Gothic Literature

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Gothic Literature - Description

Week 6. Definition. Gothic fiction (sometimes referred to as Gothic horror) is a genre of literature that combines elements of both horror and romance. As a genre, it is generally believed to have been invented by the English author Horace Walpole, with his 1764 novel . ID: 439050 Download Presentation

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Gothic Literature




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Presentations text content in Gothic Literature

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Gothic Literature

Week 6

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Definition

Gothic fiction (sometimes referred to as Gothic horror) is a genre of literature that combines elements of both horror and romance. As a genre, it is generally believed to have been invented by the English author Horace Walpole, with his 1764 novel The Castle of Otranto.

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Purpose

The gothic novel can be seen as a description of a fallen worldWriters of gothic fiction were reacting to the rigidity and formality of other forms of Romantic era literature

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Setting

Evokes the atmosphere of horror and dreadAlso portrays the deterioration of its worldThe 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.

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Examples of Gothic Literature

The Castle of Otranto ~ Horace Walpole (considered the first work of Gothic fiction)

A Long Fatal Love Chase ~ Louisa May Alcott

The House of the Seven Gables ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Mysteries of

Udolpho

~ Ann Radcliffe

The Italian ~ Ann Radcliffe

The Woman in White ~

Wilkie

Collins

The Moonstone ~

Wilkie

Collins

The Monk ~ Matthew Gregory Lewis

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Wuthering Heights ~ Emily Bronte

The Grey Woman ~ Elizabeth Gaskell

The Turn of the Screw ~ Henry James

Rebecca ~ Daphne du

Maurier

Dracula ~ Bram Stoker

The Picture of Dorian Gray ~ Oscar Wilde

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Frankenstein ~ Mary Shelley

The Phantom of the Opera ~ Gaston

Leroux

Any of Edgar Allen Poe's works

Slide6

Characters

The Gothic hero becomes a sort of archetype as we find that there is a pattern to their 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.

Slide7

Archetypes

An archetype is a universally understood symbol, term, statement, or pattern of behavior, a prototype upon which others are copied, patterned, or emulated. Archetypes are often used in myths and storytelling across different cultures.

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Virginal Maiden

Young, beautiful, pure, innocent, kind, virtuous. Shows these virtues by fainting and crying whenever her delicate sensibilities are challenged, usually starts out with a mysterious past and it is later revealed that she is the daughter of an aristocratic or noble family.

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Maiden Example

Examples:

Matilda in

The Castle of Otranto

– She is determined to give up Theodore, the love of her life, for her cousin’s sake. Matilda always puts others first before herself, and always believes the best in others

.

Adeline in

The Romance of the Forest

– “Her wicked Marquis, having secretly immured Number One (his first wife), has now a new and beautiful wife, whose character, alas! Does not bear inspection.” As this review states, the virginal maiden character is above inspection because her personality is flawless. Hers is a virtuous character whose piety and unflinching optimism causes all to fall in love with her.

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Older, Foolish Woman

Hippolita

in

The Castle of Otranto

Hippolita

is depicted as the obedient wife of her tyrant husband who “would not only acquiesce with patience to divorce, but would obey, if it was his pleasure, in

endeavouring

to persuade Isabelle to give him her hand”.[48] This shows how weak women are portrayed as they are completely submissive, and in

Hippolita’s

case, even support polygamy at the expense of her own marriage.

Madame LaMotte in

The Romance of the Forest

– naively assumes that her husband is having an affair with Adeline. Instead of addressing the situation directly, she foolishly lets her ignorance turn into pettiness and mistreatment of Adeline

.

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Hero

Theodore in The Castle of Otranto – he is witty, and successfully challenges the tyrant, saves the virginal maid without expectationsTheodore in The Romance of the Forest – saves Adeline multiple times, is virtuous, courageous and brave, self-sacrificial

Slide12

Tyrant

Manfred

in

The Castle of Otranto

– unjustly accuses Theodore of murdering Conrad. Tries to put his blame onto others. Lies about his motives for attempting to divorce his wife and marry his late son’s fiancé.

The Marquis in

The Romance of the Forest

– attempts to get with Adeline even though he is already married, attempts to rape Adeline, blackmails Monsieur LaMotte

.

Although he was an eccentric man, learned in the ways of science, physics, and astrology, he loved his people. His main greed, however, was thirst for knowledge. He wanted to know everything. This is what led him on the road to damnation.”

Slide13

The Stupid Servant

A

cts

as comic relief by asking seemingly stupid questions, transitions between scenes, brings news, messenger, moves plot forward

Peter in

The Romance of the Forest

– whenever he brings information to people, he never gets to the point but prattles on and on about insignificant things. “The reader…eagerly follows the flight of LaMotte, also of Peter, his coachman, an attached, comic, and familiar domestic.

Bianca in

The Castle of Otranto

– a gossip, helps characters get valuable news, provides comic relief

Slide14

Clowns

Break the tension and act as comic reliefDiego and Jaquez in The Castle of Otranto – they appear to talk about random things, and argue foolishly with each other in order to lighten the air of the novel.

Slide15

Banditti/Ruffians

They appear in several Gothic Novels including The Romance of the Forest in which they kidnap Adeline from her father.

Slide16

Clergy

Always weak, usually evilFather Jerome in The Castle of Otranto – Jerome, though not evil, is certainly weak as he gives up his son when he is born and leaves his lover.Ambrosio in The Monk – Evil and weak, this character stoops to the lowest levels of corruption including rape and incest.Mother Superior in The Romance of the Forest – Adeline fled from this convent because the sisters weren’t allowed to see sunlight. Highly oppressive environment.

Slide17

The Setting

The setting of the Gothic Novel is a character in itself. The plot is usually set in a castle, an abbey, a monastery, or some other, usually religious edifice, and it is acknowledged that this building has secrets of its own

.

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It is this gloomy and frightening scenery, which sets the scene for what the audience should expect. The importance of setting is noted in a London review of The Castle of Otranto“He describes the country towards Otranto as desolate and bare, extensive downs covered with thyme, with occasionally the dwarf holly, the rosa marina, and lavender, stretch around like wild moorlands…Mr. Williams describes the celebrated Castle of Otranto as “an imposing object of considerable size…has a dignified and chivalric air. A fitter scene for his romance he probably could not have chosen.”

Slide19

Similarly, De Vore states“The 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.” Thus, without the decrepit backdrop to initiate the events, the Gothic Novel would not exist.

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