Gothic Romance

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By David Morse

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Additional info for American Romanticism: Volume 1: From Cooper to Hawthorne

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Dickens felt that the press had become too powerful and that the need to satisfy, cajole and placate such influential organs on the part of those seeking office completely destroyed the integrity of political life: When any man, of any grade of desert in intellect or character, can climb to any public distinction, no matter what, in America, without first grovelling down upon the earth, and bending the knee before this monster of depravity; when any private excellence is safe from its attacks; when social confidence is left unbroken by it, or any tie of social decency and honour is held in the least regard; when any man in that free Introduction: America and the Excessive 21 country has freedom of opinion, and presumes to think for himself, and speak for himself, without humble reference to a censorship which, for its rampant ignorance and base dishonesty, he utterly loathes and despises in his heart; when those who most acutely feel its infamy and the reproach it casts upon the nation, and who most denounce it to each other, dare to set their heels upon, and crush it openly, in the sight of all men: then, I will believe its influence is lessening, and the men are returning to their manly senses.

It was low, and so obscured by the colour of the materials, that but for its roof, and the glittering of a window, it must have escaped her notice. Fenimore Cooper 35 While yet lost in the astonishment created by discovering a habitation in such a spot, on moving her eyes she perceived another object that increased her wonder. It apparently was a human figure, but of singular mould and unusual deformity. (p. 315) It is thus as if Frances has been vouchsafed a vision and through her receptivity is brought to a deeper understanding of the revolutionary drama and Harvey's part in it.

Newspapers did not hesitate to employ the most virulent and defamatory abuse. Dickens felt that the press had become too powerful and that the need to satisfy, cajole and placate such influential organs on the part of those seeking office completely destroyed the integrity of political life: When any man, of any grade of desert in intellect or character, can climb to any public distinction, no matter what, in America, without first grovelling down upon the earth, and bending the knee before this monster of depravity; when any private excellence is safe from its attacks; when social confidence is left unbroken by it, or any tie of social decency and honour is held in the least regard; when any man in that free Introduction: America and the Excessive 21 country has freedom of opinion, and presumes to think for himself, and speak for himself, without humble reference to a censorship which, for its rampant ignorance and base dishonesty, he utterly loathes and despises in his heart; when those who most acutely feel its infamy and the reproach it casts upon the nation, and who most denounce it to each other, dare to set their heels upon, and crush it openly, in the sight of all men: then, I will believe its influence is lessening, and the men are returning to their manly senses.

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