Gothic literature is a genre of fiction often containing elements of horror, death, and romance. Gothic literature began in the 18th century and has since become a popular genre in literature, film, and television.
History of Gothic Literature
Gothic literature has a long and varied history, beginning in the 18th century and evolving over time to encompass a variety of themes and styles. This article will explore the history of gothic literature from its beginnings to its modern incarnations.
Origins of Gothic Literature
The origins of gothic literature can be traced back to the late 18th century, when a new wave of literature began to emerge in England. This wave was characterized by dark and mysterious stories that blended horror, romance, and the supernatural.
The Gothic Novel
The gothic novel is a form of literature that is often seen as the foundation of gothic literature. The first gothic novel was The Castle of Otranto, written by Horace Walpole in 1764. This novel set the tone for gothic literature, establishing themes such as horror, the supernatural, and the power of fate.
Early Gothic Writers
Other writers soon began to explore the gothic genre, including Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker. These writers created some of the most iconic gothic stories of all time, such as Frankenstein and Dracula.
Characteristics of Early Gothic Literature
Early gothic literature was characterized by its dark and mysterious themes, its focus on horror and the supernatural, and its use of fate as a major plot device. It was often set in exotic or mysterious locations, such as castles, and featured characters who were both heroic and villainous.
Influence of Romanticism
The 19th century saw the rise of the Romantic movement, which had a significant influence on the development of gothic literature. Romanticism emphasized emotion and imagination, and many gothic writers of this period embraced these themes in their stories.
Themes of Gothic Literature
During this period, gothic literature began to focus more on themes of love, loss, and the supernatural. Gothic stories often featured protagonists who were struggling to escape their fate, and the struggle between good and evil was often a major theme.
Gothic Writers of the Romantic Period
Some of the most famous gothic writers of the Romantic period include Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Shelley, and Bram Stoker. These writers are credited with creating some of the most iconic gothic stories of all time.
The Gothic Revival
The 19th century also saw the rise of the Gothic Revival, a movement that sought to revive the gothic style of literature. This movement resulted in a resurgence of gothic literature, which was particularly popular during the Victorian era.
Victorian Gothic Literature
Victorian gothic literature was characterized by its focus on horror, suspense, and the supernatural. Gothic stories often featured brooding protagonists, eerie settings, and a sense of dread.
Victorian Gothic Writers
Some of the most famous Victorian gothic writers include Robert Louis Stevenson, Oscar Wilde, and Arthur Conan Doyle. These writers explored the genre in new and exciting ways, creating stories that remain popular to this day.
Characteristics of Victorian Gothic Literature
Victorian gothic literature was often characterized by its focus on horror and suspense, its use of the supernatural, and its exploration of the darker side of human nature. It often featured protagonists who were struggling against forces beyond their control, and it often explored the conflict between good and evil.
The Rise of Modern Gothic Literature
The 20th century saw the rise of modern gothic literature, which embraced a variety of themes and styles. Writers such as Stephen King and Anne Rice explored the genre in new and exciting ways, creating stories that remain popular to this day.
Themes in Modern Gothic Literature
Modern gothic literature often focuses on themes of horror, suspense, and the supernatural. It often explores the darker side of human nature, and it often features protagonists who are struggling against forces beyond their control.
Modern Gothic Writers
Some of the most famous modern gothic writers include Stephen King, Anne Rice, and J.K. Rowling. These writers have created stories that remain popular to this day.
Characteristics of Modern Gothic Literature
Modern gothic literature is often characterized by its focus on horror, suspense, and the supernatural. It often explores the darker side of human nature, and it often features protagonists who are struggling against forces beyond their control.
The Influence of Gothic Literature
Gothic literature has had a profound influence on modern culture. From Frankenstein to Twilight, gothic stories have captivated audiences for centuries.
The Legacy of Gothic Literature
The legacy of gothic literature is one of exploration and imagination. Gothic literature has inspired generations of writers and readers, and it continues to be a popular genre to this day.
McCarthy, C. (2020). What is Gothic Literature?. Retrieved from https://www.globe.edu/what-is-gothic-literature/
Gothic Literature. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/art/Gothic-literature
Other related queries
What’s the fascinating backstory of Gothic literature?
Gothic fiction began as a clever jest! Horace Walpole was the first to use the word ‘Gothic’ in the subtitle of his novel, The Castle of Otranto, which was published in 1764. When he used the word, it meant something akin to ‘barbarous’ and ‘deriving from the Middle Ages’.
Where did gothic literature begin?
Gothic literature began in Britain!
Who created the original gothic story?
The illustrious Horace Walpole!
What inspired the name of Gothic literature?
Gothic literature was named for its roots in medieval architecture and ruins, often featuring castles and monasteries with mysterious passages, turrets, panels, and trapdoors.