Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/2883
The Gothic: Function and Definition
This essay treats the Gothic mode, an ever popular genre of literature. It begins its investigation with Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto. It considers the question of the genre’s origin, the reasoning which led to the birth of the Gothic mode. It asks whether the Gothic offered any innovations when it came to be, and whether it is still innovative.
It proposes answers to the question of what the Gothic genre is – whether it is a real literary genre – and offers support for the opinion that it is a true and independent genre that offers unique possibilities available in few other genres. It answers the question of what is needed for a narrative to be considered Gothic.
It further analyzes and shows how the term “Gothic” is applicable to the genre. The discourse also considers and shows the relevance of the following concepts to the genre: the sublime, abjection, setting, and decay. It shows the central import of the sublime to the Gothic by examples; abjection is shown to be the foundation of the horror of Gothic; the importance of the setting and its execution is treated. It is suggested that decay is inherent in the genre’s content and the progression of its narrative.
Finally, it attempts to prove that if any of the factors treated are missing in a narrative it does not fulfil the qualifications set here to belong in the Gothic mode.