Essay on What is meant by the term gothic

1198 Words Oct 13th, 2013 5 Pages
What is meant by the term ‘gothic’?
How far and in what ways is ‘Frankenstein’ a gothic text?

Gothic literature, which is sometimes referred to as Gothic horror, is a genre that links horror and romance into one tale of ‘transgressing the boundaries’. Gothicism was unheard of until the late 1700’s, this movement into a new genre of literature. This was pioneered by the English author Horace Walpole, in his famous fictional book ‘The Castle of Otranto’, or as Walpole alternatively titled it ‘a Gothic story’. Horace Walpole himself had transgressed the boundaries slightly; by introducing this new style of writing he had added a whole new genre into literature. Walpole’s style of writing was unique and captivated the readers mind and
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The standard thought of somebody, when they are posed with the question ‘What do you understand about the term Gothic?’ would most likely be fairly predictable. The scene would be set in the heart of a dark, wet forest away from any normal civilisation. The building would be a dark and rundown old mansion in a large empty clearing with large empty rooms and halls. Gargoyles would be clinging to the exterior of the building, and a decrepit, collapsed roof leaking and dripping in the driving rain. When the innocent traveller knocks on the door hoping to gain refuge and shelter from the storm, he is greeted by an emaciated, gangly butler who invites them in, as they fail to notice the menacing grin as they enter the dark, badly lit and claustrophobic corridor. The scene created is one of fear and horror which is typical of Gothicism. All these features are motifs in Gothic literature.
These tools are what all authors of Gothic literature use without exception. This is for the simple reason that these tools are what keep the genre of Gothic literature alive. The author uses the reader’s natural, urge for adrenalin boost and thrill, through suspense and mystery to make the book successful. In almost every Gothic text, the reader is in a position of dramatic irony where he or she can see everything happening and unfolding, without the ability to stop it.
Another one of the main reasons, as to why Gothic Literature is such a success is because;

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