Southern Gothic

Cub Pilot

Senior Member
Regarded as one of the greatest American playwrights of the twentieth century, Tennessee Williams (Thomas Lanier Williams III) was born on 26 March, 1911, in Columbus, Mississippi. [.....]His most famous plays include A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Sweet Bird of Youth, The Glass Menagerie, and Night of the Iguana. These works are thematically connected by their reflections of the grotesque South, desire, and truth – concepts that scholars define as central to the classic Southern Gothic genre. [.....]Indeed, his Southern background evinces his emotional connection to the workings of the South.
[Quoted text edited to reduce it to the permitted maximum. DonnyB - moderator]
(Tennessee Williams: Truth, Illusion, and the Grotesque South by Fe Lorraine Reyes, 2021)

What is meant by Southern Gothic in this context, by the word Gothic in particular ?
Thank you very much in advance:)
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  • kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    The everyday meaning of grotesque is basically ugly and disgusting.

    But grotesque in a figurative, artistic way has other nuances. These are from the Collins dictionary.
    1. strangely or fantastically distorted; bizarre
    2. of or characteristic of the grotesque in art
    3. absurdly incongruous; in a ludicrous context
    This is the type of use of grotesque in that Wikipedia article.