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A Guide to Gothic

Victoria Elliott | Wednesday June 17, 2020

Categories: KS5 Resources, Hot Entries, Prose, Frankenstein, Northanger Abbey, The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Victorian Literature


  • A Level Gothic Guide New pdf


    What makes Gothic?

    Although it’s never easy to define precisely the characteristics of any given field of literature, Gothic defies pinning down more than most. Ghosts and monsters are an easy and flippant answer to ‘what makes Gothic’; but not all Gothic has either or both.

    The presence of psychological and physical terror is one key characteristic, as is a concern with morality, often represented by the religious.

    The term ‘horror’ is one which can be applied to most Gothic literature and although in the 21st century rather gory films have come to define this type, it is certainly possible to be gory and horrific without being Gothic. Madness, death and decay are all ever-present possibilities.

    This guide seeks to explore some of the ‘elements’ which make Gothic, Gothic. In doing so, it links some of the most commonly studied texts from the genre (including those set by AQA) with other texts which demonstrate the typicality of the element involved, and thus suggest some wider reading possibilities.

    History of Gothic

    The ‘invention’ of the genre:

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