The Gothic "The Gothic" is a style, tone, or genre in western literature that most people recognize through various names, images, or elements: The Addams Family, Young Frankenstein, etc. The gothic has deep roots in theology, architecture, psychology, the imagination, and many literary traditions. Images associated with the gothic stretch back to Christian visions of hell, devils, and demons, with Lucifer as the original Byronic hero:
Gothic architecture used pointed arches and vaults, flying buttresses, narrow spires, stained glass windows, intricate traceries, and varied details; its upward movement was meant to suggest heavenward aspiration.
The words Goth and Gothic also described the Germanic tribes e.
From this source, the words came also to mean barbarian, barbarous, and barbaric. By the eighteenth century in England, Gothic had become synonymous with the Middle Ages, a period which was in disfavor because it was perceived as chaotic, unenlightened, and superstitious.
Renaissance critics erroneously believed that Gothic architecture was created by the Germanic tribes and regarded it as ugly and barbaric. This erroneous attribution continued through the eighteenth century. As a result of an upshot of interest in the Middle Ages, Gothic architecture experienced a revival in the late eighteenth century; Horace Walpole rebuilt Strawberry Hill as a medieval castle and William Beckford spent a fortune on his medieval, elaborate imitation, Fonthill Abbey.
The revival flourished in the nineteenth century and Gothic buildings were constructed throughoug England. To most modern readers, however, The Castle of Otranto is dull reading; except for the villain Manfred, the characters are insipid; the action moves at a fast clip with no emphasis or suspense, despite the supernatural manifestations and a young maiden's flight through dark vaults.
But contemporary readers found the novel electrifying original and thrillingly suspenseful, with its remote setting, its use of the supernatural, and its medieval trappings, all of which have been so frequently imitated and so poorly imitated that they have become stereotypes.
The genre takes its name from Otranto's medieval—or Gothic—setting; early Gothic novelists tended to set their novels in remote times like the Middle Ages and in remote places like Italy Matthew Lewis's The Monk, or the Middle East William Beckford's Vathek, What makes a work Gothic is a combination of at least some of these elements: The Gothic creates feelings of gloom, mystery, and suspense and tends to the dramatic and the sensational, like incest, diabolism, and nameless terrors.
Most of us immediately recognize the Gothic even if we don't know the name when we encounter it in novels, poetry, plays, movies, and TV series. For some of us--and I include myself, the prospect of safely experiencing dread or horror is thrilling and enjoyable. Elements of the Gothic have made their way into mainstream writing.
The OED differs from the dictionaries we use most of the time; it traces words historically, that is, it lists the first appearance of a word in English and traces its usage and changes over time.
I have included the relevant definitions of Gothic for those of you who are interested in words and language or who might just be curious. Dates for when a word first appeared in writing are from the OED unless I state otherwise.Professor John Mullan examines the origins of the Gothic, explaining how the genre became one of the most popular of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and the subsequent integration of Gothic elements into mainstream Victorian fiction.
An exploration of Gothic literature from its origins in Horace Walpole's classic The Castle of Otranto, through Romantic and Victorian Gothic to modernist and postmodernist takes on the form. The plot of Gothic literature novels typically involves people who become involved in complex and oftentimes evil paranormal schemes, usually against an innocent and helpless heroine.
One such example is the young Emily St. Aubert in Anne Radcliffe’s classic Gothic .
Elements of the gothic make a long list, and so do its literary genres: gothic novels or romances, horror films, thrillers, mysteries, film noir “goth” fashion and gothic rock or metal music ; Frequently today (and earlier) the gothic is spoofed or satirized as a formula: The Addams Family, Young Frankenstein, etc.
Today, Gothic literature has been replaced by ghost and horror stories, detective fiction, suspense and thriller novels, and other contemporary forms that emphasize mystery, shock, and sensation.
While each of these types is (at least loosely) indebted to Gothic fiction, the Gothic genre was also appropriated and reworked by novelists and poets who, on the whole, cannot be strictly classified as Gothic writers. The Irish have been involved in gothic literature since the very beginnings of the genre.
Maturin was a writer of Gothic plays and novels during the early nineteenth century. Maturin was a resident of Dublin whose association with Gothic novels frequently interfered with his career as a clergyman.