constitute Gothic and what is Gothic now?
Since the first
Gothic novel The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole was published in 1764,
Gothic literature has become popular among many readers who fascinates mystery,
superstition and horror. Inevitably, the nature of excess and transgression has
changed during the past two decades due to shift in ideology in society.
To the study the success of gothic literature, this essay will analyse the main
characteristic of gothic which refers to Gothic
authored by Fred Botting are excess, transgression and diffusion.
According to Gothic written by Fred Botting referring transgression as “transgressing
the bound of reality and possibility”. In The
Fall Of the House Of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe, the mysterious Roderick
Usher bury his sister alive after being intolerable to their incest relationship.
While his sister was not dead and revived from the coffin. This is a typical
example of transgression in gothic novel. The character who cannot distinguish between
real and unreal and lead to commit irrational act such as violence or criminal behavior.
Apart from defining the boundary between reality and imagination, transgression
also enable limits to be reconstituted by provoking fears of social
disintegration. The social-isolation situation of the Ushers family caused the
incest between family members and this excessive sin can enable readers to
reflect and restore limits for social behavior. Although the rise of scientific
methods for instance Darwinian models of evolution, criminology and anatomy weakened
the mystery of awesomeness of gothic literature. Science have become an unusual background for
gothic to develop. Frankenstein implied
that no man should transgress the power of creator and human should not corrupt
the creation of life as the creature created by Frankenstein is abnormal. These
gothic figures suggest that convention social value should not contaminated by
Diffusion is the reason of the prevalence of gothic in different media. Gothic
motifs have been readily infused in many literature
forms such as romantic
novel, adventure novel, science fiction, popular horror writing and modernist literature(Botting). From the first gothic novel, The Castle of
Otranto, a story that has a medieval background
to the science fiction Frankenstein which
emphasize science written by Mary Shelly or Dracula
by Bram Stoker that representing sexuality, gothic literature has shown its variability in writing genres. Besides, the establishment
of cinema and the invention of television has helped Gothic to keep its longevity.
These non-literary products transformed the image of tradition gothic figures to
a more acceptable to attract audience which in a way that preserve the gothic.
For instance, the image of vampires in ancient myths and Dracula share no
common in appearance but the nature while Dracula has been an iconic
representative of vampire in pop culture that more than 200 movies featured
Dracula (Awe, Susan). The mainstream literature has always marginalized and
excluded the gothic literature despite its cultural value and popularity. However, gothic literature
has become the longest
surviving literary tradition that went through romanticism, realism and
modernism eras by articulating and diffusing multiple of forms of writing.
of nature of transgression and excess
In the development of gothic literature, it went through three major eras of evolution. The
first period is the eighteenth century when gothic was a new genre of writing. Followed
by the eighteenth century gothic is the nineteenth century gothic and then finally
postmodern gothic. Eighteenth century gothic has distanced itself from romanticism
by stressing immorality and the lost of nobility. The despicable acts of Manfred
in The Castle of Otranto
made him has
the perception of a bandit rather than a lord of a castle. The strategies that
to fascinate readers of the gothic novels are indulging and rationalizing in
imaginative excesses. The situation changed in the nineteenth century gothic.
According to Emma McEvoy, “It is the period in which we see horror take centre-stage:
many of these texts are filled to repletion with violence, imprisonment,
torture, murder, parricide, sex, incest and cannibalism” (McEvoy,2007:22).
Edgar Allan Poe was an innovative writer in this creative period of gothic literature. His novels highlighted death, madness and the
decay of aristocracy. The typical example included The Fall of the usher House. Dracula
by Bram Stocker has brought the gothic novel to another level of popularity. The
revival of old gothic background such as a gloomy castle and the usage of science
have been combined to form a masterpiece. While core of horror and terror
shifted from external to internal in postmodern gothic. Fred Botting argued
that “the new frame turns Gothic horror into a sentimental romance” (Botting). Dracula in 1992 directed by Francis
Coppola is the example to illustrate the emerge of human identity and humanist narrative
by portraying Mina being unfaithful to her husband while fell in love with
Dracula. External horror like supernatural events or hideous monster in old
gothic style has become the conflict between love and loyalty in postmodern
In conclusion, gothic style has never been disappeared in literature
world. Its excess, transgression and diffusion can ensure it to prosper in future.
Although the form of gothic has transformed to adapt the new era, the volatility
of Gothic has been remained unchanged.