Presentation on theme: "Characteristics of Gothic Literature"— Presentation transcript:
1 Characteristics of Gothic Literature Subgenre of Romanticism
2 The Beginnings…Gothic Literary tradition came to be in part from the Gothic architecture of the Middle Ages.Gothic cathedrals with irregularly placed towers, and high stained-glass windows were intended to inspire awe and fear in religious worshipers.Gothic Literature
3 Gargoyles—carvings of small deformed creatures squatting at the corners and crevices of Gothic cathedrals—were supposed to ward off evil spirits, but they often look more like demonic spirits themselves.Think of the gargoyle as a mascot of Gothic, and you will get an idea of the kind of imaginative distortion of reality that Gothic represents.
4 Gothic Literature It was an offshoot of Romantic Literature. Gothic Literature was the predecessor of modern horror movies in both theme and style.Gothic Literature put a spin on the Romantic idea of nature worship and nature imagery. Along with nature having the power of healing, Gothic writers gave nature the power of destruction. Frankenstein is full of the harsh reality of nature. Many storms arise in the novel, including storms the night the Creature comes to life.The most common feature of Gothic Literature is the indication of mood through the weather.
5 Gothic vs. RomanticismGothic writers were peering into the darkness at the supernatural.Romantic writers celebrated the beauties of nature.For some Romantic writers, the imagination led to the threshold of the unknown—the shadowy region where the fantastic, the demonic and the insane reside.When the Gothic's saw the individual, they saw the potential of evil.Romanticism developed as a reaction against the rationalism of the Age of Reason.The romantics freed the imagination from the hold of reason, so they could follow their imagination wherever it might lead.For some Romantics, when they looked at the individual, they saw hope (think “A Psalm of Life”).
6 Gothic Movement in America The Gothic Tradition was firmly established in Europe before American writers had made names for themselves.By the 19th century, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathanial Hawthorne, and to a lesser extent Washington Irving and Herman Melville were using the Gothic elements in their writing.Edgar Allan Poe was the master of the Gothic form in the United States.
7 Characteristics Set in Medieval times Dark, mysterious, evil tone Dark castles, palaces, chambers, haunted mansionsIsolated settingAll come together to emphasize the sense of evil
8 More characteristicsPresence of ghosts, spirits, vampires, and other supernatural entitiesMysterious disappearances and reappearancesSupernatural or paranormal occurrences
9 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 evilGOTHIC%20CHAPBOOKSX.HTM
10 More characteristics Blood, pain, death Cruelty Characters with “aberrant psychological states”Events are uncanny or melodramatically violent bordering between reality and unreality
11 PurposeTo evoke “terror” versus “horror” in the reader because of situations bordering reality/unrealityOften used to teach a messageMay lack a Medieval setting but will develop an atmosphere of gloom and terror
12 Differentiating between the two Horror“An awful apprehension”Described distinctlySomething grotesqueSo appalling, unrealisticDepends on physical characteristicsTerror“A sickening realization”Suggestive of what will happenDepends on reader’s imaginationSense of uncertaintyCreates an “intangible atmosphere of spiritual psychic dread”
13 Gothic Conventions Murder Death Suicide Ghosts Demons Gloomy settings Family secretsDungeonsCursesTortureVampiresSpiritsCastlesTombsTerror
14 A 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
15 Metonymy of gloom and terror 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.
16 Note 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
17 Importance 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.
18 Basic 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;Physical decay, skulls, cemeteries, and other images of death; ghosts; revenge; family curse; blood and gore; torture; the Doppelganger (evil twin or double), etc.
19 Gothic Writers Anne Rice Edgar Allan Poe Joyce Carol Oates Stephen KingStephenie Meyer