular reforms were effected or manual industries established—was, to Ruskin's view, failure, and his mind, weakening under the strain of its profound disappointments, at last crashed in ruin. It is needless to follow the broken author through the desolation of his closing years to his death in Ruskin is often described as an author of bewildering variety, whose mind drifted waywardly from topic to topic—from painting to political economy, from architecture to agriculture—with a license as illogical as it was indiscriminating.

    To this impression, Ruskin himself sometimes gave currency. He was, for illustration, once announced to lecture on crystallography, but, as we are informed by one present, [5] he opened by asserting that he was really about to lecture on Cistercian architecture; nor did it greatly matter what the title was; "for," said he, "if I had begun to speak about Cistercian abbeys, I should have been sure to get on crystals presently; and if I had begun upon crystals, I should soon have drifted into architecture.

    And yet we cannot insist too often on the essential unity of this work, for, viewed in the large, it betrays one continuous development. The seeds of Fors are in The Stones of Venice. The book was dedicated to the principle that that art is greatest which deals with the greatest number of greatest ideas,—those, we learn presently, which reveal divine truth; the office of the painter, we are told, [6] is the same as that of the preacher, for "the duty of both is to take for each discourse one essential truth.

    A glance at the following pages of this book will show how Ruskin is for ever halting himself to demand the moral significance of some fair landscape, gorgeous painting, heaven-aspiring cathedral. In "Mountain Glory," for example, he refers to the mountains as "kindly in simple lessons to the workman," and inquires later at what times mankind has offered worship in these mountain churches; of the English cathedral he says, "Weigh the influence of those dark towers on all who have passed through the lonely square at their feet for centuries"; [7] of St. Mark's, "And what effect has this splendour on those who pass beneath it? Now it is clear that a student of the relation of art to life, of work to the character of the workman and of his nation, may, and in fact inevitably must, be led in time to attend to the producer rather than to the product, to the cause rather than to the effect; and if we grant, with Ruskin, that the sources of art, namely, the national life, are denied, it will obviously be the part, not only of humanity but of common sense, for such a student to set about purifying the social life of the nation.