Presentation on theme: "The Gothic Novel & Frankenstein. The Gothic Novel Frankenstein is by no means the first Gothic novel. Instead, this novel is a compilation of Romantic."— Presentation transcript:
The Gothic Novel Frankenstein is by no means the first Gothic novel. Instead, this novel is a compilation of Romantic and Gothic elements combined into a singular work with an unforgettable story. The Gothic novel is unique because by the time Shelley wrote Frankenstein, several novels had appeared using Gothic themes, but the genre had only been around since 1754.
The Gothic Novel The first Gothic horror novel was The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole, published in 1754. The Castle of Otranto - The basic plot created many other gothic staples, including a threatening mystery and an ancestral curse, as well as countless trappings such as hidden passages and oft-fainting heroines. Perhaps the last type of novel in this mode was Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, published in 1847. In between 1754 and 1847, several other novels appeared using the Gothic horror story as a central story telling device, The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) and The Italian (1794) by Ann Radcliffe, The Monk (1796) by Matthew G. Lewis, and Melmouth the Wanderer (1820) by Charles Maturin.
The Gothic Novel The Gothic novel: set in some exotic place like Italy and involving a heroine (or, less often, hero) in a struggle with the mysteriously evil and seemingly supernatural. A landscape of vast dark forest with vegetation that bordered on excessive, concealed ruins with horrific rooms, monasteries and a forlorn character who excels at the melancholy.
The Gothic Novel It is the predecessor to modern horror and, above all, has led to the common definition of "gothic" as being connected to the dark and horrific. Prominent features of gothic novels included terror, mystery, the supernatural, ghosts, haunted buildings, castles, trapdoors, doom, death, decay, madness, hereditary curses, and so on.
Mary Shelley Mary Shelley was twenty when Frankenstein was published, twenty-four when her husband drowned; although she wrote a good many other things, her fame clearly rests on her archetypal tale of the monster and his creator.
Archetype Archetype is defined as the original pattern from which copies are made. The word Archetype is derived from the Latin noun archetypum, meaning a template, mold or copy.
Gothic Traits in Frankenstein Frankenstein is set in continental Europe, specifically Switzerland and Germany, where many of Shelley’s readers had not been. Further, the incorporation of the chase scenes through the Arctic regions takes us even further from England into regions unexplored by most readers. Victor’s laboratory is the perfect place to create a new type of human being. Laboratories and scientific experiments were not known to the average reader, thus this was an added element of mystery and gloom.
Gothic Traits in Frankenstein The thought of raising the dead would have made the average reader wince in disbelief and terror. Imagining Victor wandering the streets of Ingolstadt after dark on a search for body parts adds to the sense of revulsion purposefully designed to evoke from the reader a feeling of dread for the characters involved in the story.
Gothic Traits in Frankenstein In the Gothic novel, the characters seem to bridge the mortal world and the supernatural world. Frankenstein’s monster seems to have some sort of communication between himself and his creator, because the monster appears wherever Victor goes. The monster also moves with amazing superhuman speed with Victor matching him in the chase towards the North Pole.
Mary Shelley Shelley had incorporated a number of different sources into her work, not the least of which was the Promethean myth from Ovid. The influence of John Milton’s Paradise Lost, the book the 'creature' finds in the cabin, is also clearly evident within the novel.
“The Modern Prometheus" The novel's subtitle Prometheus, in some versions of Greek mythology, was the Titan who created mankind, and Victor's work by creating man by new means obviously reflects that creative work. More widely known is that Prometheus was the bringer of fire who took fire from the gods and gave it to man. Zeus then punished Prometheus by fixing him to a rock where each day a predatory bird came to devour his liver. Prometheus was also a myth told in Latin but was a very different story. In this version Prometheus makes man from clay and water, again a very relevant theme to Frankenstein as Victor rebels against the laws of nature and as a result is punished by his creation.
“The Modern Prometheus" Prometheus' relation to the novel can be interpreted in a number of ways. For Romance era artists in general, Prometheus' gift to man compared with the two great utopian promises of the 18th century: the Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution, containing both great promise and potentially unknown horrors. Byron was particularly attached to the play Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus, and Percy Shelley would soon write Prometheus Unbound.
What else is going on in literature, besides Romanticism and The Gothic Novel? Jane Austen, the first great nineteenth- century novelist, was, in some sense the last great eighteenth-century novelist: ironic, comic, promoting the values of reason and restraint. 1818, a year after Austen’s death, saw the (anonymous) publication of Frankenstein, quite a different sort of novel.