Last week I wrote about Maugham’s The Magician, a gothic novel written early in the author’s career. Another unlikely dabbler in the form: Emerson.
From Robert Richardson’s Emerson: The Mind on Fire:
In writing, as in other endeavors, Emerson did not find his characteristic voice while at college, although some traits begin to emerge. In prose he was working on wildly diverse projects. One was a lurid gothic tale about a Norse prophetess and sibyl and her magician son. The fantasy is overheated and overwritten — more dream than anything else, a sort of Norse Vathek. The heroine Uilsa speaks:
“Did I not wake the mountains with my denouncing scream — calling vengeance from the north? Odin knew me and thundered. A thousand wolves ran down the mountain scared by the hideous lightning and baring the tooth to kill; they rushed after the cumbrous host. I saw when the pale faces glared back in terror as the black wolf pounced on his victim.”