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Published byTracey Robertson Modified over 7 years ago
The Gothic: Introduction and Key Terms
What is “Gothic” ? A term loosely associated with all things spooky, macabre, darkly supernatural, and ancient Often associated with its effects upon readers such as shivers of terror, a sense of revulsion, or an uneasy feeling of the uncanny Writings seem to become increasingly popular at times of great social stress and economic uncertainty
History of the gothic First Gothic novel – Castle of Otranto Appealed to women readers and writers Feminine and masculine tradition of Gothic writing Female Gothic focuses on the distress, perils, and victimization of women who are under the control of unscrupulous men Very popular during the Romantic Period until today
Key conventions of the Gothic Set in decayed or haunted structures (castles, graveyards, tombs, abbeys) Obsessed with the past, particularly in terms of family lineage and ancient curses The gothic heroine is often trapped or confined either physically or psychologically
Key conventions of the Gothic cont. unreliable or compulsive narrators nightmares doubled figures dopplegängers supernatural events circular or convoluted plots multiple embedded or inset tales
Key Terms Doppelganger (doublegoer) double, evil twin, alter ego, or ghostly counterpart of a character Typically possesses the qualities that a given character is attempting to repress The Uncanny (Unheimlich) Something is familiar to us but also foreign and disturbing at the same time
Key Terms Terror- associated with higher forms of literature and the Romantic sublime create a sense of suspense and arouse an obscure dread and anxiety causes the reader to struggle to make sense of the cause of the fear “expands the soul, and awakens the faculties to a high degree of life”
Key Terms Horror- lower form of writing in which readers feel shock, revulsion, or disgust appeals to lower mental faculties, such as curiosity and voyeurism “contracts, freezes, and nearly annihilates” a reader’s faculties
Key Terms The Sublime moments in which a human experiences a pleasing sense of terror that is aroused by being confronted with violent or enormous natural scenes Ideas of pain, fear, and supernatural danger displace or dismantle reason ACTUAL pain does not cause a sublime experience
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