Gothic Literature Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 43 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Gothic Literature.
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Terror and horror are the project of the Gothic novelist. Drawing on the work of Edmund Burke, Ann Radcliffe distinguished between the two terms, suggesting that terror grows out of suspense while horror produces disgust. In other words, a character experiences terror in the anticipation of some dreaded event; she experiences horror when the event really happens. Thus, in Radcliffe's novels, there is an emphasis on terror and the terrible, which she creates through her long descriptions of sublime landscapes and her intimations of the supernatural. Moreover, the agonizing suspense to which she subjects her characters produces terror in both the character and the reader. However, the eventual explanation of all things supernatural relieves her reader from the experience of horror. Lewis, on the other hand, chooses horror for his novels. His prose focuses on the details of the horrible, including torture and putrefaction. In Lewis's...

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This section contains 846 words
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Buy the Gothic Literature Study Guide
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Literary Movements for Students
Gothic Literature from Literary Movements for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.