2The Gothic Tradition Began in Europe First Gothic Work: 1765 The Castle of Otranto – Horace WalpoleTwo Early Works:Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus (1818)Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897)
9Literary Connection to Gothic Architecture "gothic" came to describe a certain type of novel, so named because all these novels seem to take place in Gothic-styled architecture -- mainly castles, mansions, and, of course, abbeys ("Gothic...").
10Characteristics of Gothic Fiction MysteryHorrorThe GrotesqueViolenceThe Supernatural
11Gothic Conventions Murder Death Suicide Ghosts Demons Gloomy settings Family secretsDungeonsCursesTortureVampiresSpiritsCastlesTombsTerror
12A few more gothic conventions Damsel in distress (frequently faints in horror)Secret corridors, passageways, or roomsAncestral cursesRuined castles with graveyards nearbyPriests and monksSleep, dream, death-like states
13Metonymy of gloom and terror The metonymy of gloom and horror.Metonymy is a subtype of metaphor, in which something (like rain) is used to stand for something else (like sorrow). For example, the film industry likes to use metonymy as a quick shorthand, so we often notice that it is raining in funeral scenes.
14Note the following metonymies that suggest mystery, danger, or the supernatural wind, especially howlingsighs, moans, howls, eerie soundsrain, especially blowingclanking chainsdoors grating on rusty hingesgusts of wind blowing out lightsfootsteps approachingdoors suddenly slamming shutlights in abandoned roomscrazed laughtercharacters trapped in a roombaying of distant dogs (or wolves?)ruins of buildingsthunder and lightning
15Importance of SettingThe setting is greatly influential in Gothic novels. It not only evokes the atmosphere of horror and dread, but also portrays the deterioration of its world. The decaying, ruined scenery implies that at one time there was a thriving world. At one time the abbey, castle, or landscape was something treasured and appreciated. Now, all that lasts is the decaying shell of a once thriving dwelling.
16Archetypal Characters The Gothic hero becomes a sort of archetype as we find that there is a pattern to his characterization. There is always the protagonist, usually isolated either voluntarily or involuntarily. Then there is the villain, who is the epitome of evil, either by his (usually a man) own fall from grace, or by some implicit malevolence. The Wanderer, found in many Gothic tales, is the epitome of isolation as he wanders the earth in perpetual exile, usually a form of divine punishment.
17Basic Plot Structure for a Gothic Novel Action in the Gothic novel tends to take place at night, or at least in a claustrophobic, sunless environment.ascent (up a mountain high staircase);descent (into a dungeon, cave, underground chambers or labyrinth) or falling off a precipice; secret passage; hidden doors;the pursued maiden and the threat or abduction;physical decay, skulls, cemeteries, and other images of death; ghosts; revenge; family curse; blood and gore; torture; the Doppelganger (evil twin or double); demonic possession; masking/shape-changing; black magic; madness.
18Gothic Writers Edgar Allan Poe Anne Rice Joyce Carol Oates Stephen KingStephenie MeyerTwilight Series
20Edgar Allan Poe His biography is often distorted His life was filled with personal tragedy and professional failurePoe drank to escape this failure but had a low tolerance for alcoholNumerous women whom he loved died, most from tuberculosisHis true love, his wife Virginia died from tuberculosis; Poe watched her slowly die for five years
21The death of a beautiful woman was a common topic of his works because he had experienced such loss himself, including his stepmother, his childhood love, and his wife
22Poe’s professional life was full of failure His greatest success was “The Raven,” which brought him fame, but earned him only $14.00Poe wrote many short stories simply for the money; ironically he is most famous for these storiesHe saw himself as a poet, but could not make a living from writing poetry
23He is the most important American poet before Walt Whitman Poe was also an important literary critic (he was known as the “tomahawk man” for his often brutal criticism)He is credited with the invention of the detective story (these stories provided Poe with the order & logic that was lacking in his own life)
24PoePoe can be considered the father of the modern horror story, influencing writers such as Stephen King and Anne Rice
26Poe explored the dark and often irrational side of the human mind (Hawthorne explored the dark side of the human heart)His stories often are filled with a sense of anxiety & have a dreamlike quality
27Master of the Short Story Along with Nathaniel Hawthorne, Poe perfected the modern short storyPoe stressed a single dominant effect in his short storiesThe Premature Burial
28PoeAfter the death of his wife, Poe went insane, desperately trying to find someone to take her placeHis death remains a mystery; his final words were, “God help my poor soul.”
29Poe’s characters are often tortured by guilt Poe saw women as angelic figures: “Women have been angels of mercy to me.”Poe’s characters are often tortured by guiltPoe’s stories are quite modern in their psychoanalytical componentsLike many of his characters, Poe was caught betweenRationality & irrationalityOrder & chaos
30“The Tell-Tale Heart”“TRUE! --nervous --very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses --not destroyed --not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily --how calmly I can tell you the whole story.“
31“The Black Cat”FOR the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief. Mad indeed would I be to expect it, in a case where my very senses reject their own evidence. Yet, mad am I not --and very surely do I not dream. But to-morrow I die, and to-day I would unburthen my soul.