Suspense In Gothic Fiction

1807 Words8 Pages
The detective story usually places its characters into an old house, a mansion, and the feeling of claustrophobia and mystery arises from darkness, shadows, stormy weather and light strange reflections. Atmosphere of Gothic suspense came from the threatening feeling or fear enhanced by the unknown. At times, characters did not know their ancestors and could not say where they came from (Day 1985: 123). Undoubtedly, an atmosphere of mystery and suspense is present in both kinds of productions. Works are pervaded by a threatening feeling, a fear enhanced by the unknown. As it can be checked in the explained characteristics, suspense lies in open connection with the state of uncertainty, tension and anxiety… in some cases unbearable without a…show more content…
Falling statues presaging somebody’s death, terrible dreams which soon became reality... were an essential part of the Gothic novel. In detective fiction, a character may see a shadowy figure committing a crime against another one and explain to himself it was only a dream but in the end it turns out that the whole scene had been real (Harris 2008: 1). Omens, portents, and/or visions do also shape the works classified under these two genres: a character may have a disturbing dream, a vision, or some phenomenon may be seen as a portent of coming events. For example, if a statue falls off, it may forebode someone’s death. In detective fiction, a character might see something (a shadowy figure stabbing another one) and think that it was a…show more content…
Emotional, astounding events occur, such as ghosts walking around, or inanimate objects (a painting, or the one used by cinema: a suit of armour coming to life) coming to life. This was the most dramatic and amazing event that occurred in the novels. Ghosts were seen walking, talking and even bleeding just like Lewis ' bleeding nun. Giants appeared or a painting of a deceased fell of the wall just as one of the characters tries to escape. In their writings, many authors present the explained and the unexplained supernatural, but by reversing their proper order (Miles, 2002: 53). The supernatural disappeared from most of today 's detective stories. Sometimes it occurs but is soon given a logical explanation (Harris 2008: 1). In detective fiction works, the events are ultimately given a natural explanation, while in the former, the events may be truly unnatural. However, there are some famous examples where supernatural, so present in the very genesis of the Gothic, is also manifest in detective fiction: Sheridan Le Fanu’s Dr. Hesselius, whose purpose is to discover the vampire nature of Carmilla (homonymous Carmilla); John Silence, Algernon Blackwood’s psychic researcher; occultist Dion Fortune’s Dr. Rhodes, a skilled reasoner who appeals to magic as well; Aleister Crowley’s Simon Iff, both a detective and a necromancer; Seabury Quinn’s Jules de Grandin, researcher and lycanthrope hunter; Manly
Open Document