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Fictional literature can be categorized into many different genres: drama, romance, science fiction, tragedy, comedy, horror, and gothic. Gothic fiction borrows from horror by sampling mystery, dire setting, and chilling architecture. Romance is sampled in gothic fiction by the use of characters, firm emotions, and misguided love. Greenblatt writes, " Gothic became a label for the macabre, mysterious, supernatural, and terrifying, especially the pleasurably terrifying, in literature generally; the link that Romantic-period writers had forged between the Gothic and antiquated spaces was eventually loosened" (584). Horace Walpole wrote The Castle of Otranto in 1764. Walpole single-handedly sparked a new style of literature, gothic fiction. Walpole also coined the word seredipidy. The Castle of Otranto is referred as the the start of gothic fiction as a genre. What is gothic fiction exactly? How does gothic fiction use characters to enrich the work? What function does setting and architecture play in gothic fiction? How does gothic fiction create immense emotions within the reader? Finally, if Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto is the true beginning of gothic fiction, did the story influence all works after The Castle of Otranto was published?
Gothic fiction can be summarized as a mixture of horror fiction and romance fiction. Horror fiction evokes intense fear, dread, or dismay inside the reader. Romantic fiction also influences gothic fiction by the use of specific characters, emotional connections, and love. The supernatural taking a pivotal role in horror fiction, and the character Pennywise creates an intense connection with the reader using appearance and the emotional reaction to childhood memories. Stephen King has pe...

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...The setting of a story is the backbone. Horace Walpole set the standard for castles to be used in gothic fiction after The Castle of Otranto was published. Gothic fiction creates strong emotions by using characters, setting, and architecture to enrich the story. Poe perfectly captures the soul of gothic literature in his poem "The Raven" with:
"Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
'Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, 'art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore-
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!'
Quoth the Raven, 'Nevermore.' (Poe, 43-48).
Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto is the true beginning of all gothic fiction, and set the standard for what the genre could be in terms of art.
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