Gothic Literature Summary
Gothic literature, a movement that focused on ruin, decay, death, terror, and chaos, and privileged irrationality and passion over rationality and reason, grew in response to the historical, sociological, psychological, and political contexts of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Although Horace Walpole is credited with producing the first Gothic novel, The Castle of Otranto, in 1764, his work was built on a foundation of several elements. First, Walpole tapped a growing fascination with all things medieval; and medieval romance provided a generic framework for his novel. In addition, Edmund Burke's 1757 treatise, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Sublime and Beautiful, offered a philosophical foundation. Finally, the Graveyard School of poetry, so called because of the attention poets gave to ruins, graveyards, death, and human mortality, flourished in the mid-eighteenth century and provided a thematic and literary context for the Gothic.
Walpole's novel was wildly popular, and his novel introduced...
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The Gothic Literature Study Pack contains about 595 pages of study material in 14 products, including:
Gothic Literature Study Guide
Encyclopedia Articles (1)
71,883 words, approx. 240 pages
Society, Culture, and the Gothic
RACE AND THE GOTHIC
WOMEN AND THE GOTHIC
The Gothic tradition originated in re...
Essays & Analysis (12)
6,726 words, approx. 23 pages
In the following essay, Ranger details the various motifs, settings, stock characters, narrative devices, and themes of the Gothic drama.
Neither eighteenth-century playwrights, nor members of their a...
18,112 words, approx. 61 pages
In the following excerpt, Cox provides an overview of the history of Gothic drama and an examination of its main features and themes.
On 14 December 1797, Matthew Gregory “Monk” Lewis...
5,975 words, approx. 20 pages
In the following essay, Reno explains the nearly universal critical objections to the appearance of ghosts onstage in Gothic plays performed in the late eighteenth century.
By the end of the eighteent...
18,163 words, approx. 61 pages
In the following essay, Backsheider maintains that the enormous popularity of Gothic drama can be accounted for by its ability to reproduce and contain the cultural anxieties that accompanied the era&...
3,508 words, approx. 12 pages
In the following essay, Hoeveler examines the social and political implications of the Gothic drama's popularity.
In Spectacular Politics (1993), Paula Backsheider suggested that gothic drama i...
4,700 words, approx. 16 pages
In the following essay, Thorp discusses strategies employed by Gothic playwrights to minimize the effects of the horrors they were staging.
The characteristic drama of the first years of the nineteent...
8,006 words, approx. 27 pages
In the following excerpt, Evans discusses the use of Gothic elements in the plays of the major Romantic poets: Wordsworth, Coleridge, Scott, Byron, and Shelley.
The purpose of this final chapter is to...
6,544 words, approx. 22 pages
In the following essay, Franceschina examines the contributions of female playwrights to the Gothic genre.
Ha! eternal curses! still will I have revenge!
The Old Oak Chest II.v.
13,605 words, approx. 46 pages
In the following essay, Gamer discusses the Gothic dramas of Matthew Lewis and Sir Walter Scott.
Of genius, in the fine arts, the only infallible sign is the widening of human sensibility … of ...
1,961 words, approx. 7 pages
The supernatural, or otherwise inexplicable events, is a feature of the Gothic genre. Ideas about the supernatural, including those found in superstitious beliefs, came into direct conflict with the r...
1,328 words, approx. 5 pages
I do not agree with the statement that gothic literature is nothing more than a collection of old horror stories. A type of romantic fiction that dominated English literature in the C18th and C19th, ...
846 words, approx. 3 pages
Mystery and fear is a notion that is presented invariably in almost every Gothic text available. It has become a distinctive characteristic of Gothic writing, and is conveyed by the authors through a ...