The Influence and Meaning of Gothic Literature

1385 WordsApr 13, 20066 Pages
The Influence and Meaning of Gothic Literature Gothic is termed in the dictionary with crude and barbaric, this definition coincides with gothic literature. Gothic literature was said to be born in 1764 when Horace Walpole published The Castle of Otranto, which is considered to be the first gothic novel ever written. Gothic literature explores the aggression between what we fear and what we lust. The setting of these gothic stories were usually in some kind of castle or old building that showed human decay and created an atmosphere of mystery and suspense. The words chosen in these novels and short stories were very descriptive they tended to "blend the idea of the exotic and the familiar" (The Balkans, 75).Supernatural and…show more content…
In Dracula, Jonathan Harker notes with a similar attitude "I read that every known superstition in the world is gathered into the horseshoe of the Carpathians, as if it were the centre of some sort of imaginative whirlpool." These quotations both bring about the fear of the unknown and the idea of the fear of the other, creating an ideal setting for a gothic novel. Gerard's article also provided Stoker with some of the folklore surrounding Dracula and his castle: St. George's Day, "the eve of which is still frequently kept by occult meetings taking place at night in lonely caverns or within ruined walls"; hidden treasures and "the light they give forth, described as a bluish flame"; and the wolf that "continues to haunt the Transylvanian forests" (Transylvanian superstitions). Gerard was not the only influence on Stoker choosing Transylvania as his setting some other influences were a collection of tales by Alexandre Dumas (père), Les Mille et un Fantomes (1849), includes a story about a vampire who haunts the Carpathians; in "The Mysterious Stranger" (anonymous, 1860), a vampire Count terrorizes a family in this area. Best-known may be Jules Verne's romantic adventure, The Castle of the Carpathians (1892), in which the narrator cites the prevalence of beliefs in a host of supernatural creatures, including vampires that quench their thirst on human blood. Dracula depicts Transylvania as a backward region inhabited by wild animals and superstitious peasants, appropriate
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