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The aesthetics of the book have shaped modern-day gothic books, films, art, music and the goth subculture. Walpole published the first edition disguised as a medieval romance from Italy discovered and republished by a fictitious translator. When Walpole admitted to his authorship in the second edition, its originally favourable reception by literary reviewers changed into rejection. The reviewers' rejection reflected a larger cultural bias: Walpole's forgery, together with the blend of history and fiction, contravened the principles of the Enlightenment and associated the Gothic novel with fake documentation. Clara Reeve[ edit ] Clara Reeve , best known for her work The Old English Baron , set out to take Walpole's plot and adapt it to the demands of the time by balancing fantastic elements with 18th-century realism. In the first, there is the reinforcement of the Gothic narrative framework, one that focuses on expanding the imaginative domain so as to include the supernatural without losing the realism that marks the novel that Walpole pioneered. The result is that she spurned specific aspects to Walpole's style such as his tendency to incorporate too much humor or comic elements in such a way that it diminishes the Gothic tale's ability to induce fear. In , Reeve enumerated Walpole's excesses in this respect: This aspect remains a challenge for authors in this genre after the publication of The Old English Baron. Outside of its providential context, the supernatural would often suffer the risk of veering towards the absurd. Radcliffe's novels, above all The Mysteries of Udolpho , were best-sellers. However, along with most novels at the time, they were looked down upon by many well-educated people as sensationalist nonsense. These works were often more horrific and violent than the English Gothic novel. Matthew Lewis ' lurid tale of monastic debauchery, black magic and diabolism entitled The Monk offered the first continental novel to follow the conventions of the Gothic novel. Though Lewis's novel could be read as a pastiche of the emerging genre, self-parody had been a constituent part of the Gothic from the time of the genre's inception with Walpole's Otranto. Lewis's portrayal of depraved monks, sadistic inquisitors and spectral nuns  —and his scurrilous view of the Catholic Church—appalled some readers, but The Monk was important in the genre's development. In this book, the hapless protagonists are ensnared in a web of deceit by a malignant monk called Schedoni and eventually dragged before the tribunals of the Inquisition in Rome, leading one contemporary to remark that if Radcliffe wished to transcend the horror of these scenes, she would have to visit hell itself. Sade critiqued the genre in the preface of his Reflections on the novel stating that the Gothic is "the inevitable product of the revolutionary shock with which the whole of Europe resounded". Contemporary critics of the genre also noted the correlation between the French Revolutionary Terror and the "terrorist school" of writing represented by Radcliffe and Lewis. Germany[ edit ] German gothic fiction is usually described by the term Schauerroman "shudder novel". Lewis as The Bravo of Venice in The Ritterroman focuses on the life and deeds of the knights and soldiers, but features many elements found in the gothic novel, such as magic, secret tribunals, and medieval setting. Benedikte Naubert's novel Hermann of Unna is seen as being very close to the Schauerroman genre. Both genres are based on the terrifying side of the Middle Ages, and both frequently feature the same elements castles, ghost, monster, etc. However, Schauerroman's key elements are necromancy and secret societies and it is remarkably more pessimistic than the British Gothic novel. All those elements are the basis for Friedrich von Schiller's unfinished novel The Ghost-Seer — If used, the word "gothic" was used to describe mostly early works of Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Most critics simply used the tags such as "Romanticism" and "fantastique". The first Russian author whose work can be described as gothic fiction is considered to be Nikolay Mikhailovich Karamzin. Although many of his works feature gothic elements, the first one which is considered to belong purely in the "gothic fiction" label is Ostrov Borngolm Island of Bornholm from Also, the following poems are considered to belong in the gothic genre: Some parts of Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov's " A Hero of Our Time " are also considered to belong in the gothic genre, but they lack the supernatural elements of the other Russian gothic stories. Viy, lord of the underworld, from the story of the same name by Gogol The key author of the transition from romanticism to realism, Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol , is also one of the most important authors of the romanticism, and has produced a number of works which qualify as gothic fiction. His works include three short story collections, of which each one features a number of stories in the gothic genre, as well as many stories with gothic elements. The last story is probably the most famous, having inspired at least eight movie adaptations two of which are now considered to be lost , one animated movie, two documentaries, and a video game. Gogol's work is very different from western European gothic fiction, as he is influenced by Ukrainian folklore, Cossack lifestyle and, being a very religious man, Orthodox Christianity. Another Russian realist classic, Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky , incorporated gothic elements in many of his works, although none of his novels are seen as purely gothic. Also, Grigori Alexandrovich Machtet wrote the story "Zaklyatiy kazak". Frontispiece to edition shown. Further contributions to the Gothic genre were seen in the work of the Romantic poets. Shelley published a second Gothic novel in , St. Irvyne; or, The Rosicrucian , about an alchemist who seeks to impart the secret of immortality. The poetry, romantic adventures, and character of Lord Byron— characterised by his spurned lover Lady Caroline Lamb as "mad, bad and dangerous to know"—were another inspiration for the Gothic, providing the archetype of the Byronic hero. Byron was also the host of the celebrated ghost-story competition involving himself, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley , and John William Polidori at the Villa Diodati on the banks of Lake Geneva in the summer of This latter story revives Lamb's Byronic "Lord Ruthven", but this time as a vampire. The Vampyre has been accounted by cultural critic Christopher Frayling as one of the most influential works of fiction ever written and spawned a craze for vampire fiction and theatre and latterly film which has not ceased to this day. A late example of traditional Gothic is Melmoth the Wanderer by Charles Maturin , which combines themes of anti-Catholicism with an outcast Byronic hero. Indeed, the form's popularity as an established genre had already begun to erode with the success of the historical romance popularised by Sir Walter Scott. However, in many ways, it was now entering its most creative phase. Recently readers and critics have begun to reconsider a number of previously overlooked Penny Blood or " penny dreadful " serial fictions by such authors as G. Reynolds who wrote a trilogy of Gothic horror novels: Faust , Wagner the Wehr-wolf and The Necromancer Another famous penny dreadful of this era was the anonymously authored Varney the Vampire Varney is the tale of the vampire Sir Francis Varney, and introduced many of the tropes present in vampire fiction recognizable to modern audiences — it was the first story to refer to sharpened teeth for a vampire. Edgar Allan Poe was an important reinterpreter of Gothic fiction. An important and innovative reinterpreter of the Gothic in this period was Edgar Allan Poe. Poe focused less on the traditional elements of gothic stories and more on the psychology of his characters as they often descended into madness. Poe's critics complained about his "German" tales, to which he replied, 'that terror is not of Germany, but of the soul'. Poe, a critic himself, believed that terror was a legitimate literary subject. His story " The Fall of the House of Usher " explores these 'terrors of the soul' while revisiting classic Gothic tropes of aristocratic decay, death, and madness. The influence of Ann Radcliffe is also detectable in Poe's " The Oval Portrait " , including an honorary mention of her name in the text of the story. Elizabeth Gaskell 's tales "The Doom of the Griffiths" "Lois the Witch", and "The Grey Woman" all employ one of the most common themes of Gothic fiction, the power of ancestral sins to curse future generations, or the fear that they will. Le Fanu's short story collection In a Glass Darkly includes the superlative vampire tale Carmilla , which provided fresh blood for that particular strand of the Gothic and influenced Bram Stoker 's vampire novel Dracula According to literary critic Terry Eagleton , Le Fanu, together with his predecessor Maturin and his successor Stoker, form a subgenre of Irish Gothic, whose stories, featuring castles set in a barren landscape, with a cast of remote aristocrats dominating an atavistic peasantry, represent in allegorical form the political plight of colonial Ireland subjected to the Protestant Ascendancy. These pointed to the juxtaposition of wealthy, ordered and affluent civilisation next to the disorder and barbarity of the poor within the same metropolis. Bleak House in particular is credited with seeing the introduction of urban fog to the novel, which would become a frequent characteristic of urban Gothic literature and film Mighall His most explicitly Gothic work is his last novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood , which he did not live to complete and which was published in unfinished state upon his death in The mood and themes of the Gothic novel held a particular fascination for the Victorians, with their morbid obsession with mourning rituals, mementos , and mortality in general. The s saw the revival of the Gothic as a powerful literary form allied to fin de siecle , which fictionalized contemporary fears like ethical degeneration and questioned the social structures of the time. Stoker's book also established Transylvania and Eastern Europe as the locus classicus of the Gothic. In America, two notable writers of the end of the 19th century, in the Gothic tradition, were Ambrose Bierce and Robert W. Bierce's short stories were in the horrific and pessimistic tradition of Poe. Chambers, though, indulged in the decadent style of Wilde and Machen, even to the extent of his inclusion of a character named 'Wilde' in his The King in Yellow. Precursors[ edit ] The conventions of Gothic literature did not spring from nowhere into the mind of Horace Walpole. The components that would eventually combine into Gothic literature had a rich history by the time Walpole perpetrated his literary hoax in Mysterious imagination[ edit ] Gothic literature is often described with words such as "wonder" and "terror. The necessity for this came as the known world was beginning to become more explored, reducing the inherent geographical mysteries of the world. The edges of the map were being filled in, and no one was finding any dragons. The human mind required a replacement. In Britain especially, there was a desire to reclaim a shared past. This obsession frequently led to extravagant architectural displays, and sometimes mock tournaments were held. It was not merely in literature that a medieval revival made itself felt, and this too contributed to a culture ready to accept a perceived medieval work in However, Gothic literature was not the origin of this tradition; indeed it was far older. The corpses, skeletons, and churchyards so commonly associated with the early Gothic were popularized by the Graveyard Poets , and were also present in novels such as Daniel Defoe's Journal of the Plague Year , which contains comical scenes of plague carts and piles of plague corpses. Even earlier, poets like Edmund Spenser evoked a dreary and sorrowful mood in such poems as Epithalamion. Bloom notes that this aesthetic must take the form of a theoretical or philosophical core, which is necessary to "sav[e] the best tales from becoming mere anecdote or incoherent sensationalism. These sections can be summarized thus: Political influences[ edit ] The birth of the Gothic was also probably influenced by political upheaval beginning with the English Civil War and culminating in a Jacobite rebellion more recent to the first Gothic novel A collective political memory and any deep cultural fears associated with it likely contributed to early Gothic villain characters as literary representatives of defeated Tory barons or Royalists "rising" from their political graves in the pages of the early Gothic to terrorize the bourgeois reader of late eighteenth-century England. Jane Austen's novel is valuable for including a list of early Gothic works since known as the Northanger Horrid Novels. These books, with their lurid titles, were once thought to be the creations of Jane Austen's imagination, though later research by Michael Sadleir and Montague Summers confirmed that they did actually exist and stimulated renewed interest in the Gothic. They are currently all being reprinted. Cherry Wilkinson, a fatuous female protagonist with a history of novel-reading, fancies herself as the heroine of a Gothic romance. She perceives and models reality according to the stereotypes and typical plot structures of the Gothic novel, leading to a series of absurd events culminating in catastrophe. After her downfall, her affectations and excessive imaginations become eventually subdued by the voice of reason in the form of Stuart, a paternal figure, under whose guidance the protagonist receives a sound education and correction of her misguided taste.
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