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Gothicism

Notes
by

Jennifer Williams

on 23 February 2012

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Transcript of Gothicism

Gothicism It's not what you think... Popular in the late 18th/early 19th centuries
Sub-genre of Romanticism
Reaction to and form of escape from the Industrial Revolution
Technology was increasing and expanding at an exponential rate, creating fear of and uncertainty in the future Characteristics
of
Gothicism Body Snatching
The act of stealing corpses from graves
Actually a very real fear since cadavers were not readily available for dissection and study Cemeteries Claustrophobia
The abnormal fear of being confined in close or narrow spaces
Can be partly attributed to the very real fear of being buried alive Doppelganger
Literally means “doublegoer”
Often the ghostly counterpart of a living person
Can also be a double, alter ego, or another person who has the same name
Analysis says a doppelganger is a psychic projection caused by unresolved anxieties Dreaming/Nightmares
Often reveal our deepest emotions and thoughts and/or our subconscious Entrapment/Imprisonment
A favorite device where a person finds him/herself confined or trapped Ghosts, Witches, Werewolves, Vampires
You should be familiar with all the above
In Gothic fiction the witch is
normally depicted as an elderly
hag or as a beautiful, seductive
woman (and is frequently both) The Grotesque
A mutation of the characters, plants, and/or animals. This mutation transforms the normal features and/or behaviors into extremes that are meant to be frightening and/or disturbingly comic. The Haunted House/Castle Mist/Fog
Symbolic of the uncertainty of life and fear of
the unknown future Mystery
An event or situation that appears to overwhelm
understanding
Edgar Allen Poe wrote the first mystery Necromancy
Black art of communicating with the dead Revenant
The return of the dead upon the living

Revenge
The act of repaying someone for a harm the person
has caused.
Many times revenge is the reason for revenant. Somnambulism
Sleepwalking
Through sleepwalking, characters often reveal
hidden sources of stress and replay acts of guilt Superstition
The unreasonable or excessive belief in fear or magic--not based in reason or knowledge The Uncanny
According to Freud, we find things to be uncanny when they are familiar to us yet also somehow foreign or disturbing. Unreliable Narrator
A narrator tells a story. An unreliable narrator does not understand the importance of a particular situation or makes an incorrect conclusion or assumption about an event he/she witnesses.
Can you trust the narrator? Terror (Gothic) vs. Horror Terror Horror Constructed from a maze of alarmingly concrete imagery designed to induce fear, shock, revulsion, and disgust Elements render the reader/viewer incapable of resolution and causes the reader’s mind to become part of a state of inescapable confusion and chaos Creates a sense of uncertain apprehension that leads to a complex fear of obscure and dreadful elements Stimulates the imagination and challenges intellectual reasoning to arrive at a somewhat plausible explanation of the fear/anxiety Assumes you are intelligent and attempts to unsettle you and challenge that intelligence Appeals to lower mental processes Inability to intellectualize horror creates a sense of obscure despair The end... or is it?
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