Gothic means many things to different people. It’s a much overused term. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) and Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte) are two of the finest exemplars of the gothic novel – this much is received wisdom – but their evocation of the gothic ideal is as different as the shadow and stone.
I’ve often heard Howl and The Wasteland paired before, in the smokeless midnight air of alt-coffee urban popups, listening for free as a mumbling hipster reads them aloud, back-to-back, in the same reverent cadence and double bass rhythm and nobody listening to the words…
I don’t like it when English is used badly (or lazily) in ways that – for whatever reason – get accepted into normal everyday usage. It’s good when language grows but too often it’s a case of importing one word, at the price of losing others.
Compare and contrast of the ‘beat’ heavyweights Alan Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, the former destined to live long and popular, a fine intellectual force on the American scene, the latter doomed to die young and unhappy but undeniably a genius in the global pantheon.
Reality is parsed through the prism of storytelling. This can be beautiful, distilled intensity that’s emotional and compelling. It can be horrifying, focused on fears and misery. In all cases it’s occupying; it passes the day. Trouble is, the storytelling may have outlived its usefulness and what no doubt has driven homo sapiens to date may now be the recipe for our extinction.
I thought so much on growing old, Of those last angry steps. I once shook fists in impotence: Against mortality. And yet I find, as wrinkles spread, And life remains obscure, It isn’t fame or greying hairs, That move me, as I age. Nor is it thought of future naught, One day, myself, to be. […]