Philadelphia Gothic, the Crucible of American Horror

Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at 6:00 PM

Philadelphia was more than just the birthplace of American democracy and independence. From the country’s inception, writers from this city were just as interested in the nightmares inherent in our revolutionary society. While Early Republic Philadelphia was a city of high culture in the arts, sciences, publishing and government, inside the cradle of liberty lurked a darkness and it found its expression in Philadelphia Gothic. In his novels, Charles Brockden Brown rose as the first significant practitioner of this new take on the traditional European Gothic. Across the decades of the ante-bellum period, as Philadelphia became of city of continuing violence and unrest, authors George Lippard and Edgar Allan Poe explored the monsters beneath the surface of William Penn’s Holy Experiment. This fascinating look at how these early Philadelphian authors imagined our collective nightmares will be followed by a cemetery tour that features some of the authors and associates of the tradition of Philadelphia Gothic.

About the Speaker

Edward G. Pettit is the Philly Poe Guy and his work on Poe has garnered national attention and resulted in several Poe-themed events, from literary debates to full-scale dramatic productions, and has been featured on television, radio and in print, including the New York Times. Pettit is the Sunstein Manager of Public Programs at The Rosenbach where he is teaching a course on Philadelphia Gothic in Spring 2019.

This talk will take place on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at 6 pm, meeting at Laurel Hill Cemetery’s Gatehouse located at 3822 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19132. Free parking is located directly across the street from Gatehouse.

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