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The Gothic. A genre of spooky stories. The Gothic Movement. A reaction to Enlightenment rationalism, which was concerned with classical principles and scientific progress.
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The Gothic A genre of spooky stories
The Gothic Movement A reaction to Enlightenment rationalism, which was concerned with classical principles and scientific progress. Gothic novels drew upon the conventions of the medieval (chivalric) romances that told of knights battling with magic and monsters. Presented a protagonist’s immersion into a dark, horrific realm Reintroduced supernatural elements into fiction.
The Gothic Deals with difficult-to-express issues and anxieties. Boundaries or limits (political, philosophical, sexual, etc.) are both established and challenged in Gothic fiction. Blurring or disruptions of borders are common (e.g., inside/outside, illusion/reality, masculine/feminine, material/spiritual, good/evil) Initially considered to be of low literary quality.
Conventions of the Gothic Scientific tone (fantastic events observed through experiment or verified by observation) Family secrets Puzzling figures with supernatural powers Specific reference to noon, midnight, twilight (the witching hours) Use of traditionally "magical" numbers such as 3, 7, 13
Elements of the Gothic? Let’s watch a clip and make a list…
Gothic Setting • In an old castle • An atmosphere of mystery and suspense • An ancient prophecy • Omens, portents, visions • Supernatural or otherwise inexplicable events • Unnatural acts of nature (blood-red moon, sudden fierce wind, etc.) • Marvelous or mysterious creatures, monsters, spirits, or strangers
Gothic Plot High, even overwrought emotion Women in distress Women threatened by a powerful, impulsive, tyrannical male
Metonymy: gloom and horror wind, especially howling rain, especially blowing doors grating on rusty hinges sighs, moans, howls, eerie sounds footsteps approaching clanking chains lights in abandoned rooms gusts of wind blowing out lights characters trapped in a room doors suddenly slamming shut ruins of buildings baying of distant dogs (or wolves?) thunder and lightning crazed laughter Metonymy defined: a figure of speech in which something related to a thing or suggested by it is substituted for the thing itself. Ex. Using the word crown instead of king.
Modern Gothic Examples Southern Gothic subgenre (more on this another day) Interview with the Vampire, by Anne Rice The Shining, by Stephen King “The Tell-Tale Heart,” by Edgar Allen Poe “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” by Washington Irving Twilight Series, by Stephanie Meyer
Frankenstein as Gothic Judge for yourself… Reading Schedule: Chapters 1-3 for Friday, Feb. 26 Chapters 4-9 for March 1