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”Skönhet är skräck”; Det sublima i Donna Tartts Den Hemliga Historien
Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education.
2018 (Swedish)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The aim of this essay is to examine how Donna Tartt’s The Secret History expresses the sublime experience and what its’ primary function is in the novel. The essay begins with discussing the concept of the sublime through a historical perspective, connecting primarily to Edmund Burke’s ideas and further contrasting them with the feminist criticism of Kristina Fjelkestam. A critical aspect of this study is to examine the notion of terror in the definitions of the sublime and to analyze how Tartt incorporates it into the story by introducing the theme “beauty is terror”, in the beginning of the novel. The essay introduces different techniques used to express this terror, and simultaneously touches upon gothic conventions – such as sublime nature – as well as the postmodern convention of “the unpresentable”, put forward by Jean-Francois Lyotard. This leads to a minor presentation of gothic-postmodernism – a fairly new genre which highlights similarities in the terror experience of the French Revolution and the one we experience from terrorism and media in the modern world.

Further, the essay wants to demonstrate how Tartt uses Friedrich Nietzsche’s idea of the Apollonian and Dionysian – how it is concretely embedded in the storyline but also how it functions as a theme throughout the novel, expressing not only a Nietzschean philosophy but also using this dichotomy to further establish a sublime expression.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 25
Keywords [en]
sublime, terror, apollonian, dionysian
National Category
General Literature Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-38227OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-38227DiVA, id: diva2:1319174
Subject / course
Comparative Literature
Uppsok
Humanities, Theology
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-06-03 Created: 2019-05-29 Last updated: 2019-06-03Bibliographically approved

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General Literature Studies

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • harvard-anglia-ruskin-university
  • apa-old-doi-prefix.csl
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf