The prevalent atmosphere is a doom and gloomy one, in order for incomprehensible situations to take place. Some of the most known Gothic novels are Frankenstein, Dracula, Wuthering Heights, stories written by Edgar Allen Poe. According to Crystal B. Lake, the Gothic literature expose and play with the unknown, hidden parts of society or of ourselves hence what makes it so terrifying is the fact that it brings into the light, it gives a voice to
Gothic as a literary genre has generally been associated with descriptions of frightening events that produce an atmosphere of mystery and uncertity, concepts that in the end provide the suspension of disbelief so important to the Gothic fiction. Described by many as “a literature of crisis”, the Gothic can be understood as a linguistic assertion where “the anxieties of a culture find their most explicit expression” (Daly, 1997: 184), reflecting thus the political, social and cultural context in which they were written. Relevant to point out is that by the end of the Victorian period Gothic fiction had ceased to be the prevailing genre and was overlooked by most critics, however, in many ways, it was now arriving to its most creative stage with authors such as Mary Shelley, Edgard Allan Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson and many others. This was the context in which Bram Stoker wrote “one of the most horrifying books in English literature” (Henderson, 1976: 607) Dracula, a narrative that provides a case study about a powerful cultural myth which is interpreted, as Eleni Coundouriotis notes, “in terms of Eastern Euopean Folklore” (1999: 143). As a result, the clash between Britain’s view of Romania, or better said, Stoker’s depiction of it, and the country’s own identity cannot concur in their representation.
The Brief Introduction to Gothic Literature The word “gothic” is once closely connected with the meaning of brutality in the early history. Thus, the corresponding literature with gothic features is deemed as a sort of literature that goes beyond the field of main trend of literature. And through a long period, the type of literature is accepted by people and step into its historic stage. The gothic literature possesses its own typical features. For instance, the horrible atmosphere, the existence of supernatural, the contradictions of characters, the complicated conflicts of morality and evilness.
These gothic novels showcased events that were about the supernatural and were laced with violent passions, horror, terror and exaggerations. The typical story was far from the shores of rationalistic England, it was rather somewhere in faraway south. The name of Ann Radcliff is associated with this type of fiction. Italy kept returning as the background of these fictions. But geography is not the only factor.
In Dracula, Stoker portrays the presence of good vs evil by contrasting the two in a straightforward and odd manner. The characters interact having different sides, but sometimes couldn’t tell if a specific character has a personality of goodness in themselves or not. The main character in the novel, Dracula, is considered evil. His appearance and expressions that appear seem to have an evil sense to the others characters. The book also shows elements of gothicism, when the setting starts to turn into the daytime to nighttime quickly, which represents the role of light going against darkness.
The supernatural is one of the elements of Romanticism. It may not be one of the more major ones such as nature or emotions, but it is a relevant one in Shelley 's novel, Frankenstein. It is very difficult to discuss only one of the traces of the romantic movement in a novel as they are all interconnected. The supernatural, for example, is very hard to distinguish from nature as an element in some scenes in the novel as there is a very thin line differentiating all the elements from one another. Furthermore, supernature can also be related to Gothic literature, which makes it hard to identify the exact genre of the novel.
1) Introduction The word gothic, although usually perceived as a person with a specific fashion statement, is a subculture consisting of different elements: architecture, music and literature. With Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto being published anonymously in 1764 , a whole new literary subgenre of Romanticism was born - which had a major impact on the development and shaping of punk music and aesthetic later on. While gothic did exist simultaneously with and within romanticism, this was not unique and also the case for other literary movements: realism, transcendental movement (in America) and existentialism . Romanticism ended with the start of Victorian period whilst gothic was yet to cease to exist. This caused gothic fiction to split up into different categorizations, each category taking elements from the movements that exist concurrently.
When Poe appeared on the American literary scene, more than seventy years old tradition in Gothic writing existed. At its best, Gothic literature evokes the emotional response from its readers as do nightmares and night terrors. Edgar Allan Poe was an American poet, short story writer, editor, critic, essayist and one of the leaders of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of the macabre and mystery, Poe was one of the early American practitioners of the short story and a pioneer of detective fiction. When Poe appeared on the American literary scene, more than seventy years old tradition in Gothic writing existed.
I shall try to demonstrate in the literature review chapter The Gothic Aesthetic: Overview and Assessment that “gothic” is indeed a controversial term through providing an overview of the complexity of the gothic arena and its continuity to modern times, stressing certain conventions and affinities which relate to the works of Mantel. In the second chapter Fludd: The Haunting of the Past, I shall demonstrate that this novel contains the gothic element of anti-Catholicism, secrets, transubstantiation, transformation and the representation of the devil, all of which belong to the gothic tradition. Relying on the psychoanalytical theories of Sigmund Freud and Julia Kristeva, this chapter is devoted to decipher the gothic symbols presented in the novel. A great deal of the examination will be concerned in identifying the ways in which the main character the alchemist called Fludd personifies the
Bram Stoker was born in born in Dublin, Ireland in 1847 (Britannica). For much of his life Stoker was a writer, he published his first book The Snake’s Path in 1890. His most popular book Dracula came out seven years later (Britannica). The time in which Stoker wrote books was known as the Victorian era (Victorian Era). “Victorian novels tend to be idealized portraits of difficult lives in which hard work, perseverance, love, and luck win out in the end” (Victorian Era).