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Taking The Castle of Otranto as your example, outline the main conventions

Powerful Essays
Taking The Castle of Otranto as your example, outline the main conventions

of the Gothic novel, and show how your knowledge of

Taking The Castle of Otranto as your example, outline the main

conventions of the Gothic novel, and show how your knowledge of these

conventions affects your reading of Northanger Abbey. Is Northanger

Abbey most accurately described as parody of the Gothic genre, or is

there a more complicated relationship going on?

Gothic novels purport to revive old stories and beliefs, exploring

personal, psychical encounters with the taboo (Williams, 2000). The

genre, as typified by The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole,

involves a beautiful innocent young woman who is held captive by an

older, powerful, evil man in his large, ancient and gloomy residence

for his own lustful purposes and who escapes, with the aid of

supernatural manifestations, errors caused by “false surmises and

conjectures based on partial narratives” (Hoeveler, 1995, p127) and a

handsome young hero. Walpole's novel centers around the tyrant where

the female writers in the genre, for example, Ann Radcliffe, focus

more on the female victim and what she is thinking and feeling,

exploring women’s anxieties about their lack of control of their

feelings, their bodies, and their property, and their desire for

something far more extraordinary and exciting than simply to be a

domestic woman. The use of the supernatural by Walpole is so frequent

and monstrous as to excite laughter rather than terror but for

Radcliffe and Austen the supernatural is not visible but is an

invisible hand that makes sure that good always triumphs and evil is

always punished (Andriopoulos, 1999) .

It is necessary to be aware of these Gothic conve...

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...omy and the Gothic Novel.” ELH 66.3 (1999): 739-59.

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Cudden, J.A. Dictionary of Literary Terms & Literary Theory. Penguin:

London, 1999.

Hoeveler, Diane. “Vindicating Northanger Abbey: Mary Wollstonecraft,

Jane Austen, and Gothic Feminism.” Jane Austen and Discourses of

Feminism. Ed. Devony Looser. Houndsmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire:

Macmillan, 1995. 117-35

Jerinic, Maria. “In Defense of the Gothic: Rereading Northanger

Abbey.” Jane Austen and Discourses of Feminism. Ed. Devoney Looser.

Houndsmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Macmillian, 1995. 137-49

Neill, Edward. “The Secret of Northanger Abbey.” Essays in Criticism

47 (1997): 13-32

Williams, Anne. “The Horror, the Horror: Recent Studies in Gothic

Fiction.” Modern Fiction Studies 46.3 (2000): 789-99
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