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Дипломная Means of creating tension in the English Gothic short stories - Литература зарубежная

  • Тема: Means of creating tension in the English Gothic short stories
  • Автор: Татьяна
  • Тип работы: Дипломная
  • Предмет: Литература зарубежная
  • Страниц: 61
  • ВУЗ, город: ЧГПУ им. И.Я. Яковлева
  • Цена(руб.): 3000 рублей



But there was a counter view to Burke’s that used the Gothic to represent instead “everything that was old-fashioned, barbaric, feudal and irrationally ungrounded”. Botting explains that Thomas Paine, in his own “Rights of Man”, criticized Burke’s lamenting the passing of Gothic times as fantasy unduly praising oppressive political customs and institutions”. Mary Wollstonecraft also criticizes Burke in her own “A Vindication of the Rights of Men”: “Man preys on man; and you mourn for the idle tapestry that decorated a gothic pile, and the dronish bell that summoned the fat priest to prayer”.
And Botting concludes that “the continuing ambivalence and polarization of the word “Gothic” until the end of the 18th century was significant not only in the changes of meaning that it underwent but in its function in a network of associations whose positive or negative value depended on the political positions and representations with which Gothic figures were associated”.
Michael Gamer found Gothic texts as “a kind of prose fiction and instead have viewed it more accurately as an aesthetic crossing the genres of narrative, dramatic, and lyric writing”.
As we have already mentioned, Gothic is termed in the dictionary with crude and barbaric, this definition coincides with gothic literature. Gothic literature explores the aggression between what we fear and what we lust.
Thus, Gothic literature is poetry, short stories, or novels designed to thrill readers by providing mystery and blood-curdling accounts of villainy, murder, and the supernatural. As J. A. Cuddon suggests, the conventions of gothic literature include wild and desolate landscapes, ancient buildings such as ruined monasteries; cathedrals; castles with dungeons, torture chambers, secret doors, and winding stairways; apparitions, phantoms, demons, and necromancers; an atmosphere of brooding gloom; and youthful, handsome heroes and fainting (or screaming!) heroines who face off against corrupt aristocrats, wicked witches, and hideous monsters. Conventionally, female characters are threatened by powerful or impetuous male figures, and description functions through a metonymy of fear by presenting details designed to evoke horror, disgust, or terror”.
The gothic literary movement is a part of the larger Romantic Movement. Gothic literature shares many of the traits of romanticism, such as the emphasis on emotions and the imagination. Gothic literature goes beyond the melancholy evident in most romantic works, however, and enters into the areas of horror and decay, becoming preoccupied with death.
Let’s study the evolution of the Gothic literature in more details.
1.2. The Gothic Evolution in Literature.
1.2.1. The First Wave of Gothic Novels: 1765-1820.
The English Gothic novel began with Horace Walpole's “The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic Story” (1765). Contemporary readers found the novel electrifyingly 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 that they have become stereotypes. The novel was so enormously popular that it was quickly imitated by other novelists, thereby initiating a genre. The genre takes its name from The Castle of Otranto’s medieval–or Gothic–setting, as well as the subtitle; 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”, 1796) or the Middle East (William Beckford's “Vathek”, 1786).
The first great practitioner of the Gothic novel, as well the most popular and best paid novelist of the eighteenth century England, was Ann Radcliffe. She added suspense, painted evocative landscapes and moods or atmosphere, portrayed increasingly complex, fascinatingly-horrifying, evil villains, and focused on the heroine and her struggle with him. Her best paid novels “A Sicilian Romance” (1790), “The Mysteries of Udolpho” (1794), and “The Italian” (1797) –still have the ability to thrill and enthrall readers.
Inspired by Radcliffe and influenced by German sensationalist horror tales, Matthew Lewis wrote “The Monk” (1796). The novel follows the lust-driven monk Ambrosio from one abdominal act to another–rape, incest, matricide, burial alive– to his gory death and well-deserved damnation. Naturally it was enormously successful and controversial. The story goes that Radcliffe, a sedate, conventional matron, was appalled at his novel and his acknowledging her influence on him, so she responded with “The Italian”, whose villain is also a monk, to show how a novel of terror and suspense should be written.
In “On the Supernatural in Poetry”, a dialogue that was unfinished at her death, Radcliffe distinguished between the effect her novels achieved, terror, and the effect Lewis's achieved, horror: “Terror and horror are so far opposite, that the first expands the soul, and awakens the faculties to a high degree of life; the other contracts, freezes, and nearly annihilates them. I apprehend, that neither Shakespeare nor Milton by their fictions, nor Mr. Burke by his reasoning, anywhere looked to positive horror as a source of the sublime, though they all agree of life is a very high one; and where lies the great difference between horror and terror, but in the uncertainty and obscurity, that accompany the first, respecting the dreaded evil? ”.
Their different approaches to the novel of terror, as it was called in the eighteenth century, have given been distinguished by some critics as terror Gothic, represented by Radcliffe, and horror Gothic, represented by Lewis. Sometimes this same distinction is tied to gender, with female equated with terror Gothic and with male being equated with horror Gothic.
But not until the last decade of the 18th century was the influence of Walpole’s romance felt strongly. Within this decade the Gothic novel achieved the status of a truly popular genre. Even the most superficial relationship to Walpole’s romance, the inclusion of the word “castle” in the title of a book, can be indicated for hundreds of novels found in this period. Some of these novels were long, and filled several volumes; others were small chapbooks issued to sell for sixpence, luridly, illustrated with crude woodcuts.
Conventions were rigorously followed in the Gothic chain that followed Walpole’s work. In most such novels the action took place in and around a castle. Yet there was seldom any “attempt to create verisimilitude or to build up antiquarian detail”; in many cases the authors seemed ignorant of the commonplaces of history. The supernatural was almost always present, although its nature and its quality varied from novel to novel. On the whole, the earlier novels used supernatural effects very sparingly, and as often as not explained those effects away at the end.
1.2.2. Gothic Fiction in the Nineteenth Century.
In the 19th century the Gothic novel became the dominant literary form, particularly with the ways it dramatizes solitary subjectivity under stress. Taking the exceptional figures of heroes, villains, and victims from their 18th-century predecessors, taking stories that turn on mysteries and secrets and the preternatural intrusions of ghosts and demons, writers from Godwin to James developed “a mode especially suited for representing isolated individuals and extreme experiences”.
The most distinctive form of this development, was the first-person narrative: victim’s accounts of their ordeals, criminals’ confessions, madmen’s monologues, whether standing alone in the form of the Gothic tale or embedded in longer narratives.
The greatest triumphs of 19th-century realism, supposedly antithetical, develop similar tensions, introducing Gothic figures and motifs into their panoramic social landscapes to render isolation and vulnerability or guilt.
By the second decade of the 19th century “the formulas that had so captivated readers in the late 18th century had been repeated so often as to become overly familiar”. Titles like Thomas Love Peacock’s “Nightmare Abbey” and Thomas Horsley-Curties’ “The Monk of Udolpho” demonstrate the extent to which the devices, plots and setting of Gothic romance had been worked into banality. Terror turned to boredom, the credibility of supernatural happening thoroughly on the wane.
By about 1840, the gothic genre had played itself out and this was partly due to writers who were developing the genre into the horror fiction that it later morphed into. The Gothic genre did, however, have a long lasting effect and it led to a Victorian craze for ghost stories and it also had an influence on Charles Dickens who read gothic novels when he was younger and he later put the Gothic melodrama and gloomy atmosphere into his own books.
It is necessary to say that Gothic fiction of that time reflected the central 19th-century preoccupation with the relation of self and society, which it shares with more realistic fiction, but reflected it in crisis and antagonism, where “the self was estranged or abandoned, victimized or victimizing, absorbed in the self-enclosure of madness, the excess of passion, or the transgression of crime”.
The modern ghost story developed late in the nineteenth century as well.
By the 1880’s, the gothic novel was revived and many authors of the time such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Machen and Oscar Wilde all wrote gothic works. Also, it was about this time that the most famous gothic villain appeared in Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ in 1897.
To Geary’s theory, by the third decade of the 19th century, the life of the Gothic novel, as a significant literary subgenre attracting writers of talent, had ended.
1.2.3. Modern Gothic.
The horror tale experienced an upsurge in popularity at the beginning of the twentieth century. Perhaps it can be explained, at least in part, as a way of expressing the horrors of World War I and the revulsion at its devastation.
Much of the writing linked to Gothic in the early part of the 20th century is carried over from later 19th-century styles. Objects of anxiety take their familiar forms from earlier manifestations: cities, houses, archaic and occult pasts, primitive energies, deranged individuals and scientific experimentation are the places from which awesome and inhuman terrors and horrors are loosed on an unsuspecting world”.
Several new variants of Gothic fiction arose. A commercially successful, mass Gothic novel, often called Modern Gothic or Gothic Romance, is particularly written for women by women and started when some novels by Victoria Holt and Phyllis A. Whitney were issued by Ace Books in the 1960s. These novels follow a pattern: an innocent, inexperienced, young heroine suspects her superior suitor or husband, who is usually older, often wealthy, and worldly-wise, of a crime; she may have to compete with an older woman for his affections, a competition she of course wins. The book covers are typically stereotyped, with a young woman fleeing a mansion or Castle of Otranto the background.
Terry Carr, a former editor at Ace books, bluntly describes the Modern Gothic's content and appeal: “The basic appeal... is to women who marry guys and then begin to discover that their husbands are strangers... so there's a simultaneous attraction/repulsion, love/fear going on. Most of the "pure" Gothics tend to have a handsome, magnetic suitor or husband who may or may not be a lunatic and/or murderer...it remained for women to discover they were frightened of their husbands”.
The modern ghost story developed late in the nineteenth century, which was a skeptical age. In an age of general belief in ghosts and similar spectral manifestations, ghost stories are generally matter of fact, like Defoe's "True Relation of the Apparition of one Mrs.Veal" (1706), which disappoints most modern readers because it lacks mystery and terror. The ghost in modern fiction takes more forms, such as the animal ghost, and may be more active and malevolent than in early Gothic fiction; Walpole's ghost is singularly inactive; the only effect the ghost's appearances have is to frighten servants and, finally, to destroy the Castle of Otranto result of expanding to his full size; it is not clear that he intended to destroy the castle. The modern ghost may have its own purposes, act on its personal emotions, like jealousy or the pleasure of inflicting pain, and not be the mere instrument of an outside force, like righting injustice or revenging a wrong. Ghost stories continued to be popular through the first decades of the twentieth century.
The Gothic mode is extremely fertile and malleable. With roots in eighteenth century sensation fictions, it has repeatedly renewed itself, arising in nineteenth century literary fiction, and extending to filmic and televisual forms in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The gothic mode has a paradoxical ability to assert relevance in new forms whilst it characteristically articulates an anxious relationship to the past. Gothic fictions and films commonly deploy suspense about past events, which are shrouded in secrecy and ambiguity, and then revealed in horrifying ways; or they feature violence of an atavistic form. The Gothic mode, then, frequently works through a dialogue between old and new.
One may says that nowadays Gothic is everywhere and nowhere. Thus Michael Jackson’s video for the song “Thriller” runs the gamut of visual mutations of terror which, though alluding to Gothic metamorphoses, draws widely on the images popularized in cinematic representations of horror. It has been the cinema that has sustained Gothic fiction in the 20th century by endlessly filming versions of the classic Gothic novels.
Thus, summing up everything we have mentioned above, we state, that:
The word “Gothic” means different things in different contexts. As a literary term it means “a style of fiction characterized by the use of desolate or remote setting and macabre, mysterious, or violent incidents”.
Gothic fiction is the forerunner of today's horror HYPERLINK "http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-genre.htm"genre, although the Gothic style continues to boast many practitioners. Making its debut in the late 18th century, Gothic fiction was a branch of the larger Romantic movement that sought to stimulate strong emotions in the reader - fear and apprehension in this case. Gothic fiction takes its name from medieval architecture, as it often hearkens back to the medieval era in spirit and subject matter and often uses Gothic buildings as a setting.
Gothic fiction places heavy emphasis on atmosphere, using setting and diction to build suspense and a sense of unease in the reader. Common subject matter includes the supernatural, family curses, mystery, and madness. Gothic fiction may also feature a romantic plot or subplot, particularly in later incarnations in the Victorian era and the 20th century. While the Gothic novel is often considered the best example of the genre, some poetry and short stories can also be characterized as Gothic, such as the Graveyard Poets of late 18th century England and the short stories of Edgar Allen Poe, which have influenced Gothic writers ever since their publication.
Gothic fiction often deals with past eras, sometimes romanticizing them and other times using them as a symbol of excesses of darkness and oppression. In its early days, the Gothic genre took the medieval period as a major inspiration. Early Gothic novels were characterized as Romances, referencing a medieval narrative genre. These novels were often anti-Catholic and used a medieval setting to showcase what their authors believed to be the worst abuses of Catholic power. Conversely, Gothic fiction also romanticized the medieval period by adopting the style of its literature and returning to more emotional, fantastical subject matter in favor of the rationalism and order that dominated Enlightenment thought.
Gothic novels were among the most popularly read fiction of the late 18th century, with notable examples including Horace Walpole's “The Castle of Otranto” (1764), Anne Radcliffe's “The Mysteries of Udolpho” (1794), and M. G. Lewis' “The Monk” (1796). Though it was less popular in the Victorian era, 19th century Gothic fiction is among the best known and most read today, including writers such as Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, the HYPERLINK "http://www.wisegeek.com/who-is-charlotte-bronte.htm"Bronte sisters, Oscar Wilde, and Henry James.

2.1. The Short Story as a Phenomenon of the Gothic Fiction.
Storytelling, it is widely assumed, originated somewhere in the misty dawn of language itself. While it seems a platitude to repeat this idea, the truth is that locating the origins of story is probably as hopeless a task as identifying humankind’s earliest coherent utterance.
Whether they bespeak the bases and values of culture in myth and folktale or foster a sense of right and wrong in fables, stories organize and transmit sequences of human events and experiences into meaningful units. The most fragmentary of stories still suggests some relationship between present, past, and future. As Lohafer and Clarey say, “Story is a human frame for experience”.
Despite the fact that James Cooper Lawrence in 1917 claimed the short story to be the oldest of all “literary types” and the basis for both ballad and epic, many critics today make clear distinctions between modern literary short story and earlier short narratives.
O’Brien tells that “stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can’t remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story”.
“Story” is more than plot; “short” is more than temporality; and “short story names a complex entity, perhaps aptly described as “an inseparable web of vibrating energy patterns in which no one component has reality independently of the entirety; and included in the entirety is the observer”.
The modern concept of the “short story” did not appear until the 19th century, evolving in the early decades as a form distinct from the “tale”, a loosely organized account of strange and often mysterious events, and the “sketch”, which stressed character description with “little development of plot and little sense of narrative closure”.
The short story at its most characteristic is placed in a world different from the social world with its civilized life in most novels, and it seems to put our accepted knowledge of the world and our fellow men in jeopardy. The short story, as Frank O’Connor says, “remains…remote from the community” and gives “an intense awareness of human loneliness”.
Short narratives have for centuries served several purposes: they have preserved, explained, entertained, and instructed.
Many researches argue that the short story proper, as distinguished from the story that is merely short, derives from the Romantic tradition, having its beginnings in myth and legends, wherein a reader is asked to put the extensional world out of mind and deal in and with a kind of underworld, a world of inexplicable strange loops, a mystical world of paradox and ambiguity, of shadows and shifting perspectives governed not by rational order but by intuition and dream logic.
As for Gothic short fiction itself it is not just a modern phenomenon. It has existed since remotest antiquity, in a variety of cultures ranging from the ancient Roman Empire to medieval China.
Gothic short stories first appeared within the Gothic novels as a way of escaping the demands of novel form. Later, they became the structural basis of famous novels such as “Melmoth the Wanderer”, “Frankenstein”, and “Wuthering Heights”. And finally, but not exclusively, they become established in their own r

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