THE EXPERT AS CHARACTER IN THE WORK OF LE FANU AND LOVECRAFT: SPIRITUALITY, EMPIRICISM, AND RATIONALITY
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractSheridan Le Fanu, operating within the Gothic genre, was instrumental in the development of the weird tale. Much of the criticism surrounding his work centers on the social anxiety created during the decline of the Protestant Ascendency in Ireland during the 19th century. This thesis includes the historical context of Le Fanu’s period, as well as a brief section containing an overview of the critical context this thesis seeks to add to. This work argues that Le Fanu’s output, particularly “Green Tea” and Uncle Silas, can be understood when examined from the perspective of the expert as character. It includes a discussion of the interaction between spirituality, empiricism, and rationality in his work. It seeks to explain how the supernatural elements within the narratives can be better understood by inspecting the interchange between the three. It also includes an examination of Le Fanu’s discrete impact on the weird tale genre by exploring the later representation of the expert in the descendent work of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Whisperer in Darkness. The way that the expert functions in the narratives is then an indication of the gradual evolution of the Gothic genre and the emergence and continuation of the weird tale.
Degree ProgramHonors College