Gothic Literature

Journal :
What do you think of when you
hear the term “Gothic”? What
does it make you imagine, see,
hear, etc. ?
creation of literary works that
employed such late medieval
backdrops to explore dark
aspects of human nature and the
- emotional extremes
- Dark themes
-Dark side of human
-The things we fear and
often don’t like to talk
1782 painting by Henry Fuseli, titled “The
Gothic refers to a style
of architecture started
in the middle ages.
Ex: Notre Dame Cathedral
Synonymous with the
Middle Ages = uncivilized
& dark.
Enjoyed a revival in the
eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries.
Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris,
Beginnings of Gothic
First Gothic novel: The Castle of Otranto, by Horace
Walpole, 1765.
Suspenseful, medieval, remote setting, supernatural
Based on Gothic architecture and draw from previous
supernatural literature, such as Shakespeare’s Macbeth
and Hamlet
Beginnings Continued…
- Ann Radcliffe: The first great Gothic
- A Sicilian Romance (1790), Mysteries of
Udolpho (1794), and The Italian (1797).
- Wrote The Italian as a response to
Lewis’s The Monk
- Gave rise to division in Gothic
literature: “Terror Gothic” and
“Horror Gothic”
Industrial revolution
and political setting
in the 18th and 19th
Centuries made
people afraid.
Gives an opportunity
to have an emotional
outlet for fears
“Prse de la Bastille” (“Storming the
Bastille”) by Jean-Pierre Houël (17351813)
Gothic Fiction in the
Nineteenth Century
The Contest: Byron, Percy Bysshe
Shelley, Mary Shelley and John
William Polidori at the Villa
Diodati on the banks of Lake
Geneva in the summer of 1816.
Birth of Mary Shelley's
Frankenstein (1818) and
Polidori's The Vampyre (1819).
Frankenstein, or The
Modern Prometheus
Written by Mary Shelly
in 1818.
Mary conceived an idea
after she fell into a
“waking dream” during
which she saw "the pale
student of unhallowed
arts kneeling beside the
thing he had put
Theme of the dangers of
science & playing God.
Considered the first SciFi novel, but written as a
tale of terror.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Written in 1897
Didn’t invent the vampire, but
has been responsible for many
interpretations of the vampire
in the 20th and 21st centuries
Gary Oldman in Bram Stoker’s
American Gothic
- Poe:
The connection between
Gothic fiction and detective
Transformed Gothic into a
psychological process.
Relying on tone, mood, and
Wrote: “The Raven,” “Tell-Tale
Heart,” etc.
“Deep into that darkness
peering, long I stood there,
wondering, fearing, doubting,
dreaming dreams no mortal
ever dared to dream before.”
“The Raven” - Edgar Allen Poe
Gothic Today
Everything from Vampires to Monsters
Point more toward horror
Authors: Ann Rice, Clive Barker, Stephen King, Dean
Koontz, and Stephenie Meyer, etc.
Types: Urban Legends, Ghost Stories, Horror Novels,
Suspense and Horror Movies
Characteristics of Gothic
A castle, ruined or intact,
haunted or not
Ruined buildings, which are
Dungeons, underground
passages, crypts, labyrinths,
dark corridors, etc.
Shadows, a flickering candle, or
light failing
Omens and ancestral curses
Magic, supernatural beings, or
suggestion of supernatural
A passion-driven, willful villainhero, or villain
A curious heroine with a
tendency to need rescuing
A hero with a hidden identity,
revealed at the end
Horrifying events or threat of
horrifying events.
Terror vs. Horror
Intense, sharp,
overmastering fear.
an overwhelming and
painful feeling
caused by something
frightfully shocking,
terrifying, or
revolting; a
shuddering fear .
Physical, more animal
in nature.
How do they do it?
Setting: Dark and sinister
Mood/Tone: melancholy
Literary devices: relies heavily on
Imagery to make you feel and see
what’s going on.
Also use similes, metaphors,
characters, etc.
The Plot Outline
Exposition: What we need to know to start the story. It
Characters: direct the action. Usually a protagonist and antagonist, as well as
major and minor characters
Setting: Where, when, it takes place
Conflict: The problem
Inciting Incident: What starts the action
Rising Action: Events leading to the climax
Climax: The point of no return, the turning point
Falling Action: Events that lead to the resolution
Resolution: How the conflict is resolved for good or bad
Theme: The message/purpose of the book or story.
More Plot Elements
Point of View: Who’s telling the story. (is it
a character, a narrator, the author, etc.)
Protagonist: The hero or “good guy” in the
Antagonist: The villain or “bad guy” in the
Tone: Author’s attitude toward the subject
of the story
Mood: How the author wants you to feel
Literary Elements: Used to
create a picture and help you see and
feel the story.
Metaphor: a direct comparison between two unlike
 Example: He is a pig.
Simile: a comparison using like or as
 Example: He ate like a pig.
Imagery: language used to invoke the senses
Symbol: Something used to represent something
 Ex: red light represents stop

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