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Gothic Literature

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Blair Einfeldt

on 23 October 2013

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Transcript of Gothic Literature

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronté
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronté
Modern Gothic Novels
1765: Horace Walpole. The Castle of Otranto
1794: Ann Radcliffe. The Mysteries of Udolpho
1794: William Godwin. Caleb Williams
1796: Mathew Lewis. The Monk
1798: Regina Maria Roche. Clermont
1806: Ann Mary Hamilton. Montalva or Annals of Guilt
1807: Charlotte Dacre. The Libertine
1818: Mary Shelly. Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus
1820: Charles Robert Maturin. Melmonth the Wanderer 1826: Ann Radcliff: Gaston de Blondeville
1826: William Child Green. The Abbot of Montserrat or The Pool of Blood
Other Gothic Novels
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;
the pursued maiden and the threat or rape or abduction;
physical decay, skulls, cemeteries, and other images of death; ghosts; revenge; family curse; blood and gore; torture; the Doppelganger (evil twin or double); demonic possession; masking/shape-changing; black magic; madness.
Basic Plot Structure for a Gothic Novel
Archetypal Characters
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.
Importance of Setting
"gothic" came to describe a certain type of novels, so named because all these novels seem to take place in Gothic-styled architecture -- mainly castles, mansions, and, of course, abbeys ("Gothic...").
Literary Connection to Gothic Architecture
Gothic architecture used pointed arches and vaults, flying buttresses, narrow spires, stained glass windows, intricate traceries, and varied details; its upward movement was meant to suggest heavenward aspiration.
Gothic architecture
12th~16th century
Gothic Literature
Anne Rice
Edgar Allan Poe
Joyce Carol Oates
Stephen King
HP Lovecraft
Other Gothic Writers
The metonymy of gloom and horror.
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.
Metonymy of gloom and terror
Damsel in distress (frequently faints in horror)
Secret corridors, passageways, or rooms
Ancestral curses
Ruined castles with graveyards nearby
Priests and monks
Sleep, dream, death-like states
A few more gothic conventions
Walpole wrote what is considered the first gothic novel, The Castle of Otranto (very melodramatic)
Published in 1764
Inspired by his reconstruction of his home and a nightmare he’d had
Horace Walpole
24 September 1717 - 2 March 1797
The words Goth and Gothic describe the Germanic tribes (e.g., Goths, Visigoths, Ostrogoths) which sacked Rome and also ravaged the rest of Europe in the third, fourth, and fifth centuries.
By the eighteenth century in England, Gothic had become synonymous with the Middle Ages, a period which was in disfavor because it was perceived as chaotic, unenlightened, and superstitious.
Historic Context
wind, especially howling
sighs, moans, howls, eerie sounds
rain, especially blowing
clanking chains
doors grating on rusty hinges
gusts of wind blowing out lights
footsteps approaching
doors suddenly slamming shut
lights in abandoned rooms
crazed laughter
characters trapped in a room
baying of distant dogs (or wolves?)
ruins of buildings
thunder and lightning
Note the following metonymies that suggest mystery, danger, or the supernatural
Gloomy settings
Family secrets
Gothic Conventions
What is metonymy?
Metonymy is an object that is used in place of another object or person. Example:
Examples of Metonymy:
Supernatural Powers

Many Gothic antagonists have supernatural powers that are openly known by the reader or else suggested in the character's background. These powers may be displayed to other characters in the text, or the antagonist may only hint at such feats. Supernatural powers can include the ability to persuade a person to perform certain tasks or to manipulate them in other fashions against their will. Some Gothic villains possess more outlandish powers; for example, the titular character in Bram Stoker's "Dracula" can change into a bat and walk across walls like a lizard.
Sense of Evil

Most Gothic antagonists emit a palpable sense of evil, and some openly commit depraved, violent or perverse acts, which are appalling to the reader. For example, the antagonist in Matthew Lewis's Gothic novel "The Monk" commits a sexual assault against a woman. Other Gothic villains are characterized less by their deeds and more by an evil essence. Gothic antagonists who were formerly good in nature or even pious, but have since turned to evil, are also common.

Gothic antagonists aren't always purely evil, and many have an obviously dual nature, being heroic yet flawed, or malevolent but yearning for redemption. In some Gothic texts, this dualism becomes more of a literal plot device. In "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" by Robert Louis Stevenson, the titular characters are in fact one person, with Mr. Hyde being Jekyll's aggressive and cruel alter-ego.
Passion and Drive

The Gothic antagonist is typically passionate and driven, striving toward goals with little thought for others and attempting to achieve what he wants by careful scheming. The Gothic villain is generally willful and puts his desires, however dark, above other matters. For example, the antagonist of Horace Walpole's "The Castle of Otranto," the villainous Manfred, places his concern for a future for his son above any concern or duty he has for his wife and daughter.

Many Gothic antagonists are controlling by nature, and when it comes to the plots of such tales, this characteristic can manifest itself in the way in which the villain attempts to imprison the text's protagonist. Imprisonment can occur physically, through the use of a castle dungeon for instance, or via the strength of the villain's personality. In "The Mysteries of Udolpho," by Ann Radcliffe, the villain Montoni imprisons his wife until her death and attempts the same on his wife's niece.

You now have your choice.
This is to be done individually. Pick one of th following movies and describe how it fits into both character archetypes of the Gothic (Gothic Hero, Gothic shadow, Gothic Wanderer, Damsel in Distress) but also the 5 structure motifs:
1. Supernatural
2. Sense of Evil
3. Dualism
4. Passion and Drive
5. Control
Also Describe how the setting is represented creates the dark and dangerous tone for the story.
This is due at the end of class on Evernote, so you had better get to work.

Here is your list:
1. The Walking Dead
2. The Dark Knight
3. The Dark Knight Rises
4. The Avengers (The Hulk)
5. Alice in Wonderland (Disney)
6. Beetlejuice
7. The Labyrinth
8. Beauty and the Beast (Disney)
9. Snow White (Disney)
10. Dark Shadows
11. The Mummy
12. The Mummy Returns
13. Sweeny Todd
14. The Legned of Sleepy Hollow (Disney)
15. Edward Scissorhands
16. Underworld
17. Constantine
18. Twilight
19. Harry Potter
20. Ghost Rider

The Hero - Often falls
The Herald
The Mentor (Wanderer)
The Threshold Guardian
The Trickster (Often Supernatural)
The Shapeshifter
The Shadow
The Sidekick (Often the Mentor)
Full transcript