Orientalism

Question 1: The references to Orientalism in the story are numerous. Gautier uses colors associated with Orientalism throughout his work: red, green, white, silver, and gold. Each of these colors are the foundation of a symbolism of colors in Clarimonde. This is particularly notable in the descriptions of Clarimonde, with her green eyes, her red lips (with red drops of blood), her white skin, her silver voice, her green and gold traveling gown. What is the significance of this Orientalism? How does it relate to notions of difference and otherness? Question 2: Discuss the role of sickness in the novel. Victor often seems to fall ill after traumatic events. Is this a means of escape, and, if so, is it effective? What might be the psychological implications of this? Is there another explanation for his recurring illness? Question 3: De Sade’s tales in this module utilize Gothic conventions. He combine Romance and horror, employing several Gothic tropes for dramatic purposes. There is blood, banditti, corpses, and, of course, insatiable lust. An example is “Eugenie de Franval”, a tale of incest and retribution. How does he challenge conventional moralities in his portrayal of erotic cruelties and moral ironies that dominate this work? Question 4: Think about utopia. What does it mean? “Nowhere.” How would you relate the idea of nowhere to our readings in Romanticism and in particular to Wagner’s “Flying Dutchman”? Is there an element of nihilism in her ‘suicide’? Is nihilism then connected to utopia? But on the other hand, utopia is not ‘here,’ but ‘over there.’ On the other side of life, so to speak, it is the absolute otherness, everything that is ‘not yet.’ Hence, it is also hope and freedom. What do you think? Question 5:Because the uncanny is familiar, yet strange, it often creates creative dissonance in the reader’s mind due to the paradoxical nature of being attracted to, yet repulsed by an object at the same time. Whoa. Read that one again. Repulsion and attraction at the same time? How can that be? Aren’t they opposed concepts? How can contradictions be united in Romanticism?

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