Although Horace Walpole is credited with producing the first Gothic novel, The Castle of Otranto, in , his work was built on a foundation of several elements. First, Walpole tapped a growing fascination with all things medieval, and medieval romance provided a generic framework for his novel. Finally, the Graveyard School of poetry, so called because of the attention its poets gave to ruins, graveyards, death, and human mortality, flourished in the mid-eighteenth century and provided a thematic and literary context for the Gothic. While it may be comparatively easy to date the beginning of the Gothic movement, it is much harder to identify its close, if indeed the movement did come to a close at all. Jekyll and Mr.
|Published (Last):||1 October 2005|
|PDF File Size:||9.5 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||5.99 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
Although Horace Walpole is credited with producing the first Gothic novel, The Castle of Otranto, in , his work was built on a foundation of several elements. First, Walpole tapped a growing fascination with all things medieval, and medieval romance provided a generic framework for his novel. Finally, the Graveyard School of poetry, so called because of the attention its poets gave to ruins, graveyards, death, and human mortality, flourished in the mid-eighteenth century and provided a thematic and literary context for the Gothic.
While it may be comparatively easy to date the beginning of the Gothic movement, it is much harder to identify its close, if indeed the movement did come to a close at all. Jekyll and Mr.
Hyde in the nineteenth century demonstrates both the transformation and the influence of the Gothic. In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the ongoing fascination with horror, terror, the supernatural, vampires, werewolves, and other things that go bump in the night evinces the power the Gothic continues to exert. In its attention to the dark side of human nature and the chaos of irrationality, the Gothic provides for contemporary readers some insight into the social and intellectual climate of the time in which the literature was produced.
A time of revolution and reason, madness and sanity, the s through the s provided the stuff that both dreams and nightmares were made of. William Beckford — William Beckford, known as both the richest and most eccentric man of his time, was born September 29, , in London, England.
By all accounts, Beckford was brilliant, musically gifted, and highly artistic. He was also scandalous and hedonistic. Rather, young Beckford preferred to travel, write, spend money, and collect art. He would remain in England until the scandals mounted and then would retreat to the Continent for a cooling-off period. He married in in a movement to save whatever was left of his reputation; however, his wife died in childbirth in During this time, Beckford built and rebuilt Fonthill Abbey, considered either the most amazing building or the greatest monstrosity in England at the close of the eighteenth century.
Like Horace Walpole, only much, much wealthier, Beckford indulged his passion for the Gothic and for collecting art with his domicile. At an early age, he read and reread The Arabian Nights. This passion led directly to his composition of Vathek in Beckford died on May 2, , at Lansdowne Crescent, after battling fever and influenza.
She lost her mother and two of her sisters when she was very young, which brought the remaining family members—father, son, and three daughters—closer together. The sisters each published novels, as well. She died on December 19, , at age 30, from tuberculosis, only a few months after the death of her brother Branwell.
Anne died five months later, leaving only Charlotte and her father. Although he began his education with the intent to become a lawyer, the law soon lost its appeal for him. This sense of morality often led Brown to take socially radical stances. In this, he seems deeply connected to and influenced by William Godwin. It is for Wieland , however, that Brown earned his reputation as a Gothic writer.
Brown died in Philadelphia in February of , probably from tuberculosis. Lewis attended school in Westminster and Oxford. He traveled to Germany in , where he learned to speak German. While there, he became well-acquainted with German Gothic fiction. Tradition has it that he completed the work in ten weeks and that it instantly made him a literary star at the age of twenty.
Indeed, for the rest of his life, Lewis was referred to by his contemporaries as Monk Lewis. Lewis introduced graphic horror into the Gothic genre, describing in great detail physical torture and putrefaction, as well as steamy sexual encounters. Whereas Radcliffe relied on suspense, or the fear of violence, Lewis abandons the fear of violence for the violence itself.
Unlike Radcliffe, Lewis used supernatural devices without feeling compelled to offer rational explanations for uncanny events. It was through such techniques that Lewis incorporated German popular literature into the mainstream of English literature. Lewis died of yellow fever in May of , on the way home from Jamaica, where he had been visiting his inherited holdings.
Maturin attended Trinity College, Dublin. His family, noted Huguenot refugees active in the Anglo-Irish community, met with reversal when his father was dismissed from his civil service job.
Maturin, who had taken orders in the Anglican Church in , attempted to augment his living by writing. Some attribute his growing eccentricities to his attempts to deal with poverty. Certainly, both his nationalism and his criticism of the Anglican Church did not endear him to the Anglo-Irish community. The author of several novels, Maturin is best known for Melmoth the Wanderer Many historians and literary critics call this both thelastand thegreatestofthe Gothic novels.
Maturin died at the age of forty-four on October 30, , in Dublin. He was orphaned at three and raised by John Allen, with whom he had an uneasy lifelong relationship. Poe was a victim of depression; he turned to alcohol for relief and eventually became an alcoholic. His marriage to his beloved cousin Virginia Clemm ended with her death in While many critics suggest that Poe is a post-Gothic writer, he nevertheless used many Gothic conventions in his own work, including medieval settings, supernatural occurrences, terror, and architectural ruins.
Moreover, Poe is particularly important to the ongoing influence of the Gothic on contemporary literature, moving the genre from an external to an internal psychological focus. Poe died in Baltimore on October 7, , from complications related to a brain lesion.
Ann Radcliffe — Ann Radcliffe, born Ann Ward in London on July 9, , wrote a series of Gothic romances that set the course of the genre for years to come. They had no children and traveled extensively. Unlike other more notorious Gothic writers, Radcliffe lived in relative obscurity, although she achieved immense success with her novels. In , Radcliffe published what was to become the most popular of her novels, The Mysteries of Udolpho.
Like other Gothic novels, The Mysteries of Udolpho is set in rugged mountains. Alastair Fowler in The Oxford Illustrated History of English Literature credits Radcliffe with establishing "wild landscape as a standard feature of romance; even if, as she wrote, the full terror of landscape was already fading.
Ann Radcliffe died suddenly in London on February 7, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley — Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, born in London on August 30, , to feminist Mary Wollstone-craft and William Godwin , moved in the most radical literary circles of her day. At sixteen, she became the mistress of the poet Percy Shelley and a close personal friend of George Gordon, Lord Byron. The death of her mother when she was ten days old haunted her all her life.
Mary Godwin, as the daughter of two intellectuals, was well educated and self-taught, able to hold her own with some of the best minds of her time.
Six years later, Percy Shelley died by drowning in the Ligurian Sea. Mary Shelley died in London from a brain tumor on February 1, Her work continues to exert influence on contemporary fiction and criticism. Gray in particular influenced Walpole in his development of a Gothic imagination. In , Walpole toured the Continent with Gray, crossing the Alps, another important influence on his development as a Gothic writer. For nearly thirty years, Walpole built and rebuilt the house, turning it into a "little Gothic castle," in his own words.
Walpole also established a private press at Strawberry Hill, and it was from here that he published his most famous work, The Castle of Otranto,in December Initially, Walpole hid the fact that he was the author of the work, saying that it was a translation by William Marshall of a medieval Italian text. The book met with success, however, and in the second edition, Walpole revealed his own authorship. He told a friend in a letter that the idea for the novel had come to him in a dream.
The Castle of Otranto is particularly significant because it was the first Gothic novel written. Indeed, the novel provided for later writers nearly every convention found in subsequent Gothic writing. After a long life of letters, politics, and architectural innovations, Walpole died at Berkeley Square, London, on March 2, Set in some undefined medieval past, the novel draws on heroic romance as well as legends and folklore.
In this one novel, Walpole established virtually every convention of Gothic literature. These include the Gothic castle, a presence so real as to nearly be a character in and of itself. He also uses gloomy weather, clanking chains, midnight bells, and subterranean passageways. The story is a strange one: Manfred, Prince of Otranto, has one son, Conrad.
Manfred decides to put away his wife and take Isabella as his wife in order to continue his line. This is not something Isabella wants and thus begins the chase and imprisonment. In due time, readers find that the peasant Isabella encounters in the passageways is really the true heir of Otranto; the death of Conrad was in repayment for the sins of his father.
It is impossible to overestimate the influence this novel has had on the course of Gothic writing. Dracula Dracula was first published in by Bram Stoker , an Irish writer and theater manager.
The novel is part of the Victorian Gothic period, a resurgence of Gothic literature that appeared approximately a century after the first Gothic literary movement started by Walpole.
Stoker spent a year researching vampires and folklore before writing his novel. The tale is epistolary or told through letters and journal entries.
Jonathan Harker, a young lawyer, visits Count Dracula in the Carpathian Mountains to give him real estate advice. When Lucy suddenly dies after being attacked by a wolf-like creature, Van Helsing finds her living as a vampire and kills her permanently.
Mina marries Harker but Dracula does not give up, feeding her his blood to create a bond between them. Van Helsing and Harker use this bond to find out where Dracula is hiding. In the final confrontation, Dracula is killed and turns to dust, freeing Mina from their connection. Mina and Harker live happily thereafter. Fred Botting, in Gothic writes, "The house is both a Gothic manifestation, an architectural ruin set in a desolate and gloomy landscape and a family equally in decay, dying from an unknown and incurable disease.
Unlike earlier Gothic novels, however, the plot of "The Fall of the House of Usher" is not episodic, but rather builds steadily and intensely to its nearly excessive climax, when, just as Roderick Usher announces he has buried his sister alive, she bursts through the door, and the entire house collapses.
Poe concentrates on "avoiding all impressions alien to his effect," thereby giving "his tales an extraordinary unity of tone and colour," according to Edith Birkhead in her seminal book, The Tale of Terror: A Study of the Gothic Romance.
A guidebook to the language of the most shadowy of subcultures, this work collects and defines more than Gothic words and phrases. Compiled by an acclaimed Goth journalist and poet, this compendium provides insight into the unique vernacular of this fascinating community, describing in detail and with black humor the fashion, music, and lifestyle as well as sharing insider slang such as Babybat, Corp Goth, and the Gothic Two-Step. A Goth Band Family Tree and essential Goth listening, reading, and viewing recommendations are also included in this phantasmagorical work. Despite their spiky, menacing exterior, Encyclopedia Gothica details a culture as harmless and geeky as your average Star Wars fanboy or Kiss Army foot soldier. She writes a music column for Rue Morgue magazine and hosts a weekly all-horror podcast on Rue Morgue Radio.