The gothic novel
At the end of the 18th
century, sensibility’s value was questioned.
The plot of the Gothic novel takes place in a distant time and place.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE GOTHIC NOVEL:
- Setting: remote, old castles, cloisters, of the with underground labyrinths
- Time: the plot is set mostly in the “dark” middle ages or in foreign countries in previous centuries
- Characters: strongly typified “flat” black and white characters, clear contras between demonic evil and idealised figures.
- Plot: many mysterious supernatural events, suspense, chasing-haunting of the innocent.
- Narrator: preference of omniscient narrator.
- Other factors: ghosts, magic, prophecies, storms, tempest
The Gothic novel challenges the emphasis on reason, control and order:
- explores the deepest recesses of human psychology (Frankenstein)
- stresses the macabre, the unusual and fantastic
- prefers the realities of subjective imagination
- the worlds depicted represent a clear challenge to the existing order and to rational thought and social organisation
- the Gothic is a subversive tradition in writing
Best known representatives of the gothic novel:
Horace Walpole - The castle of Otranto
Mary Shelley - Frankenstein
Ann Radcliff – The mysteries of Udolfo
Matthew Lewis – The monk