The Gothic Novel
Sofia Montoya,Trinidad Torrendell, Clara Allende and
Stories that combine elements from horror and romanticism. The Gothic novel often deals with
supernatural events, or events occurring in nature that cannot be easily explained or over which man has
no control, and it typically follows a plot of suspense and mystery.
The setting of this stories is gloomy or decaying. Such as castles, which is the most common one.
History and main writers:
This kind of novel started in England with “Castle of Otranto” written by Horace Walpole in 1765. He was
followed by Ann Radcliffe who wrote “Mysteries of Udolpho” in 1794. These novels are among the best
examples of the genre.
A different type of Gothic Novel which exploited horror and violence appeared in Germany and was taken
to England by Matthew Gregory Lewis who wrote “The Monk” in 1796. Other landmarks of gothic fiction
are William Beckford’s “Vathek” (1786) and Charles Robert Maturin’s “Melmoth the Wanderer” (1820). The
classic horror stories “Frankenstein” by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and “Dracula” by Bram Stoker are in
the gothic tradition but introduce the nature of humankind as mystery and terror.
❖ Mystery: Gothic novels always have an
atmosphere of mystery which keeps the
reader hooked to the plot.
❖ Setting: These novels are generally set in
drafty monasteries, windy moors,
underground passages, rotting mansions
or dark castles at the top of a hill with
lightning streaking across the sky.
❖ The Supernatural and the Sublime:
Vampires, ghosts, demons and monsters
appear as characters in gothic novels.
❖ The Fallen Hero: He is a typical character
in gothic novels. He has his own rules and
is a rebel with his own cause. His
decisions have an internal logic dependent
on the character's own moral code.
❖ Isolation: The main characters are
generally isolated. For example, the lady
in distress rarely has family or friends who
care about her.
❖ Catholicism vs Anglicanism: Lots of gothic
novels are anti-catholic . it is the history of
peasants with pitchforks , witches burned
at the stake and inquisitions. Most of these
novels defended anglicanism.