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The Tortured Artist - Gothic Witchcraft

About The Tortured Artist

Previous Entry The Tortured Artist May. 11th, 2004 @ 12:52 pm Next Entry
The Tortured Artist

Image (Male): Well-dressed gentleman, alternates with overly sensual libertine who engages in transgressive sexual practices including homosexuality.

Image (Female): Well-educated bluestocking who thumbs her nose at societal rules, also engages in transgressive sexual roles that betray the “good wife and mother” image.

Power: Transgression, transformation, stifled potential, breaking repression, rebellion

Symbology: Separation and individuation from societal expectations through the deliberate adoption of the taboo and ostracism.


Lord Byron
Mary Wollstonecroft Shelly
Percy Shelley
Bram Stoker
Oscar Wilde


Literary orgasm avoids the dangers of homosexual sex: in Stoker’s words, “public ignominy, police interference, or the reproaches of conscience.” As in the “Eugene Aram” scene, when Stoker “outwardly…was of stone,” Stoker here ‘sit[s] quite still”. In both erotic climaxes, he plays the motionless recipient while another man’s word pours into him. In these two scenes, we see the characteristic structuring of Stoker’s erotic fantasy – that it is precisely the presence of a ‘fantasy.’ A poem, narrative, (or perhaps a horror novel?) that gives him pleasure.

Shelley was a free love advocate. He fell in love with Mary (much to the chagrin of her anarchist father, William Godwin, who reminded her that Shelley was already married). Mary and Percy Shelley lived together, often traveling with the emotionally needy Claire, half-sister of Mary.

Byron and his half-sister Augusta were indeed lovers and it's implied in "Gothic" that Byron's dark sexuality somehow killed her. According to what I've read, it was more Byron's oblivion to money matters that killed his sister. Well--that and worry. She worried that something would come out about the two of them and she'd be left holding the bag in England while he was off traveling the world.

They [the Shelleys and Byron] told ghost stories at night. Mary Shelley went on to write the unmatched "Frankenstein." Dr. Polidori, Byron's doctor/companion who was present at the time, went on to write "The Vampyre," a story directly inspired by Byron's tales. (Dr. Polidori was artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti's great uncle on his mother's side.)
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Date:May 12th, 2004 09:21 am (UTC)
I don't know my dates well, but I'm guessing Baudelaire falls here as well. Is that correct?

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Date:May 12th, 2004 05:52 pm (UTC)
Yes. He fell earlier than some of the authors I've been looking at, but they were very late in the period. Baudelaire falls earlier, but still well within it.
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Date:May 12th, 2004 10:24 pm (UTC)

Poet Paintings

The Young Poet by Arthur Hughes

Portrait of Rosetti by William Hunt

Tennyson by John Everett Millais.

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Date:May 13th, 2004 05:58 am (UTC)

Re: Poet Paintings

You're so good to us. :) Thank you!
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