The purpose of this research was to compare the gothic features of the medieval gothic with the gothic fiction of the modern era through content analysis. Gothic fiction by various medieval writers is compared with the Gothic fiction of the modern eras. The research paper sought to determine whether there are features from the medieval gothic fiction that have been replicated in the modern gothic fiction. This research has found out that modern gothic fiction writers have revived the fantasy and habit of reading through gothic fiction like in the medieval gothic fiction. The Gothic tradition has been maintained through the medieval and the modern gothic fiction written by various gothic writers. Both the medieval and the modern gothic fiction writers aim at exciting readers through captivating and haunting their minds. This is evidenced by the dark fiction in various stories written both in the medieval period and the modern period. The distant settings and use of the supernatural within the medieval Gothic writings have also inspired many innovative new attempts within the modern Gothic tradition in film, music, art, make-up. The settings of various modern fictions reflect the settings of the medieval fiction, showing a significant similarity between the modern fiction and the medieval fiction. This research has found out that medieval gothic fiction and modern gothic fiction have both been dominated by an atmosphere full of suspense and darkness.
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
Statement of the problem, Limitations of the study and methods
‘Gothic’ can be described as an internally coherent story dealing with incidents and worlds which are impossible. Although the origins of Gothic fantasy go down to myth, it was in the early nineteenth century that modern Gothic fiction began to take shape. The ‘violently disturbed’ years of the late eighteenth century threw up a stream of traumatized authors, some of whom turned to the Gothic genre to explore the sensible answers to the question of existence. Mary Shelley, the British academician, writer and critic lay down the ground rules of the Dark Gothic fantasy in the early nineteenth century. Her skillfully constructed novel of ‘obscure’ dimensions, Frankenstein (1819) is considered to be a milestone in the history of Dark fantasy fiction. It narrates the story about the destruction of the transgressive man Power, originally owned by the protagonist Victor Frankenstein. In the final conflict between the forces of good and evil, Dr. Frankenstein loses all his relations, despite after considerable hardship and sacrifice. Mary Shelley invests her work of ‘high obscure fantasy’ with a medieval atmosphere, mingled with religious hints and suggestions. The fame of Frankenstein was tremendous and unpredictable, earning the author a faithful following of all ages and climes.
On the other hand, Joanne K. Rowling, a Scottish author of the Harry Potter installments, is also widely accredited with having revived the reading habit among children. Though originally conceived in the 1990s as being children’s horrid fiction, the Harry Potter books cut across age limits to form a readership which has approached gigantic dimensions. The seven-part saga describes the dark adventurous tale of the boy necromancer, Harry Potter, who was educated in Hogwarts’ School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The books move gradually towards the triumph of the hero over the villain, a cunning evil wizard named Lord Voldemort.
The period for the Gothic fiction can generally be dated from 1760s onwards to 1920s, which means that the popularity of Gothic fiction started proliferating during the late 18th and the early 20th century in England when need for some revolutionary changes emerged to be felt. Therefore, “Gothic” novel began to grow as an inordinate and timid literary genre for a new and awesome age.
In the beginning, Gothic fiction was overlooked as ‘irrational having low moral value’ (Thomson 2002). It was not highly esteemed by the contemporary critics as well as literary academics. However, for the past few years, it has enjoyed a new ‘academic renaissance’ specifically with the publication of innumerable latest Gothic attempts by the famous writers such as M.R. Cornelius’ The Ups and Downs of Being Dead (2012), Mark Tufo’s Zombie Fallout 2: A Plague upon Your Family (2013), E.A. Prices’ The Witch, the Wolf and the Snowstorm (2014), Deborah Harkness’ A Discovery of Witches: All Soul Tragedy (2011) Stephen Edwin King’s Mr. Mercedes (2014), Bella Forest’s A Shade of Vampire Book One (2012), based upon the original Dracula character created by Bram Stoker in 1890, and many other valuable pieces. According to Mighall (2003),
“By the Victorian era Gothic had ceased to be the dominant genre, and was dismissed by most of the critics. However, in many ways, it was now entering its most creative phase. Recently, the readers and critics have started to reconsider a number of previously overlooked Penny Dreadful serial fictions by the authors as G.W.M. Reynolds who wrote trilogy of Gothic horror novels: Faust (1846), Wagner the Were-wolf (1847) and The Necromancer (1857)” (p.133).
Mighall (2003) further adds,
“He (Reynolds) was also responsible for The Mysteries of London (1845), having been accorded a very important place in the development of the urban as a particularly Victorian Gothic setting. Another yet penny dreadful of this era was the… anonymously authored Varney the Vampire (1847). The formal relationship between these fictions, serialized for the predominantly working class audiences, and also the roughly contemporaneous sensation fictions serialized in middle class periodicals is also an area worthy of inquiry. An important and innovative re-interpreter of Gothic in this era was Edgar Allan Poe who focused less on the traditional Gothic elements and more on the psychology of his characters as they often descended into madness” (p. 438).
Such Gothic attempts have provided a new kind of intuition regarding the nature and application of this ‘intriguing’ literary style. Besides, there are many points to consider and appreciate in the ‘aesthetic’ (Pollin 1999) informing a reader about Gothic fiction’s unique representation of ‘sentimental excess’ (Voldmort’s evil desire for mortality in Harry Potter) and transgression’ (Dr. Victor’s experiments on creature. As Pollin (1999) opines,
“He (Frankenstein) had not killed any of God’s creatures. But he had broken the divine law (Victor Frankenstein believed he was beyond the laws of nature) indirectly. The Monster was his creature and, Monster’s crimes were his crimes. His ‘anguish’ and alienation increase with every murder committed by his own creature” (p.122).
Furthermore, several intertextual connections within Harry Potter reflect a narrative framework, plot figure, and theme of sin especially the “violation” of divine rule (Pollin 1999) in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
Statement of the Problem
Gothic fiction over the centuries has been studied by many critics and analyzed from various angles. The modern Gothic fiction has now become an essential part of the Gothic movement while having a unique tone e.g. it aims to excite its readers through captivating and haunting their minds. Secondly, the distant settings and use of the supernatural within the Gothic writings have also inspired many innovative new attempts within the modern Gothic tradition (film, music, art, make-up). Thirdly, the medieval Gothic features have also made their mark in keeping themselves maintained into the mainstream writing. Considering the above-mentioned views, the current research work focuses on the concept of the modern ‘Gothic Fiction’ through the maintenance of the medieval Gothic features in it. This research attempts to compare medieval gothic with modern gothic through a content analysis to explore the practical medieval Gothic features, and infer the relevant themes of discussion.
The purpose of this study is to develop a source material for the comparison of Frankenstein with Harry Potter through content analysis and answering the following questions:
- Does Gothic Fantasy sustain interest by making the imaginary world emotionally meaningful?
- Is the practice of medieval Gothic features recurrent in modern Gothic fiction?
- Why is Gothic fiction still not popular in Pakistan?
The focus of the analysis will be on typical qualities and themes that are frequently seen in “Gothic” literature. The following characteristics will be taken into account:
Victorian and Modern period of Gothic literature
Key characteristics that are repeated in the ghost stories
Themes and topics covered in the content analysis are presented to understand the positions taken by Victorian and Contemporary writers.
The present research study has adopted the approach of ‘content analysis’ being a widely used qualitative research methodology to collect, consider, and examine the contents of text within a research. Not merely the current project attempts to revolve around the major research questions, but also reflects and generates thoughts as to what its best possible answer should be. The content analysis is selected for the following reasons: First, sentence analysis of the literature can help to gauge the contextual behavior of those genres. Secondly, based on the analysis, positive, negative and neutral usages can also be segregated. Thirdly, the code of analysis can be applied over the collected literature to find the perception formed and the effect on the society. For this purpose, the researcher has conducted the approach of content analysis upon her text, coded or broken it down into categories on a variety of levels i.e. word, word sense, phrase, sentence, or central notion and then examined using one of content analysis’ vital methods i.e. ‘Constant Comparative Method’. Moreover, the collected data in this way led the researcher to different facts and conclusions that how the sixteenth century Gothic tradition is still dominant in the modern fiction. In order to fulfill this purpose, the primary sources of information were the novels themselves. The secondary sources of information included critical books, relevant websites, internet resources, and few of the research articles published by the critics.
The content analysis approach is described by Babbie (2001) as:
“A social science methodology that is based on the understanding of human communication including: writing, painting and context. This involves understanding the meaning of text, the phrases used, the key terms, the authenticity and the authorship – a true scientific method that can look at the objectivity, intersubjectivity, the validity, the replicability and more of a specific document (p. 97).
The content analysis method is further divided into two approaches: quantitative and qualitative. As stated concisely in the first chapter, this document will attempt to deal with a precise introduction to the ‘constant qualitative method of content analysis’ being a ‘text analysis method’ for conducting a qualitative research. Since both the methods (quantitative and qualitative) are significant for the data analysis, the quantitative content analysis according to Babbie (2001),
“is the study of recorded human communications, essentially a coding operation with coding being, ‘the process of transforming raw data into a standardized form” (p.124-25).
Concerning the reliability of the method, Gillham (2000) asserts that,
The essence of content analysis is identifying ‘substantive statements’ – statements that really say something (p. 71-72).
Berelson (1971) defined quantitative content analysis as:
“A research technique for the objective, systematic, and quantitative description of the manifest content of communication (p. 18).
In this respect, the longest established ‘classical content analysis’ that mentioned only the methods laying emphasis on ‘directly and clearly quantifiable’ parts of written ‘subject matter’, and as a rule on complete and relative quantity of words per unit text is essentially a quantitative method as according to Berelson (1971),
“It deals with the core and central tool as its main system of categories” (p.53)
Now we come to the description of ‘qualitative research analysis”. Sieg Kracauer’s 1952 article ‘The Challenge of Qualitative Content Analysis’ maintained that the drawback of quantitative method is that it is unable to cover some of the important aspects of a research. For example, he contends:
“Its orientation ignored the particular quality of texts and that it was important to rebuild the contextual situation in a study” (p.03).
Herbert Rubin, for instance, in his Qualitative Interviewing, the Art of Hearing Data (1995), criticized that especially the following four aspects are not taken into account appropriately by quantitative content analysis:
- The context of text components;
- Latent structures of sense;
- Distinctive individual cases;
- Things that do not appear in the text.
Philip Mayring of Germany (developed the concept of qualitative content analysis in 1980 tries to cope with such discrepancies of the classical ’or‘ qualitative content analyses by applying a systematic and a theory-based methodology to the analysis of data in a research as Bryman (1992) states:
‘Mayring’s ‘Qualitative Content Analysis’ specifies that this technique is probably the ‘most prevalent approach to the qualitative analysis of documents’ and that it ‘comprises a searching out of underlying themes in the materials being analyzed’ (p.71).
In other words, he (Alan Bryman) specifically describes qualitative content analysis in the following way: An approach to documents that emphasizes the role of the investigator in the construction of the meaning of and in texts. There is an emphasis on allowing categories to emerge out of data and on recognizing the valid significance for understanding the meaning of the context in which an item being analyzed appeared (p.88.). It means that Philip Mayring’s ‘qualitative content analysis’ is not merely a specific methodology for analyzing the ‘evidence’ but also in the words of Hartley (2004), a sophisticated and concretely described method at the same time examines data that is the product of an open-ended data collection techniques aimed at detail and depth, rather than measurement (p.323).
This research work involves the following four steps:
- Identification of the medieval Gothic features through the review of literature.
- Comparison of Frankenstein with Harry Potter (in terms of Gothic qualities) through content analysis.
- Exploring the existence of those complimentary features within the present-age fiction to see if similar features are found to be of interest in the modern times.
- Drawing the relevant themes on the basis of all the study.
Significance of the Study
The current research work focuses upon the concept of ‘Gothicism’ characterized by the elements of fear, anxiety, danger, trouble, regression, and, above all, beyond what is natural or physically possible that result in the obsessions of heroes, heroines, and, other harmless victims by vampires, evil spirits, demonic possessions, sinful protagonists, and ominous villains. Other popular worldwide elements that characterize such style of fiction may include imperceptible mystery, dark romance, devilish sexual desire, hatred, and disgust. The Gothic fiction also strongly emphasizes the background setting, atmosphere, and an elevate style to give vent to a state of uncertainty and anxiety within the reader. The similar themes may take in the supernatural occurrences, curses revisiting on a family itself because of its own misdeeds, mysterious happenings, claustrophobia, and insanity. For the expression of the similar feelings, the researcher has picked up ‘novel’ as the best genre rather than ‘poetry’ or ‘drama’.
Chapter 2: Literature Review
The literature review comprises of an introduction and explanation of Gothic, the Gothic fiction, the specified Gothic features, few of the researches done in this field and a review of the different Gothic attempts in the light of the medieval Gothic features.
Definition of Gothic
“The term “Gothic” actually refers to a “mode of human skill” that took place in Europe in the second part of the Middle Ages or what one might refer to as ‘medieval age’ (from 1200 to 1600). It is most frequently associated with architecture and can also be applied to sculptures, panel painting, high illuminated manuscripts, stained glass, jewelry, and textiles produced in the period. Whereas the Gothic mode is most frequently associated with architecture, it can also be applied to sculptures, panel painting, illuminated manuscripts, stained glass, jewelry and textiles produced in the period” (Mishra, p.156.)
The above quotation describes the nature and application of Gothic and the role of human intellect in the development of architecture. The Goths created Gothic architecture that can be esteemed as the highly popular art of several grand and principal churches, dreadful abbeys, and grotesque buildings such as castles, mansions, palaces, universities and western private buildings. The Gothic art has also progressed in the field of making statues, clothes, ‘grotesque’ make-up cosmetics, jewelry and glass products (Tracy, 2005). According to Tracy (2005):
“There is no one who is not acquainted with the “Goths” who were a modern Germanic tribe, one of many so-called “barbarian” pagan tribes that invaded former territories of the Christian Roman Empire following the fall of Rome in the 4th century A.D. These waves of invaders, who were invaders, who were absorbed by Christianity, brought an architectural and artistic sensibility which was very distinctive from the classical style. Whereas the classical style was subtle and controlled, the Gothic style was extreme, seemingly uncontrolled, larger than life, intended to invoke a strong emotional response, whether awe, pity, compassion, horror or fear” (p.153.).
She further adds:
“In human representation, where the Classical style was naturalistic and idealistic, the Gothic style was crude, rather caricature-like, grotesque and exaggerated (Crucifixion motif emphasizing the physical suffering of Christ), Gothic style expressed the essence of the Catholic faith, of the presence of God still incorporating older Pagan (nature-worship) symbolism: gargoyles and the other elemental spirits with a purpose toward the evil off” (p.161)8
It has no surprise then that Gothic has had different interpretations throughout the history. Then what definition is suitable to express Gothic? Frederick Hedges (1999) in Literary and Cultural Studies gives a brief yet meaningful description of the dark and the melancholic Gothic atmosphere:
“Gothic is a genre or mode whose dull, dark imagery often includes medieval ruins, supernatural occurrences, and demonic protagonists. Gothic themes usually emphasize the persistence of the past history’s grip on the present and takes place against a backdrop where few characters are innocent and few of them are damned. Gothic narratives often stress upon the fear of mortification and decay” (P.101-102).
In the light of the above-mentioned quotation Carter (2004) defines the Gothic novel in the following way:
The Gothic novel flourished through the early eighteenth century. The authors of such novels set their stories in the medieval period, often in a gloomy castle replete with dungeons, subterranean passages sliding panels and made plentiful use of ghosts, evil spirits, mysterious appearances, and other sensational and supernatural occurrences. Their principal aim was to evoke chilling terror by exploiting horror, mystery, ruins, suspense, death, and cruelty (p.176).
The term “Gothic” is one having a long history. Our society is still not so much aware of the term “Gothic”. Nevertheless, the term has comparatively adopted quite new meaning to us today than the way it was realized during the 18th century. We, today, think of the “Gothic” as being a sensible mode or fashion that can relate to architecture or personality as well. These concepts may be symbolized by lurid colors and harsh lines or intensity. In England, in the eighteenth century, the Gothic was considered to be a style of writing that involved the utmost creation of feelings and emotions. The “Gothic” was a concept dealt with ‘Goth’ and ‘Gore’, darkness and suspicions, violence and Jangling discords, and the audience’s response towards the prose. However, the Gothic novel of the eighteenth – century is somewhat difficult to describe. It can be taken as a style of fiction i.e. both controversial and ambiguous, and when literary critics attempt to talk about its attributes, they wind up using vast (general but not detailed) accounts.
Operational Definitions of the Gothic Features
It can truly be said that many features of the medieval Gothic tradition that were dominant in practice in the old Victorian novels are still recurrent in the post-modern Gothic fiction. All of them seem to revolve around the certain profound themes which the researcher will attempt to draw. It is not possible to depict all of the operational definitions of the complimentary Gothic features here in detail since it has been done in the researcher’s previous document. However, a brief account of them is as follows:
- An Imperceptible Setting
Nearly all the Gothic novels, whether old or new, are dominated by an atmosphere full of suspense and darkness. The situation is dominated by a state of excitement or anxiety about something that is going to happen very soon e .g. threatening feeling within a character (regarding the indication of a coming bad event), a panic that is augmented by anything dreadful or mysterious. Frequently, the framework of a Gothic novel itself is built around a mystery such as an unknown murder, disappearance, obscure parentage, or some other inexplicable incidents. The best examples of this can be seen in the characters of the protagonist Manfred and Victor Frankenstein’s monstrous creature in the acknowledged Gothic masterpieces such as Horace Walpole‘s Castle of Otranto (1764) and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1819) respectively. The above –mentioned characters are equally tyrannical, murderers, tormentors, and also abductors. The victims such as poor serving people in the castle of Otranto, Frankenstein’s friends and family members suffer badly because of the cruelties of these evil characters.
- A Partial Prediction
This specific Gothic feature is about the mysterious place itself or people who have already lived in it either in past or present. The prediction remains usually incomplete. For example, within the Gothic fiction, it is connected with the houses, castles, mansions, hovels or forests which are isolated or having any connection to the past events such as death or assassination of someone (mostly of a victim) or unknown disappearance of some innocent character by an ominous one. Such predictions can also be observed in the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in which the Chamber seems to be strongly haunted by the dreadful creatures.
- Supernatural Dreamy World
In such situations, a character may have an interrupting vision, or any ominous dream about an appearance that may be perceived as an omen of coming incidents. For instance, if the large sculpture of any mighty man falls in a Gothic novel; this may prove to be an indication of his severe disaster. For instance, in The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein (2008) by Peter Ackroyd, the main protagonist Frankenstein sees his statue falling on the ground in his dream which proves to be the portent of coming bad events such as the murder of his dear ones by a monster and his own doom.
- Disappearance of Characters
Within the Gothic fiction characters mostly disappear and their disappearance remains a mystery for the bulk of the whole novel. An example of this can be seen in one of the installments of Stephen Edwin King’s famous series Nightmares and Dreamscapes (1988) named The Night Flier (1988), where the disappearance of the murdered victims remains misunderstood. Whether they are imprisoned during their prolonged disappearance or murdered it remains mysterious.
- The Metonymy of Grief and Ruin
Metonymy can be regarded as a sub-type of compressed simile in which a situation, event or idea (such as that of lightning during a thunderstorm) is used to represent something opposite (like gloom or ruin) in a Gothic novel. This situation can be seen in many Gothic tales such as Murders in Rue Morgue (1847), Frankenstein, and Harry Potter in which raining, lightning, dark mark on the Hogwarts’ Astronomy Tower stand for grief, doom and death respectively.
Characteristics of the Gothic Fiction
The Gothic novels were known to have an influence on the people indicating their craze for ‘Goth’ and ‘Gore’. The setting of such novels was mostly based on haunted castles as well as medieval ruins. A number of Gothic novels have been written since the year 1764 while displaying the highly ‘indispensable’ features. For this purpose, the researcher has picked up some of the most important features of Gothic fiction. Hence, the recent document attempts to describe the specified Gothic qualities and review of the different Gothic works in the light of these qualities. A brief account of features is as follows:
To stir up a reader’s melancholic feeling and compassion, the female characters in the Gothic fiction frequently encounter incidents that are wholly responsible for leaving them crying, swooning, panicking, and horrified. Besides, a female character, that is full of loneliness, thoughtfulness, and oppression, is very frequently the major figure for nearly the bulk of a Gothic novel. So her intense grief and troubles become not only more pronounced but also the focus of heed. For example the heroine Monimia’s sufferings in Tobias George Smollet’s Gothic masterpiece Ferdinand Count Fathom (1753), after becoming victim to the evil desires of the monstrous natured protagonist Fathom. In this respect, a Gothic work is essentially a ‘dark’ presentation of a woman’s miseries as well as sufferings.
It happens in such situations that one or two of the male characters, that possess authority as a ruler, father, guardian or monster demand one or more of the maiden characters to do something ‘unbearable’. For example, they may be forced to marry someone they strongly dislike. In Frankenstein, e.g., the monster expresses his affection for the housemaid Justine but she reacted towards him with hatred and disgust. Therefore, she becomes a victim to the monster’s cruelty and is put to death for nothing. In the same way, the heroine Elizabeth was strangled to death by the same ghastly creature. A female character in a Gothic novel may also be ordered to commit a grave offence or crime or become a victim to some evil desires of tyranny.
The description in a Gothic novel may be loftily emotional, and characters may frequently be prevailed over by rage, grief, regret, amazement, and peculiarly terror or extreme fear. Characters also undergo immature or inexperienced ‘vigor’ (i.e. they cannot fight with the powerful whether a monster, king, father, or guardian) as well as an experience or emotion of something ‘ominous’ going to happen very soon. For example, the protagonist of the novel Victor Frankenstein could not harm the monster as a reaction of his (monster’s) cruelties. In such novels, screaming, and sentimental orations are very frequent. Intense feelings of panting as well as frightfulness are prevalent.
In such situations sudden and surprising incidents may take place, e.g., we can see in The Castle of Otranto a walking ghost, spectre or any lifeless objects such as an iron suit or a work of art such as a painting seems flying. In the same way, in Frankenstein, we can see Frankenstein’s monster moving and expressing his feelings.
Mysterious or Supernatural Occurrences
Another important feature is mystery that may appear in the form of weirdly horrible or supernatural occurrences where a reader can find ghosts, evil spirits, as well as haunted houses. The Gothic fiction is based on the profound beliefs in the supernatural beings. Many people do not esteem the Gothic fiction as just fancy e.g., enthusiasts of Gothic fiction believe that a place (such as a grand castle, an isolated mansion or a desolated forest) can be haunted by ghosts or evil spirits. Some of these certainties have proved to be impregnate even in Pakistani society as well. It is very nearly like a part of us. Some of the readers feel panic when reading such stories whereas others find great delight in them. Along with the supernatural beings the mysterious buildings, for example, in The Castle of Otranto, also contain hidden narrow ways, many trapping entrances, concealed chamber, dark or obscure flights of stairs, underground rooms, winding passages and also desolated divisions or sections.
In this feature, occurs an unpleasant feeling of worry when a character is in danger or something horrible is going to happen. Characters are always afraid of something that creates a panicked situation. For example, in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, when Harry Potter beholds the horrible Basilisk, he is panic-stricken.
Horror and Terror
Another recognized feature is terror which can both be psychological and physical. While reading the stories, a reader of Gothic fiction is bound to be confined by terror which keeps him excited and surprised as he intends to proceed in reading. Horror in Gothic fiction is considered to be the strongest feeling of alarm caused by something extremely unpleasant e.g. a hideous monster (in Frankenstein) or any dreadful appearance such as that of Count Dracula in Bram Stoker’s 19th century masterpiece Dracula.
Suspense and Obscurity
The situation is dominated by a threatening feeling (regarding the indication of a coming bad event), a panic that is augmented by anything obscure or mysterious. Often the plot of a Gothic novel itself is formed around a mystery such as obscure murder (the murder of Elizabeth, Justine and Frankenstein’s brother William in Frankenstein), disappearance of characters (William’s disappearance by the monster before murder), obscure parentage (monster’s searching about his parents) or some other ‘inexpressible’ incidents (Dracula having people’s blood, ghosts and giants moving in The Castle of Otranto).
An Oldest Prediction
It is related to a mysterious place itself or people who have already lived in it either in past or present. The prediction remains usually obscure, incomplete or confounding. Now one may ask the question as to “what does it signify?” In more comprehensive present-time examples, this may amount to only a traditional story e.g. “It is said that the spirit of the old woman Mrs. Myre still silently rambles these large rooms!” Such predictions can frequently be seen in The Castle of Otranto in which we find walking skeletons, pictures that move out of their frames, and twisting corridors.
Prognostic Signs, Ominous Situations and Dreams
In such situations, a character may have an interrupting dream, or any other monstrous appearance that may be perceived as an omen of coming incidents. For instance, if the statue of any colossal man falls in a Gothic masterpiece, this may be an indication of his death or doom. In the wider perception, dreadful realities are frequently disclosed to characters by a horrible vision in their sleep just like Victor Frankenstein dreamed about the death of Elizabeth that proved to be true.
In this Gothic feature, the characters mostly disappear and their disappearance remains a mystery for the bulk of a Gothic story. A specific example can be seen in Stephen King’s Night Flier (1988), where the disappearance of the murdered victims remains a mystery for the whole story. Whether they are imprisoned during the long disappearance or killed it remains a mystery. Hence, where one or more of the characters disappear, there begins a mystery.
The Metonymy of grief
Metonymy is a situation in Gothic fiction in which something (like thunderstorm or falling rain) is used to stand for something that runs counter to (grief or mourning). For example, situations in English mysterious fiction recommend employing metonymy as the speedy stenography e.g., in Frankenstein, Victor was carrying his mother’s funeral along with the other people in continuous rain falling and is full of grief. In this way, rain became the symbol of his sorrow. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the atmospheric gleams of electricity and furious tempest might equal some commotion or agitation within the mind of Harry Potter himself.
Research in Gothic Fiction
Not much of the research has been conducted in the field of Gothic fiction to unravel different existing complexities, i.e. what is Gothic actually? Where it took its origin from? What will be the future of Gothic? Why is it so popular among the readers and film reviewers worldwide? etc. However, a few of the researchers have conducted valuable researches. The first is Maguire, Lecturer in Russian at University of Exeter whose doctorate dissertation analyzed the persistence of the central ideas of Gothic and horror literature within Socialist Realism and other genres of early Soviet-age Russian literature. Her most important work, in this connection includes Red Spectres: Russian 20th century Gothic-fantastic tales (Published in 2013).
Secondly, comes Barbara Braid, an Assistant Lecturer in the English Department at Szczecin University, Poland. Her most valuable attempt at Gothic Literature includes Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: A Romantic Gothic Text in Literary Curriculum (2007) in which she has highlighted many Gothic aspects involved in the writing of Frankenstein.
Third is Catherine Spooner in the list, a faculty member in Lancaster University who did her specialization in Victorian and contemporary Gothic literature and her masterpieces include Contemporary Gothic (2006) and Fashioning Gothic Bodies (2004). Both the attempts have highlighted the importance of Gothic fiction in future.
Fourthly, the researcher would like to refer Martin Willis, a Professor of Science, Literature and Communication at the University of Westminster, in central London. His most valuable research on Gothic namely Victorian Gothic (2012) in which he has pointed out towards the originality of Gothic mode in the writing of true fiction.
Last is Dr. Ian McCormick an illustrious Professor at the University of Northampton until 2009. His most skillful research in Gothic fiction includes ‘Gothic Literature’ in The English Literature Companion (2011). In this work, an introduction to the Gothic Literature and its importance has been aimed at University students.
Gothic Tradition in English Novels
Countless of valuable Gothic literature has been produced in different ages. Here the attempt is to describe the review of different Gothic works in the light of the above-mentioned features. In this respect, first of all, we come towards the work of Tobias George Smollet (1721-1771). He was an exceptional who equipped the Gothic atmosphere in his novels by specific designs and modes. He is first of all considered to be the forerunner of the Gothic writers. In the year 1753, he poured forth his first remarkable Gothic fiction work named Ferdinand Count Fathom that is esteemed to be the first important work of the 18th century. The novel depicts fear, sudden disappearance, inexplicable happenings, and threatening as the principal Gothic features. Fathom is the protagonist of this novel. The entire story revolves around the course of the action that is projected by Fathom’s frightening, threatening and abduction of a rich lady named Monimia whom he traps because of her wealth. He subjects the lady to the long imprisonment, the profound wretched state and fear. Besides, the novel also abounds in inexpressible incidents. For example, in the last chapter, the way fears imposed by Fathom on Monimia are returned on him. As a punishment, Fathom himself becomes dehumanized for dehumanizing the other people. He became diminished to an absolute object of loathing and disgust.
Secondly, we come towards the work of Horace Walpole (1717 – 1797) who is also supposed to be the founder in the Gothic fiction. The Castle of Otranto (1764) is considered to be his best-known effort within the realm of the Gothic fiction. He had written this story in his house that was near ‘London at Strawberry Hill ’. This Gothic novel is supposed to be a relevantly modern root from the title that was given by Horace Walpole to his same prose work. The most note-worthy features mystery, terror, horror, fear and supernatural are dominant in this story.
Manfred is the protagonist of this novel who is the owner of The Castle of Otranto. The entire novel revolves around his cruelties with different characters. The characters undergo a strange kind of fear named ‘claustrophobia’ when they are imprisoned by the cruel Manfred whose act of killing people creates the strong element of ‘terror’ in the novel. The castle is mysterious and seems to be the abode of weirdly horrible things. In this way, it creates the feeling of horror and the novel can also be regarded as the very first attempt in which the feelings of terror are expounded in a natural way.
In addition, the strong signs of mystery can also be seen in this story, because the castle was obscure that seemed to have been originated from ‘nowhere’. According to Lowry Nelson Junior (1999),
“This is the first novel in which horror is given a naturalistic explanation, and the purpose is to produce the effect or impression of probability and a possible source in medieval Gothic fiction”. (p. 193).
After The Castl of Otranto, appeared a series of novels. Many of them were turned into drama e.g. the novels written by Miss Clara Reeve (1729 -1807). The most important among them is The Old English Baron (1777). It is considered to be the Gothic tale of oldest predictions, and mystery. Besides, it also comprises the powerful signs of the ‘weird horror’ or the ‘supernatural’. The story of the Old English Baron is about the hero (Edmund) who in the end became capable of recovering his moral and legal rights. According to J.M.S. Thompkins (2008),
“He had been brought up in an unawareness regarding his aristocratic descent and in the end recovered the right of primogeniture” (p.122).
It remains a mystery for the bulk of the novel that Edmund is the son of a peer and is a member of the nobility. The strange house in which the hero, Edmund is brought up is replete with a number of the oldest predictions regarding ghosts and evil spirits.
Then we come towards the remarkable Gothic attempts of Mrs. Ann Radcliff (1764-1823) who can be esteemed as the founder of ‘dark imagery’ and the most famous of Gothic writers. In her stories we frequently find three of the dominant. Gothic features namely mystery, fear of closed spaces, and supernatural but unlike the other Gothic novelists, she had the ability to control these features by reason. She rationalized all the above-mentioned features in her masterpiece Mysteries of Udolpho (1794). For example, strange voices are coming from the mysterious chamber of Udolpho but we come to understand later that a mad prisoner is performing some wanton tricks. We also find supernatural beings talking in rationalized manner.
Mrs. Ann Radcliff’s participation in the growth of the English Gothic novel has been great and profound. She may be regarded as the very first novelist who used scenery for its own sake. The scenery may include the events of terror, mystery, supernatural and fear. Besides, she was also equipped with a natural ability for the use of masterly dialogues in order to reveal character and to speed up the action. She is regarded as the very first English Gothic fiction writer who attempted to examine the human nature in a character and was possessed by the ability to describe the true events in a decent and appealing manner.
Next come the Gothic attempts by another ‘Genius’ namely Matthew Gregory Lewis (1775 – 1818) who created a ‘heart-throbbing’ and ‘thought-triggering’ atmosphere of dark magical spells throughout in his novel. According to Grunenberg (1997),
“He employed the elements of black magic that painted his gimand ghastly themes in dark and lurid color” (p. 157-158).
While he was twenty years old, he surprised the British public by pouring forth his first Gothic masterpiece named The Monk that was published in 1795. It was composed within the duration of round about ten weeks. In this novel, we notice the features of terror, fear, horror, threatening and elaborated sentiments dominant throughout. The story revolves around the ‘extreme terrorist’ nature of a monk who first inflicts inhuman anguish and then violently murders the victims.
Of all the Gothic novels, Matthew Gregory Lewis’ this story is thought to be his perfect Gothic attempt. According to Lionel Stevenson (2006), in the English Novel, A Panorama, the way he describes the situation has been distinguished from that of Mrs. Ann Radcliff in two regards:
“Instead of her excessive moral delicacy, he offered gross voluptuousness and instead of giving careful rational explanation of her uncanny effects, he indulged in crude terror” (p.179).
William Beckford (1760-1844) was a millionaire whose opinions regarding the Gothic fiction were strange and mysterious. He uses the feature of horror, mystery, supernatural and obscurity. His ability to build ideas was equipped with obscure images of beautiful states of the Eastern countries. All that he had in his creative faculty of mind at that time concerning the East and its regions, he described in his Vathek that was published in 1786. It can truly be regarded as an ‘extravagant fancy’. The author of the story makes the following expression in his introduction, added by Edith Birkhead (1996),
Vathek is a story so horrid that I tremble while relating it, and have not a nerve in my frame but vibrates like an aspen” (p.155-156).
Some other features in the story also include prognostic signs, ominous situations and, dreams which, according to Devendra Geotough Verma (2011), can be described in the following manner:
“…nightmare or at least disgusting image of a bad dream, while a sense of fatality and moral tragedy brood over it like an ominous doom. Its use of evil signs and stately descriptions serves it to relate to the Gothic romance. Its machinery of magic and the horror place it with The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis” (p.170-171).
After William Beckford, we come towards Charles Robert Maturin (1782-1824) who was an Irishman. He was a prist and a diligent writer of the literature of fear, mystery, inexpressible happenings and supernatural. He wrote some high quality enthusiastic and energetic works that were stamped with a distinct ‘individuality’ and ingenuity of thought’. His most notable composition of emotional and artful Gothic tales comprises The Fatal Revenge (1807), The Wild Irish Boy (1808), The Milesian Chief (1812), and Melmoth the Wanderer (1820). His last novel is thought to be his best-known effort within the realm of Gothic fiction.
He has made the use of ‘inexplicable incidents’ in this story that shone at its climax when he depicted the struggle of passion in a soul that was trembling on the verge of unlawful and unhallowed. Melmoth is the protagonist of this novel. He sells his soul to a ghastly devil to gain a life of hundred and fifty years. Melmoth’s companions refuse to help him in his task because of the fear of the devil. His gets the mysterious magical powers from the devil e.g. the power to disappear and paralyze the crowd by waving his hand. According to Angela Carter in Fireworks, the writer of the story tried his best to blend the two clearly ‘detached streams’ of the Gothic novel i.e. Mrs. Ann Radcliff’s suggestive way of description and the ‘blood-chilling’ horrors of The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis:
“His acute insight into character, clear descriptive faculty and his true sensitive style of writing are in the tradition of Mrs. Ann Radcliff, by his free use of the elements of fear and supernatural. He treads in the footsteps of Matthew Gregory Lewis yet surpasses him in the force and skill of his attacks upon the reader’s nerves. Lewis’ horror, his crypts and smell of rotten corpses pale beside Charles Robert Maturin’s gruesome realism and suggestive power of Mrs. Ann Radcliff (p.194).
It was by the centuries 1815-1820 that an aspiration for a fiction little more distinguished and preferably more advanced was emerging to be experienced. In this respect, Thomas Love Peacock (1785-1866) gave his remarkable masterpiece named Nightmare Abbey (1818) which is absolutely wonderful for the most part. Nightmare Abbey and The Crotchet Castle (1831) can be regarded as ‘classic’ Gothic novels since in these two attempts, the author seems to have a witty and slightly ‘subversive’ take on the concept of Gothic fiction. Nightmare Abbey includes the features of fear, terror, horror, and mystery.
In this story, the owner of the Nightmare Abbey lets exclusively those menials serve who are having the fearful and troublesome facial appearance and absolutely disturbing names. He also tortures the servants that are why they are afraid of him. It remains a mystery why he employs only servants having depressing looks. Abbey looks horrible while having twisting corridors and underground vaults. The story is written in a sparkling manner. It can be regarded as a high quality works that can be enjoyed anytime or anywhere.
According to George Haggerty (1999), Thomas Love Peacock was regarded as one of the ‘genuine’ Gothic writers because:
“In the hands of a serious and genuinely imaginative writer, as was Thomas Love Peacock, a Gothic story (of whatever length it may be), explores the limits of what people are capable of doing and experiencing. Such a creative writer, in his novel, ventures into the realm of fear, horror, suspense, psychological chaos, emotional wastelands, and psychic trauma (p.145-148).
Regarding his classic Gothic novel The Crotchet Castle, according to David Morse (2003):
“He has explored the capacity for experiencing fear, hysteria and madness all that lies on the dark side of the mind and near side of barbarism. There dwells the concept of horror, terror, paradigms, images, and figures of suffering, chaos, and intense grief, an overwhelming feeling of irredeemable loss, acute fear and physical pain. Here are adequate entertaining descriptions and symbols for deeply rooted, primitive and powerful weirdly horrible forces, energies and fears related to death, punishment, darkness, violence and destruction” (p.167-170).
The Crotchet Castle is equipped with many Gothic features such as fear, horror, terror, misery, supernatural, death and darkness. It is a dreadful castle in which claustrophobic feeling in different characters is dominant. The owner of the castle inflicts pains and agonies on different people who are turned into ghosts and spirits after death and haunt the castle. Characters also suffer because of their innocence in this story. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851), the British Gothic novelist, was born in the Romantic Age but lived through the Victorian Era. She thought of her Gothic masterpiece Frankenstein (1818) when she was only nineteen years old. It is a tale of horror that is considered one of the most popular dreadful stories of the Gothic tradition such as Nightmare Abbey by Thomas Love Peacock, Melmoth the Wanderer by Charles Robert Maturin, Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis and many others. This novel revolves around a “creator” and his “creation” and concerns the Gothic features of mystery, prognostic signs, ominous situations, dreams about any coming bad event, inexpressible happenings, elaborated sentiments and metonymy of grief and horror. The terrible dreams are dreamed by different characters in Frankenstein in such a way that the hidden insight regarding the Cosmos, ominous incidents, evil signs or nature of human beings come out through such dream visions. In other words, according to Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick (2000),
“Signs or omens through dream visions disclose the interruption of the universal forces and frequently represent fights whether psychological or spiritual” (p.137).
In the same way, atmospheric gleams of electricity and furious tempest in the novel equal some commotion or agitation within the mind of the protagonist Frankenstein.
Besides, ‘inexpressible happenings’ also occur in the novel e.g. Victor beholds ghastly visage of the monster from his chamber. The monster was meant to be human but unexpectedly became a dreadful creature.
Regarding the presence of the ‘elaborated sentiments’, we can observe the emotional orations of Elizabth, Justine, Victor Frankenstein and monster in the novel that are very thought-triggering. Panting and frightfulness of Elizabeth and Justine on becoming victim to the monster are also dominant in the novel.
The design of a Gothic novel is also built around the concept of ‘mystery’ such as disappearance, unknown murder or parentage and all these aspects of mystery are obvious in Frankenstein that will be discussed in detail in the researcher’s fourth chapter. Regarding the aspect of disappearance, Jacqueline Howard (1994) says: “the feature of disappearance is the backbone of a Gothic novel (p.169)21
In addition to this, the novel abounds in the ‘metonymy of grief’. Victor on creating the monster remains in the continuous state of gloom. For example, the thunderstorm symbolizes Victor’s grief for the death of his dear ones. The popularity of the novel Frankenstein took place because it is thought to be the first well-known Gothic story that was written in the past but now its modern versions are in reading practice (e.g. the Casebook of Victor Frankenstein) and movie adaptations are avidly watched all around the world. Also it has made a valuable use of science for the purpose of creating the monster.
In a brief span of time, it became know to the British public in 1818. Frankenstein is a genuine dreadful story that has been popular to a great extent and non-stop in print in many languages including Urdu. The story has influenced a number of Gothic novels and more than eighty movies (e.g. Bride of Frankenstein, Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein and many others). The word ‘monster’ has its derivation from the novel by Mary Shelley and is the consequence of man’s interfering with the ‘limited’ boundaries and his ‘uninterrupted relish’ to make use of his intellect transgressively. Such a situation, according to Kenneth Clark (2008), is:
“…the outcome of man’s tinkering with nature and his untamed desire to create and apply his knowledge” (p.96).
The second wave of the Gothic fiction is also worth – discussion especially because of the famous Gothic masterpiece Dracula (1897) by Abraham Bram Stoker (1847-1912) which, after overlooking the Gothic historical environment, ranked the story in modern age. It can truly be said that he published the most popular of all the vampire tales of supernatural, fear, terror and horror that is popular all around the world in the modern age as well.
Now we come towards seeing this successful Gothic effort from a different angle. The novel is equipped with the features of the terror, fear, supernatural, and horror. Fear and terror are described the way in which Dracula sucks human blood, feels afraid of holy signs and bears the power of twenty men. So all this is the most surprising thing to read and watch.
By reading this novel with a concentrated view on the character of the hero (Abraham Van Helsing), the novel seems strongly fixed in the style of the actual weirdly horrible tale. Count Dracula is the supernatural being that puts his long and dreadful teeth in the necks of innocent people. The feature of ‘misery’ can also be observed in the novel. According to Clara Mclyntyre (1999),
“The title character (Dracula) in this edition serves to entail only a fantasy world of vampires and maidens in distress” (p.142).
The book of Dracula can be regarded as a marvelous story about the forces of good and evil. This is a book that can truly be approved for bearing a good legendary tale. In the researcher’s opinion, one of the best lines in the novel is the one uttered by the Count Dracula. He says to a female victim before putting his teeth into her neck that he will turn her into a stream of blood.
In the mean time, owing to its popularity, Gothic began to spread in North America as well. In this regard, the most important name is Edgar Allen Poe (1809 -1849) who is considered to be a true follower of Mary Shelley in all his works. One of his skillfully written stories is Fall of the House of Usher (1839) that is brief, extremely emotional and has the strength to influence misery, fear, mystery and horror.
He, through his ominous descriptions, gives us the glimpses of hell in this story. The story comprises the miseries of the twin brother and Sister Roderick Usher and Madeline Usher. The death of Madeline Usher remains a mystery. In this story, the incident of Madeline’s becoming alive after her death is full of the elements of fear and horror. His other most illuminated Gothic stories are The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841), The Pit and the Pendulum, The Black Cat and the Tell-Tale Heart (all 1843). The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841) is his brief mysterious tale about murder that is intended to frighten its reader as well as curdle his blood.
Thirdly, we come towards the description of The Pit and the Pendulum (1843).Edgar Allen Poe had vividly in mind the impacts of the fear and unavoidable happenings that start with the tough test of the nameless narrator since he takes his seat in front of very sharp and strict judges that are seven in number. He will be punished soon for an obscure violation of a divine rule. That is why all his fears and inexpressible incidents have been described the way in which he beholds the big muddy rats running across the ‘muddy’ floor. The arched roof and bottomless pit seem to him just as disgusting as could be the deep prognostic signs of hell itself. Since the walls start closing in on him, he comes to know about his being forced to the last margin of the horrible pit itself. The entire situation describes the utmost feelings of fear and disgust.
The Black Cat published in 1843 is briefly an ominous and mysterious story by Edgar Allen Poe. The narrator of the story, from a prison cell, describes about the situation of mystery, fear, and horror. The Black Cat is the tale about the use of magical powers, especially the evil ones that hold the accepted doctrine in the eastern as well as western countries. For example, the narrator’s killing of his favorite cat and his wife after the cat’s mocking at him on the stairs of the underground room and the mysterious appearance of another cat of the same shape from nowhere, the gradual development of the white patch on its body are the strong ominous signs of panic, mystery and horror.
Lastly, the Tell-Tale Heart (1843) is another of Edgar Allen Poe’s most famous and influential brief tales that was first published in January. This story focuses upon the ultimate concepts of mystery, fear, and suspense. The brief Gothic tale depicts a miserable psychological situation of an insane narrator who happens to commit a crime of assassinating a man and later hears his victim’s mysterious and merciless heartbeat. The reader in this story anxiously waits for what happens next. It is because of writing such vigorous stories that he earned a great fame and honor among his contemporaries as a capable, truly qualified, a profound knowledgeable reviewer of literary works and, last but not the least, as a gifted writer.
The third wave of Gothic fiction is worth-discussion, capable of demonstrating that the features of eighteenth century Gothic fiction are still dominant in the 21st century and are gaining a considerable popularity all around the world. In this respect, the researcher considers John Harwood’s The Séance to be the most important work that was published in 2008 and is a horror, mysterious as well as a suspense fiction and revolves around the concept of calling spirits.
Then we come towards The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein (2008) by Peter Ackroyd that is a modern-age Gothic masterpiece. Peter Ackroyd has retold the story of Victor Frankenstein. He has made use of “historical persons” including the writer of the story Mary Shelley, and the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in this ‘spine-chilling’ Gothic story.
The novel is about man’s misuse of his mental power. It is apparently by midway through the novel in which the creature says to its ‘creator’ Victor Frankenstein:
“Once you create life you must take responsibility for it” (p.178).
This is undeniable to say that it is an interesting and thought-triggering novel equipped with almost the same Gothic tradition which was pursued by Mary Shelley. However, the people who intend to read it will have to read Mary Shelley’s original masterpiece to fully understand Ackroyd’s views. The story is full of many ‘blood-curdling’ and ‘spine-chilling’ incidents also including the event when the resurrectionists are taking the dead human bodies out of graves. The novel abounds in Gothic features i.e. fear, disgust, mystery, suspense, obscurity, murder and gloom.
Then comes the unforgettable series of the seven books from 1997-2007 named Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling that is a fairly constructed Gothic as well as a full fantasy adventure J.K. Rowling is an English author who became popular as the pioneer of the extravagant fancy Harry Potter Series. According to J. Thompkin (2008), the conception was thought while:
“…she was going on a tour in the railcar in train from Manchester to London in the year 1990. The books on Harry Potter have achieved a considerable acclamation, won a number of awards and more than eleven hundred million copies” (p.197).
The series comprises seven Gothic adventurous novels named Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2005), Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows (2007).
All the above-mentioned books record the bold enterprise of the fascinating and young magician named Harry Potter together with his friends named Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. He made these companions from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The tale focuses on the contest of Harry against the genius evil wizard named Lord Voldemort. Harry’s beloved parents are killed by this dreadful wizard who wants to subdue the magical world and the non-magical people to be surrendered under his reign.
The series is full of the Gothic characteristics including mystery, murder, suspense, Gloom, misery, threatening and supernatural that will be discussed in the fourth chapter. This modern series has become familiar for arousing a sense of entertainment in the readers. The books impress children first of all.
Then we come towards Black House (2001) by the American gothic writer Stephen Edwin King. It belongs to the horror genre. It is the story about a boy named Jack Sawyer who made his journey to the foreign world called “The Territories” twenty years ago to save the life of his mother from painful death. The story is full of horror, gloom, mystery and fear.
Then we come towards the description of Night Flier (1988) that is one of the short stories in the anthology i.e., Nightmares and Dreamscapes written by Stephen Edwin King. It belongs to the genre of Vampire fiction as well as Horror short story. This story has been picturized many times as well. It is the tale of a dreadful vampire who murders many innocent people. It is replete with Goth and Gore and makes readers forget everything and read the story till the very end. Besides, they would be anxious to know further about the alterations and praise a writer’s conclusive words (the holes in the children’s necks were put there). The story also abounds in bloodshed, bloodsucking, fear, disgust and mystery.
Lastly, the researcher has to come towards the depiction of Twilight (2005) by the British author Stephanie Meyer being the very first installment of the ‘Twilight Series’ as well as a fascinating vampire fiction. The novel depicts the story of a young seventeen-year- old girl Isabella Swan who is famous with the nickname ‘Bella’ and moves from Arizona to Washington. She takes admission in a Washington school and, in her class, comes across a handsome young boy Edward Cullen but later finds her life in great danger on knowing about the reality of Cullen who is a ‘Vampiric Creation’. It is only in the end that she comes to realize that Cullen is not a dangerous vampire and truly loves her. She expresses her desire to marry him and even turns into a vampire but Cullen refuses to marry her. The central idea of the novel revolves around the concept that a human and a non-human can never get married. As according to Stephanie Meyer herself:
“Their relation is forbidden just like the fruit of the ‘Forbidden Tree’ that is why; there is the image of fruit (apple) on the cover page of the book” (p.10).
The sequels of the ‘Saga’ are The New Moon (2006), Eclipse (2007) and The Breaking Dawn (2008) and The Breaking Dawn II (2010). The novel is full of strange and obscure settings (such as Vampire’s castle), fear, suspense and miseries. According to Janet Maslin (2008),
“…this vampire tale revolves around the notion of terror, fear, and disgust in such a way that the lovers of ‘dark romance’ will find it impossible to put them down” (p.15).
This chapter focuses upon a detailed illustrated overview of Gothic, Gothic features, and Gothic literature. The document also highlights few of the important researches in the various aspects of the Gothic. The chapter has also provided a clear statement of the problem. It has been established that the medieval gothic fictions and the modern gothic fictions share similar features including settings and lessons for audience. The literature review has covered various literatures explaining the medieval and the modern approaches to gothic fiction. This has been done using examples of various medieval and modern fiction writings.
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