Origins of gothic literature

Contact Author Source InHorace Walpole introduced to the world a new genre of literature known as Gothic fiction. He employed elements of the supernatural as well as the everyday in a manner to strike fear into the reader. This was the first time they were used for the purpose of terrifying its audience. Simply put, it is a device used in the story to cause fear in the reader.

Origins of gothic literature

Today, the Gothic genre remains firmly embedded in popular culture, illustrated by the popularity of Gothic writers like Angela Carter, and the continuing demand for horror films. But where did Gothic literature originate? Throughout the 18th century, the phenomenon of the Gothic emerged and flourished across Britain.

Illustration from The Castle of Otranto The story follows Manfred, the Prince of Otranto, who, in order to ensure an heir to his estate, decides to arrange a marriage between his only son, Conrad, and the aristocratic Isabella.

About interestingliterature

However, in a dramatic turn of events, Conrad is crushed to death by a large helmet before the wedding. Desperate to produce an heir, Manfred attempts to pursue and impregnate Isabella, prompting a series of supernatural events.

The Castle of Otranto also influenced several elements of Gothic fiction with its accounts of mistaken identity, labyrinthine passages and ancient castles.

Origins of gothic literature

Frontispiece to The Old English Baron The story follows the tribulations of Edmund, who has been dispossessed of his inheritance by his malicious uncle.

While The Old English Baron is little-known today, the work was immensely popular with 18th and 19th century readers.

What Is Gothic Literature?

So much so, that by the end of the 19th century, the work had been published in at least nineteen editions. Image sourced from W. This movement gained popularity following the first ever translation of the Arabian Nights by the French writer, Antonine Galland. Set amongst the foreboding Apennine Mountains, The Mysteries of Udolpho follows the orphaned heroine, Emily, who is left to the mercy of her malevolent uncle, Montoni.

Loved by the public, but condemned by literary critics, The Monk introduced readers to the realms of horror, which marked a key development in the history of Gothic literature. Following the publication of The Monk, Lewis was subject to intense criticism.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge attacked The Monk for its corrupting influence on the young, stating that if a parent were to see it: Henry Fuseli The Nightmare. Image sourced from Tate Britain.Gothic style is a cultural trend that has outlived its time.

There is so much of Gothic architecture and literature around us.

The origins of Gothic Literature - Printed Pearls

To know the origin of Gothic. His work shows the close connection between Gothic fiction and detective fiction, which grows out of the Gothic, and the continuing overlap between Gothic fiction and science fiction.

The modern ghost story developed late in the nineteenth century, which was a . Professor John Mullan examines the origins of the Gothic, explaining how the genre became one of the most popular of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and the subsequent integration of Gothic elements into mainstream Victorian fiction.

Origins of gothic literature

In , Horace Walpole introduced to the world a new genre of literature known as Gothic fiction. He employed elements of the supernatural as well as the everyday in a manner to strike fear into the reader. Oct 31,  · The Goths and the Origins of Gothic Literature The Goths, as recounted by a Gothic historian named Jordanes (mid 6th Century AD), were a Teutonic-Germanic people whose original homeland was, according to this same Jordanes, in southern Sweden.

The s was the decade of literary forgeries. One of the most famous forgeries which that decade produced, Horace Walpole’s book The Castle of Otranto, was responsible for founding the Gothic novel genre.

BBC - iWonder - Spine-chillers and suspense: A timeline of Gothic fiction