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The Gothic Novel

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on 20 May 2014

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Transcript of The Gothic Novel

The Gothic Novel
1. A brief summary of the 18th century.

2. The birth of the Gothic novel.

3. Main characteristics of the Gothic novel:
Horace Walpole: The castle of Otranto.
Ann Radcliffe: The Mysteries of Udolpho.

4. Conclusion

5. References

English Society in 18Th century
-Colonial expansion made England more powerful and rich.
-Economic and business life became very important in England.
-Industry evolved and new machines were created in order to produce faster.
-Many people improved their quality of life but for others it was completely the opposite.
English Society in 18Th century
-Workhouses were built.
-coffee houses were opened.
-The age of Enlightenment:
order, reason and balance.
-The taste for reading began to increase:
Female readers.
-The rising middle class were hungry for knowledge.

Horace Walpole
Horace Walpole (1717-1797).
Image by goodtextures: http://fav.me/d2he3r8
A drastic change in English Literature
Raquel Candel López
Andrea López Perles
Fatima A. Moulayes Ajjan

Richetti, J. (2005). English Literature, 1660-1780. Printed in the United Kingdom at the University Press, Cambridge.
Bernard, R. (1994). A Short history of English Literature. Second edition. Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
Lucía, Solaz. (2003). Espectáculo. Revista de estudios literarios. Universidad Computense de Madrid


Ann Radcliffe
Ann Ward, 1764.

Married a journalist, William Radcliffe.

1794 a travel to Holland and Germany.

Founder of Gothic Literature.
Radcliffe and Sensibility
'A beautiful and solitary girl is persecuted in picturesque surroundings, and, after many fluctuations of fortune, during which she seems again and again on the point of reaching safety, only to be thrust back into the midst of perils, is restored to her friends and marries the man of her choice' (J.M.S. Tompkins).
Villains: Montoni and Schedoni.
Lack of individuality.
Travel of the characters makes opportunities to describe scenery.
Scenery and Obscurity
"To the warm imagination, the forms which float half-veiled in darkness afford a higher delight than the most distinct scenery the sun can show" (The Mysteries of Udolpho, Vol. 4, Chapter XII, p.425).
A way to engender suspense, create mystery, and rouse amazement.
"Virtue and taste are nearly the same; for virtue is little more than active taste; and the most delicate affections of each combine in real love." (The Mysteries of Udolpho, Vol. 1, Chapter 5, p. 36).
The Unconscious
The unconscious is not limited in time or space.
'The Mysteries of Udolpho'
Was published in 1794

It is sets in the 16th century, in France and Italy.

The sublime's uplifting effect on the observer.

Objects and scenes: macabre, horrific and sexually perverse.

She was criticised for its banalising technique.
English writer, art historian and politician.

He is remembered for:
Strawberry Hill.
The Castle of Otranto.
Walpole wrote what is considered the first Gothic Novel, The Castle of Otranto.

Published in 1764.

Inspired by the reconstruction of his home and a nightmare he had.
Establishment of the Gothic Novel
“Shall I confess to you, what was the origin of this romance? I waked one morning, in the beginning of last June, from a

dream, of which all I could recover was that I had thought myself in an ancient castle (a very natural dream for a head like mine filled with Gothic story), and that on the uppermost banister of a great staircase I saw a gigantic hand in armour. In the evening I sat down, and began to write, without knowing in the least what I intended to say or relate. The work grew on my hands […] In short I was so engrossed with my Tale, which I completed in less than two months. “(
, Letter to Cole, 9 March 1765, p. 88).
Preface to the first edition.
In the Preface to the second edition of his Gothic story, Walpole tries to explain his desire to create a narrative line that would enable him to bring past and present together into an aesthetic whole.

“It was an attempt to blend two kinds of romance, the ancient and the modern. In the former all was imagination and improbability: in the later, nature is always intended to be, and sometimes has been, copied with success. Invention has not been wanting; but the great resources of fancy have been dammed up, by a strict adherence to common life. But if, in the latter species, Nature has cramped imagination, she did but take her revenge, having been totally excluded from old romances.”

Otranto's Gothic elements
The castle.
Principal characters as Gothic stereotypes.
Stereotypical scenes in subsequent Gothic novels:
"The lower part of the castle was hollowed into several intricate cloisters; and it was not easy for one under so much anxiety to find the door that opened into the cavern"
The story begins with an inexplicable death.
Part of the action also takes place in a monastery.
The plot of the story takes unexpected turns.
The novel in its beginning and at its ending is focused in death.
Literary landscape in 18Th century
-The rise of the novel:
Colonial Literature.
Travel Literature.
Jonathan swift ( Gulliver’s Travels).
Daniel Defoe (Robinson Crusoe).

-Started to flourish in 1764 thanks to Horace Walpole.
-A reaction against Reason, order, Enlightenment.
Characteristics of te Gothic novel
-Supernatural elements.
-Physical or emotional imprisonment.
-The Doppelgänger.
The characters
-Described using stereotypes.
-The tyrant.
-The heroine.
-The challenger.
-The monk.
- The peasant.
-Nowadays Gothic films and TV series very common .
Film director: Tim Burton.
-Gothic elements.
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