"The Haunted Palace" Installation View

The Museum at FIT

The Museum at FIT

The Haunted Palace recalls Edgar Allan Poe's architectural metaphor for a disturbed mind. If fashion may be considered a type of "intimate architecture," then we might expect gothic fashions to manifest similar characteristics of imprisonment, ambiguity, and disintegration.

The supernatural became associated with the psychological in gothic narratives, such as Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher" (1839). Significantly, Poe specifies in passing that the house refers both to "the family and the family mansion." It may also evoke a mind degenerating into madness, an effect that Poe brilliantly creates in his horrific story of incest and premature burial, culminating at the moment when a "barely discernible fissure" in the House of Usher suddenly widens and the building collapses.

Yet gothic style does not simply reflect social anxieties, since from the beginning it has been a knowing genre that plays with the pleasurable aspects of terror. The Marquis de Sade was correct in observing that the gothic is modern genre, even when it draws on ancient fears.

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  • Title: "The Haunted Palace" Installation View
  • Location Created: USA
  • Type: Photograph
  • Rights: Copyright The Museum at FIT