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Discuss the Influence of Gothic Fiction upon pre 20th century and 20th century texts and say how Gothic features are used.

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  • Essay length: 1918 words
  • Submitted: 11/07/2002
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GCSE H.G. Wells

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Discuss the Influence of Gothic Fiction upon pre 20th century and 20th century texts and say how Gothic features are used.

What is a gothic Novel? It is defined in The Oxford Reference Encyclopedia as a story of terror and suspense, usually set in a gloomy castle or monastery. The Oxford English Reference Dictionary mentions the atmosphere of mystery and horror with a pseudo-medieval setting popular in the 18th and early 19th century. The Chambers concise dictionary identifies the gloomy sinister backgrounds with psychological horror and The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English explains the word 'gothic' has come to mean 'wild', 'barbarous' and 'crude'. Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto (1764) is clearly labelled the first of the gothic novels in three out of my four references. This set a precedent for future writers and had many of the stereotypical features associated with Gothic fiction. Walpole himself revived the movement in gothic architecture renovating his house 'Strawberry Hill' in Twickenham to a gothic castle. It is the medieval castles, the dungeons, monasteries and mountainous landscapes that people relate to Gothic Architecture which has always been a major aspect of the horror of a Gothic novel, creating isolation

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