Origins of Gothic Literature

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Charlie Blue
Freeman
English I Pre- Ap; 1114
20 April 2012

The origins and characteristics of Gothic Literature came in 1764 with the publication of Horace Walpole’s Castle of Otranto (“Zittaw”). Ever since then, Gothic Literature has become more popular and is being used in numerous works of great literature. Gothic Literature has had a remarkable impact in the world of English literature and is currently still evolving from its original roots.

Gothic Literature is a genre of literature that combines elements of both horror and romance. It was developed in the late eighteenth-century as a reaction to the central ideology of the Enlightenment that valorized human reason (“Gothic Origins”). Some of the characteristics found in many novels are a fascination for the past, especially the medieval era. It also contains supernatural and magical impressions combined with reality. Gothic Literature has inspired many great novels to emerge the last few centuries, and has become a key theme, that has been revolutionized, to attempt to combine on present day novels. In fact, “Gothic literature covers a range of books and authors much wider than most people realize. From the origins of the movement in the 18th century to Charles Dickens to contemporary writers such as Stephen King”(Snodgrass).

In Gothic Literature, “recurring themes, images and symbols are often used to envision the human condition” (“Gothic”). There is usually a victim who is helpless against a villain that is associated with supernatural powers. The setting and atmosphere have a sense of mystery, darkness, fear, doom, and melancholy (“Gothic Origins”). Graveyards, churches, haunted castles and houses are very common in these novels. There is also some religious aspects inserted into the setting. Another very common symbol used in Gothic Literature is blood and gore. It can represent both life and death and is seen entertaining by those who read. Many gothic elements have found their way into a...
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