Occasionally, I stumble on an idea that really excites me. This would be a fortuitous occurrence to combat mid-day lethargy, but for better or worse, I’ve become perhaps irrevocably nocturnal. As such, it’s two in the morning, and re-reading sections of Paradise Lost for the upcoming candidacy exam has yielded a level of excitement about pondering the nature of evil – indeed, writing an essay completely committed to the topic of evil, which seems appropriate for a horror blog. And the excitement is difficult to contain. Really, I’m not exaggerating. I even thought maybe dissecting literary depictions of evil would be good fodder for a doctoral dissertation, which brought further almost uncomfortable fervor. So, I started pacing around frantically, then I decided to settle on the couch for a ten-minute meditation, to calm down and focus. I have learned, especially under the right circumstances, that I am a person who feels very strong emotions. In any case, the idea tonight is to harness those emotions into a writing product, one of my atypical miscellaneous essays for this blog, a piece of writing not tied to one particular work of art. Who knows – such meanderings may even help me shape the dissertation I need to start writing in about two years. As usual, then, I’m using whoever might be misguided enough to read my thoughts for my own academic purposes. To that end, thanks for your time. Continue reading “3 A.M. Thoughts on Evil”
I admit, it’s been a long time since I’ve talked about Poe on this blog. And while I’ve discussed two of his short stories (The Masque of the Red Death and The Black Cat), I’ve never dealt with his poetry on Just Dread-full before. In fact, I haven’t read his poetry (or, you know, his Poe-etry), in quite some time, and I certainly haven’t read it all. I was consulting my mental rolodex of Poe poems that I have read, with the aid of a little online research, but I wasn’t finding “the right one” to write about today. Then it occurred to me – something I always try to remember with this blog – that horror is an expansive category that includes many works of art that don’t mirror our contemporary definition of horror (for example, I’ve been wanting to explore some of the earliest Gothic novels for a while, but haven’t done so yet.) As such, I decided to write about Poe’s poem, “Dream Within a Dream.” This poem is fascinating because, if one really grapples with the implications and philosophical underpinnings of what Poe suggests, the prospect is, indeed, terrifying. On the other hand, the poem has a rich, sonorous voice and is mesmerizingly beautiful. To me, such a combination is both a phenomenal achievement and a hallmark of much of Poe’s poetry: The ability to leave us remarkably unsettled (and often sad) while producing a poem that is unusually aesthetically appealing. Continue reading “The Just Dread-Full Poetry Corner: The Understated Horror of “Dream Within A Dream””
Note: This is my 100th post on Just Dread-full! And for my happy 100, I’m going to write about one of my favorite filmmakers (M. Night Shyamalan) but I’ll be exploring more spiritual themes than usual (because this particular film demands it). So, here it goes—spoilers involved!