Gothic Literature Criticism

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Gothic literature has elicited spirited critical debate from its earliest days. According to Botting in his book, The Gothic:

Between 1790 and 1810, critics were almost univocal
in their condemnation of what was seem as an
unending torrent of popular trashy novels. Intensified
by fears of radicalism and revolution, the challenge
to aesthetic values was framed in terms of social
transgression: virtue, property and domestic order
were considered to be under threat.





Such reactions from critics are not surprising. The aesthetic values of the eighteenth century included order, proportion, and decorum, based largely on classical models from the Greeks and Romans. Works of art (including literature and architecture) that flouted these conventions and took shape from the medieval past were looked upon as inferior, so much so that the term "Gothic" was applied to anything that seemed barbarous or hideous. However, while Gothic literature may have been scorned by the...

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This section contains 642 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Gothic Literature Study Guide
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Gothic Literature from Literary Movements for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.