This product is a full investigation into how the Gothic tradition in English Literature came about. Chaptered, researched and fully referenced, the study looks back at English History which forged the first officially recognised Gothic Novel - The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole (1765), and the traditions used by the author to afford a belief in what was being read - and subsequently copied, developed and embraced by authors for many centuries after.
This study into the development of the first authentic Gothic Novels of the 18th century comes after a deep fascination with the novels of Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and Robert Louis Stevenson. The three authors set themselves a challenge to write the most Gothic of novels – and out of that challenge came three of the most ground-breaking, inspiring, ever-popular novels within the Gothic genre (Dracula, Frankenstein and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde).
But where did this tradition for dark, atmospheric novels come from? What inspired these three authors to create the classic novels?
This study goes back through time, to investigate the social anxieties of the period, and how authors used this period of time to create novels which provided the reader with a sense of escape. In attempting to meet those needs, dramatic changes occurred within literary styles and material.
- Abstract - why study this area of literary text?
- Introduction - the aims of the study and context
- Definition of, and influences upon the Gothic Novel
- A historical setting for the study
- The relationship of the Gothic Novel towards the reader
- Walpole's contribution to the Gothic genre within English Literature
A return to the first successful Gothic novel, written by Horace Walpole entitled The Castle of Otranto (1765) will look closely at society’s influences upon the author, together with his intentions in writing the novel. In doing this, further and wider issues are addressed within the genre, such as,
- Why did it become the Gothic novel?
- How did it attempt to satisfy the needs of the reader at that time (and in subsequent years)?
- How influential was Walpole’s novel to the development of the genre?
- How was Walpole able to produce such a dramatic change within the literary expectations and address a number of taboo areas for the period without causing an undesirable response?
The acquisition to these initial questions provides a framework for the study, enabling it to be organised in a clear and concise way – together with many fully referenced and relevant links to literary theorists to support the developing argument. The initial chapters define the gothic novel in general terms and places it within a historical setting, whilst later chapters focus upon the role of the readers within the gothic novel, and Walpole’s contribution to the genre – enabling the skill of Shelley, Stoker and Stevenson to excel in the genre and creating a long-lasting legacy for generations of readers to enjoy!
Over 73 pages, this study aims to shed light on how the Gothic genre came about, was embraced by the reader and subsequently has remained a firm favourite in authors, readers and - indeed - film-makers ever since.
This product is ideally suited to those studying literature at a higher level and looking for a clear perspective on the historical emergence of the genre. It is also supportive of courses where more commonly known texts are studied (Frankenstein, Dracula, The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde etc) to find out where they came from and the traditions they have used from the first recognised Gothic Novel - The Castle of Otranto.