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Characteristics of Gothic Literature

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1 Characteristics of Gothic Literature
English III Mrs. Dunn-Reier

2 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

3 Application to literature
Any kind of romantic, scary novel Came from Germany in the late 1700’s - early 1800’s Popular among female writers Became best sellers!

4 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

5 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 WVLC%20BOOK/Frank...

6 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

7 Famous Gothic Writers - cont’d.
Edgar Allen Poe Steven King

8 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

9 More characteristics Presence of ghosts, spirits, vampires, and other supernatural entities Mysterious disappearances and reappearances Supernatural or paranormal occurrences

10 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 GOTHIC%20CHAPBOOKSX.HTM

11 More characteristics Blood, pain, death Cruelty Eroticism
Characters with “aberrant psychological states” Events are “uncanny, macabre, or melodramatically violent bordering between reality and unreality

12 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

13 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”

14 American Gothic Important from the mid-18th Century on
Related to “Romantic Period” Criticizes “national myth of new-world 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

15 Southern Gothic 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”

16 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”

17 Your assignment Work in groups of 4-5
Take turns around the circle creating a “gothic” story - campfire style 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.

18 Sources of text
And others

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