Characteristics of Gothic Literature English III

Characteristics
of
Gothic Literature
English III
Mrs. Dunn-Reier
When did it become popular?
• Later 18th Century
• Started with a “Gothic
Revival” -- mid-1700’s
• Visible in gardens
• Seen in architecture
(gargoyles) of the
Middle Ages
• 1740’s - Horace Walpole
- Strawberry Hill estate
near London
• Published The Castle of
Otranto: a Gothic Story 1764
http://www.puzzlehistory.com/gothgrdn.jpg
Application to literature
http://www.greatscotland.be/evenementen.
htm
• Any kind of
romantic, scary
novel
• Came from
Germany in the late
1700’s - early
1800’s
• Popular among
female writers
• Became best
Famous Gothic Writers
• Ann Radcliffe - The Mysteries
of Udolpho
• Jane Austen -- Northanger
Abbey (parody of Gothic
novels)
• Charlotte Bronte -- Jane Eyre
• Emily Bronte -- Wuthering
Heights
• Shirley Jackson, Daphne du
Maurier, Barbara Michaels,
Anne Rice
A classic
• Mary Shelley’s
Frankenstein (1818)
• Single most important
product of this tradition
• Themes relate to
science, poetry,
psychology, alienation,
politics, education, family
relationships, etc.
• Tradition: 8-foot tall
monster made of
separate body pieces
librarycommission.lib.wv.us/ WVLC%20BOOK/Frank...
Influence felt elsewhere
• Rime of the Ancient Mariner
by Coleridge-- skeleton ship
and the crew’s reaction
• Christabel by Coleridge-atmosphere, setting, and
fragmentary plot of
seduction and witchery
• Manfred by Byron -- initial
scene
• The Even of St. Agnes by
Keats -- setting
http://www.wilsonsalmanac.com/images2/ancient_m
ariner4.jpg
Famous Gothic Writers - cont’d.
• Edgar Allen Poe
• Steven King
http://www.1001votes.com/vote/fond.php?mcat=24&lg
=fr
http://www.3boysproductions.com/MI
FF-2002-Fri-Nite-Program.htm
Characteristics
• Set in Medieval times
• Dark, mysterious, evil
tone
• Dark castles, palaces,
chambers, haunted
mansions
• Isolated setting
• All come together to
emphasize the sense of
evil
http://www.encounterspri.com/Articles.ht
m
More characteristics
• Presence of ghosts,
spirits, vampires, and
other supernatural
entities
• Mysterious
disappearances and
reappearances
• Supernatural or
paranormal
occurrences
http://www.penelopesweb.com/gargoyles.html
Characteristics -- cont’d.
• Religion, usually
Christianity or at
least spirituality, is
confronted.
• A gothic “double” is
used in which a
character who
seems to be good is
linked with another
who is evil
www.pagedepot.com/.../ GOTHIC%20CHAPBOOKSX.HTM
More characteristics
•
•
•
•
Blood, pain, death
Cruelty
Eroticism
Characters with
“aberrant psychological
states”
• Events are “uncanny,
macabre, or
melodramatically violent
bordering between
reality and unreality
http://www.pantip.com/cafe/chalermthai/newmovi
e/hauntedcastle/hc.html
Purpose
• To evoke “terror” versus
“horror” in the reader
because of situations
bordering
reality/unreality
•Often used to teach a
message
• May lack a Medieval
setting but will develop
an atmosphere of
gloom and terror
Differentiating between the two
• Horror
•“An awful
apprehension”
•Described distinctly
•Something grotesque
•So appalling,
unrealistic
•Depends on physical
characteristics
• Terror
•“A sickening realization”
•Suggestive of what will
happen
•Depends on reader’s
imagination
•Sense of uncertainty
•Creates an “intangible
atmosphere of spiritual
psychic dread”
American Gothic
• Important from the mid-18th
Century on
• Related to “Romantic Period”
• Criticizes “national myth of newworld innocence by voicing the
cultural contradictions that
undermine the nation’s claim to
purity and equality” - Teresa A.
Goddu
•Tells of historical horrors that make
national identity
http://photos1.blogger.com/img/154/1420/1024/american%
20gothic.jpg
Southern Gothic
http://www.madelinecarolgall
ery.com/images/Southern%2
0Plantation.jpg
• Customary setting because it’s the source of values not
necessarily welcome in the rest of the country
• Poe was the first Southern gothic writer
• Common themes: race, alienation, sense of “otherness”
Cyber gothic
literature
• Situations seem unrealistic
during this time period but
possible in the future
• Dark setting
• Nothing natural; all man-made
• Characters’ bodies are often
altered, making them less
human-like
• Based on knowledge and a
“technologically enhanced
future”
http://darklands.ivorytower.net/index.php?module=ContentExpress&func=display&
ceid=17&meid=-1
Your assignment
• Work in groups of 4-5
• Take turns around the
circle creating a “gothic”
story - campfire style 3-5 mins. in length
• Take notes and write
down key plot points
• Write down gothic
elements included
• Be prepared to share
with the class next time
we meet.
http://www.illustrationweb.com/artist_pages/artist_image
s/artist_4/the_pit_and_the_pendulum.jpg
Sources of text
• http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~mdward/essay
2.html
• http://www.wwnorton.com/nael/romatic/topic
_2/welcome.htm
• And others
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