THE GOTHIC CRITIQUE OF U.S. EXPANSION
This project is still at the research and writing stage: While at the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, BYU, I completed a draft of my article on William J. Snelling's "A Night in the Woods" (1836) that I had also intended to use as the basis for a chapter in a book I was then working on. During that work, however, I located a number of stories that used gothic strategies to comment on the detrimental influences of U.S. expansionism, enough material to warrant a book-length exploration of that subject. If as literary scholar Alan Lloyd-Smith explains, “Gothic is in essence a reactionary form . . . , one that explores chaos and wrongdoing,” then writers and artists like George Catlin, Washington Irving, Herman Melville, Edgar Alan Poe, and others used the gothic to explore the consequences of expansionism that were too taboo or too traumatic to deal with directly.