Niesamowita Styria


The nineteenth century in the West was a period of intellectual and artistic fascination with the East, both distant and near: Asian and Eastern European. One of the regions that attracted the interest of Western Europeans was Styria, situated on the border separating Austria from Hungary and the Balkans, that is, the West from the East. Borderland cultural phenomena stimulate the imagination as much as exotic phenomena. Both disturb with their hybrid character, which results from the mixing of elements from familiar and alien cultures. With their duality and ambiguity, borderlands are the source of the uncanny, which in the Western literature of the nineteenth century became the basic ingredient of the Western image of the Styrian lands. Uncanny Styria was discovered by Basil Hall, a Scottish traveler who reported the impressions of his stay in this region in his 1830s travelogue Schloss Hainfeld; or, a Winter in Lower Styria. In the second half of the century, two Irishmen wrote about the uncanny Styrian borderland: Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu and Bram Stoker. Both associated Styria with vampirism: the former in the 1870s novella Carmilla, the latter in the 1890s short story Dracula’s Guest. The central thread that runs through all three texts is the decline of Styrian nobility. From Hall, it prompts expression of melancholy regret, accompanied by a sense of strangeness. In his work, the erosion of the culture of the nobility results from Styria’s isolated location in the borderlands, as well as the destructive influences of modernity. Le Fanu balances the regret with horror, related to a different interpretation of decline as cultural regression. In Stoker’s story, the terror intensifies with the sense that the regression that affects the province of Styria could extend to Western Europe.

Słowa kluczowe

Styria; literatura angielska; graniczność; niesamowitość; szlachta

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Opublikowane : 2019-07-04

Pająk, P. (2019). Niesamowita Styria. Prace Filologiczne. Literaturoznawstwo, (9(12) cz.1), 149-162.

Patrycjusz Pająk 
Uniwersytet Warszawski  Polska

Copyright (c) 2019 Patrycjusz Pająk

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