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Gothic Literature

Gothic Literature

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Gothic Literature

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  1. Gothic Literature By Myriam Miller

  2. History of the term “Gothic” • The term Gothic can refer to many things: • Style of Art such as novels, paintings, architecture and even music and its fans. • The term “gothic” was used because of the art’s resemblance to the Goths and their way of life and their language. (De Vore et al, 1)

  3. History of the Goths • One of the many Germanic Tribes who fought battles against the Roman Empire. • Goths originated in southern Sweden and were led by their king Berig to the shore of the Baltic Sea where they split into two separate groups: • Visigoths (the west Goths) • Ostrogoths (the east Goths) (De Vore et al, 1)

  4. Why the reference? • After the Goths’ history faded into that of the countries they conquered, many years had to pass before the reference was made by the Europeans. The Europeans rediscovered the Greco-Roman culture and began calling the architecture made in the Middle Ages as “gothic”. This was because of how barbaric the buildings looked. • Centuries had to pass before the reference to gothic novels appeared. This was because the gothic novels were set in these barbaric buildings that were made in the Middle Ages such as mansions, castles and abbeys. (De Vore et al, 1)

  5. Elements of Gothic Literature • Gothic literature falls into the category of the Romantic literature. It emerged in England from 1790 to 1830. • It is based on the petrifying writing that can be dated back to the Middle Ages. (De Vore et al, 2) Google images

  6. Elements of Gothic Literature • Castle Setting: • A gothic novel can take place in an abandoned or occupied castle that has secret passages, trap doors, secret rooms, dark or hidden passageways, some of the castle can also be in ruins. • An Atmosphere of mystery and suspense: • The plot of a novel can be built around a mystery and involves a feeling of terror or an enhanced fear of the unknown. • An Ancient prophecy: • This prophecy could be associated with either the castle itself or the characters; it could be “obscure, partial or confusing.” • Omens, portents, visions: • This could include a character having a dream vision. (Harris, 1)

  7. Elements of Goth Literature • Supernatural or inexplicable events: • Can contain ghosts walking, giants walking, or innate objects coming to life. • High, even overwrought emotion: • The narration of the story can be very emotional and the characters can be overwhelmed by anger, sorrow, surprise and of course terror. • Damsel in distress: • Just like in any fairytale, there is always a woman who needs rescuing from an overbearing male. The women can experience many negative emotions and is usually the “center of attention” of the novel. • Woman threatened by a powerful, impulsive, tyrannical male: • This could mean that a dominate male such as a king, lord of the castle, father or guardian could be the reason of the damsel’s distress. (Harris, 1&2)

  8. Elements of Gothic Literature “Metonymy is a subtype of metaphor, in which something (like rain)is used to stand for something else (like sorrow)” (Harris, 2). • Metonymies for “doom and gloom”: • Wind (especially howling) Rain (especially blowing) • Doors grating on rusty hinges Sighs, moans, howls, eerie sounds • Footsteps approaching Clanking chains • Lights in abandoned room Gusts of wind blowing out lights • Characters trapped in a room Doors suddenly slamming shut • Ruins of a building Baying of distant dogs or wolves • Thunder and lightning Crazed Laughter • Vocabulary is used to create and set the mood of the novels atmosphere. • (Harris,2)

  9. Elements of Gothic Literature: Vocabulary (Harris, 3)

  10. Gothic Criticism • “Presentation of the unpresentable” • It is said that Gothic novels helps readers understand feelings and other ideas through horror. • Having to struggle for happiness, it is a metaphor for having to endure the different obstacles in reality. • These struggles are the “focal point” of a Gothic novel, so it seems. (De Vore et al, 3)

  11. Great Gothic Reads! • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë • Dracula by Bram Stoker • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson • Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen • The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux • The Raven and other Poems by Edgar Allen Pope • The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jaskon • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley • Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (Good Reads)

  12. Works Cited "Best Gothic Books Of All Time." Best Gothic Books Of All Time (190 Books). Good Reads, n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2012. <>. De Vore, David, Anne Domenic, Alexandra Kwan, and Nicole Reidy. "The Gothic Novel."The Gothic Novel. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2012. <>. Harris, Robert. "Elements of the Gothic Novel." Elements of the Gothic Novel. Virtual Salt, 22 Nov. 2011. Web. 16 Sept. 2012. <>.