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Gothic Literature. By Mike Roy, Sarah Idler, and Brittany Johnson. What is Gothic Literature . The standard Gothic paraphernalia (haunted castles, creaking staircases, vampire bats, and zombies) are only the trappings that may or may not be present.

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gothic literature

Gothic Literature

By

Mike Roy, Sarah Idler, and

Brittany Johnson

what is gothic literature
What is Gothic Literature
  • The standard Gothic paraphernalia (haunted castles, creaking staircases, vampire bats, and zombies) are only the trappings that may or may not be present.
  • More substantial characteristics of Gothic are:
      • An oddly romantic relationship
      • Labyrinths
      • Extreme weather, rugged landscapes
      • Omens and ancestral curses
      • A passion-driven villain-hero or villain
      • Ruined buildings and/or castles which threaten life
gothic literature3
Gothic Literature
  • There are two different styles of Gothic Literature:
    • Revival of the medieval: especially in architecture; Manor houses were built in the style of the Tudor castles of the Middle Ages because this were thought to be an indigenous “English” style that symbolized the English values of tradition.
    • Another aspect of medievalism: the mysterious and spooky world of the Catholic church at the time of the Inquisition and the bright jewel-like colors, flat perspective, and sometimes gory piety of fifteenth-century church painting.
gothic architecture
Gothic Architecture
  • By the 18th Century in England, Gothic had become one in the same with the Middle Ages, a period which was in disfavor because it was perceived as chaotic, unenlightened, and superstitious.
  • The words Goth and Gothic also described the Germanic tribes (e.g., Goths, Visigoths, Ostrogoths) which ravaged the rest of Europe in the third, fourth, and fifth centuries.
  • Because of these tribes and their actions, the words Gothic and Goth also came to mean barbarian, barbarous, and barbaric.
  • Gothic architecture tends to lean towards the grandiose and extravagant.
terror vs horror
Terror vs. Horror
  • TERROR: the feeling of unknowing; feelings of uncertainty and doom associated with shadows and a presence in the night; threats of happiness
  • HORROR: the physical gore of a murder; blood, guts, and at times unnecessary. This would also be
gothic movement
Gothic Movement
  • Divided into two categories: High Aesthetic and Low Aesthetic
    • High Aesthetic – works were concerned with supporting society as a whole (gender roles, class structure, etc…)
    • Low Aesthetic – works were considered to be corrosive because they went against the norms of that time period
  • The Gothic Movement was considered as Low Aestheticbecause it contradicted many of the notions of that time.
responses to the gothic movement
Responses to the Gothic Movement
  • Excerpts from “Gothic Threats” – Andrew Cooper
    • “Examinations of eighteenth-century critics’ condemnations of the Gothic reveals more than a widespread belief that the literature of terror threatened the social order in terrifying ways: it also reveals that critics took the task of defending society upon themselves, using their condemnations in an effort to shield the social order from the most dangerous Gothic texts. A strong political agenda either overtly or covertly informs the ‘supposedly’ aesthetic judgements of these critics-as-social-defenders” (18)
    • “While anxiety of the potential pernicious influence of certain kinds of art itself, the vehemence with the British critics condemned most Gothic novels in the politically and socially turbulent 1790s that the peak of the early Gothic’s popularity marked the beginning of a new era for the fear of literature’s generative potential” (18).
  • It is not difficult to see that Gothic literature would not have been seen as popular at that time. According or Markmen Ellis “For most of its history the institutions of literary criticism have largely ignored the Gothic novel” (12).
the mysteries of udolpho
The Mysteries of Udolpho
  • “Another gate delivered them into the second court, grass-grown and more wild than the first, where, as she surveyed through the twilight its desolation – its lofty walls, overtopt with briony, moss and nightshade, and the embattled towers that rose above, - long-suffering and murder came to her thoughts. One of those instantaneous and unaccountable convictions, which sometimes conquer even strong minds, impressed her with its horror.”
gothic vs romanticism
Gender Relations:

Class Structure:

Ideals of Virtue:

Polarized Stereotypes:

Gothic vs. Romanticism
gothic vs amatory fiction
Gender Relations:

Class Structure:

Ideals of Virtue:

Polarized Stereotypes:

Gothic vs. Amatory Fiction