Dark Romanticism in Contemporary Popular Literature: Selected Issues Cover Image

Czarny romantyzm we współczesnej literaturze popularnej. Wybrane zagadnienia
Dark Romanticism in Contemporary Popular Literature: Selected Issues

Author(s): Dorota Dobrzyńska
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies, Studies of Literature, Polish Literature
ISSN: 1234-9852
Published by: Instytut Slawistyki Polskiej Akademii Nauk
Keywords: Dark Romanticism; popular literature; Gothicism; Polish fantasy literature; crime fiction; young adult fiction; Romantic tradition; 20th/21st century
Summary/Abstract: This book discusses the influence of so-called Dark Romanticism on contemporary popular literature, foreign as well as Polish. Its starting point is the opinion, voiced by some Polish scholars, that in today’s Poland, there is a need for a reinterpretation of Romanticism. Over the years, it was associated mainly with patriotic issues and with many stereotypes. Nowadays, however, it has been increasingly treated as an aesthetic phenomenon rather than connected with political and historiosophical questions. This change also makes it possible to consider Romanticism not only as a closed period in the history of literature and art but also as a style still present in literary works. Useful here is the concept of Dark Romanticism, a literary and art movement (mainly American and West European), whose features include: gloomy atmosphere, mysterious characters who unveil the secrets of their existence, motifs connected with death, melancholy and insanity, and references to folklore and fairy tales. In the recent years, elements of Dark Romanticism have been appearing in popular literature and culture, which means that – interpreted as a style – it still remains valid. The book’s aim is to analyse how motifs characteristic of Dark Romanticism function in contemporary popular literature, Polish and European. The discussed examples are: the “young adult” novels of Carlos Ruiz Zafón; the short story “Whispering Wind” by Frederick Forsyth and the novel “Krew na placu Lalek” [Blood on Dolls Square] by Krzysztof Kotowski; Polish fantasy literature – the cycles of short stories by Andrzej Sapkowski (“Ostatnie życzenie” [The Last Wish], “Miecz przeznaczenia” [The Sword of Destiny]) and Anna Kańtoch (“Diabeł na wieży” [The Devil on the Tower], “Zabawki diabła” [Devil’s Toys]); and crime fiction referring to the aesthetics of Dark Romanticism – “The Wisdom of the Dead” by Rodolfo Martínez and “Jul” by Paweł Goźliński. The analyses prove that elements of Dark Romanticism are present in contemporary popular literature, which seems to be especially significant in Poland, where the attitude towards Romanticism has recently been changing. It is also claimed that not only should the reception of Dark Romanticism in contemporary literature be further analysed but it is likewise important to pay more attention to the problem of Polish reception of Dark Romanticism in the nineteenth century, as this may render novel interpretations of some works that could shed a new light on Polish Romanticism.

  • E-ISBN-13: 978-83-66369-00-9
  • Page Count: 258
  • Publication Year: 2020
  • Language: Polish