Herman Melville | Frederick C. Crews

This literature criticism consists of approximately 23 pages of analysis & critique of Herman Melville.
This section contains 14,558 words
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Critical Essay by James B. Twitchell

SOURCE: "'The Disease of the Last of the Ushers': Incest in Nineteenth-Century American Culture," in Forbidden Partners: The Incest Taboo in Modern Culture, Columbia University Press, 1987, pp. 185-219.

In the following essay, Twitchell examines the incest taboo in the context of a developing American social order, which chronologically coincided with the rise of the gothic novel.

Thus the basic question becomes: Why, by and large, don't human beings like it [incest] much? Why, in the vast majority of societies, do they take some trouble, however vague, to discourage incestuous unions, even though most human beings are probably not going to indulge in such unions? … Unease and avoidance seem to be the common denominators—not fierce desire held in check by even fiercer sanctions or lust reined in by the power of taboo. The universal root phenomenon...

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This section contains 14,558 words
(approx. 49 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Brook Thomas