This week we caught up with Patrick Wohlscheid, a Senior majoring in English and Philosophy! Patrick and his mentor, Dr. Tim Carens, received a SURF 2021 Grant to study the work of Arthur Machen, a lesser-known late Victorian writer, and particularly his 1894 novella The Great God Pan.
“While many other Victorian Gothic stories are clear and explicit about where monstrosity can be found, Machen uses deliberate modes of obscurity to challenge the visibility of monstrosity, making it difficult to locate, define, or interpret. Drawing on Machen’s work, the writings of 18th century philosopher Edmund Burke, and contemporary criticism on the Gothic, I attempt to explain how the category of obscurity sets Machen’s work apart from other Victorian Gothic texts, ” Patrick shared.
Patrick’s favorite part of his project was “being able to read such a wide variety of Gothic fiction, encountering in their early popularization many of the monsters we consider essential cultural figures today, from mummies and vampires to murderous villains and ancient spirits.”
“Besides learning a lot more about Victorian literature and being immersed in the field, I think that this project helped further develop my skills as a writer and critic, as well as giving me the chance to think of the intersections of philosophy and literature I hope that readers of my work come away with a more nuanced picture of monstrosity in Victorian literature and see the value in exploring the work of lesser-known literary figures,” Patrick added.
Attached is a photo from Patrick’s project. Thank you to Patrick for sharing your SURF 2021 experience!