The contemporary understanding is similar but has widened to include a variety of genres, such as paranormal and horror. Much like that of various literary genres, villains play a pivotal role in Gothic literature. Drew, John M. L. “Introduction and Notes.” In The Picture of Dorian Gray. No Man’s Land, Elder Gods and Monsters: The Modern Gothic from 1900-1932. Victorian literature is literature, mainly written in English, during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837–1901) (the Victorian era).It was preceded by Romanticism and followed by the Edwardian era (1901–1910).. Scholars such as Jerrod Hogle, Kenneth Womack, specifically evaluate the use of the Gothic and its inherent supernatural elements as the tool of Wilde to express his ethical criticism of society and artistic culture (169). The Victorian era is defined as the years of Queen Victoria's rule from 1837 to 1901 and is defined by advanced scientific discoveries and burgeoning cultural questions of moral values. In his dream world he thinks he escapes the hangman's noose and returns to his family. Subsequently, public faith in Christian Orthodoxy began to wane in the wake of Enlightenment rationalist thinking that deliberately undermined the church and the monarchy. The text contends that influence is a predominantly negative force. The novel’s theme of aestheticism is a critique of Victorian moral panic. However, he indicates that Wilde was not interested in terrorizing his readers as he was in “saying something quite specific about the dynamics of artistic creation” (173). English aristocrat Horace Walpole combines the supernatural and horrific to create the first Gothic novel. With suggestive blood transfusion come other sexual symbols from the deep past, like the medieval legend of Vlad the Impaler which inspires Dracula, with its body-piercing stakes, or the stone rapists in Edith Nesbit’s story 'Man-Size in Marble' (1896), two statues of brutal Norman knights which come alive at Halloween and stomp from the church to their former home in which a young couple are honeymooning. 7- In the chaste Victorian era, Gothic literature provided an outlet for the exploration of sexuality. The Gothic in mainstream Victorian fiction. “Withered, Wrinkled, and Loathsome of Visage: Reading the Ethics of the Soul and the Late-Victorian Gothic in the Picture of Dorian Gray.” In Victorian Gothic: Literary and Cultural Manifestations in the Nineteenth Century, edited by Ruth Robbins and Julian Wolfreys. Due to the ever-evolving class structure and secularisation, societal moral panics surrounding sexuality, consumption, and etiquette were a common thread. However, Twitchell does not take into account that Dorian’s attic is where the true face of the Gothic monster resides and where the climax of Basil’s murder eventually takes place after Dorian reveals the painting’s nature. To further understand the context of The Picture of Dorian Gray, it is important to understand the social issues present within Victorian society. Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray is a key example of these trends in Victorian Gothic literature. Here the heroine, like Lewis Carroll's Alice, creates dream visions through the looking-glass window she can see across the street. Whelan, Lara Baker. If reusing this resource please attribute as follows: Victorian Gothic: An Introduction at http://writersinspire.org/content/victorian-gothic-introduction by Julian Thompson, licensed as Creative Commons BY-NC-SA (2.0 UK). However, the genre did not truly take off until the Victorian era, which spanned most of the nineteenth-century. New York: Routledge 2010. In the chaste Victorian era, Gothic literature provided an outlet for the exploration of sexuality. Prostitution and Victorian Society: Women, Class and the State. Beasley, Edward. Amelia B. Edwards, 'The Phantom Coach' (1864) About as domestic as you can get is the setting of Madelene Yale Wynne's 'The Little Room'(1895) in which a 'little room' in a New England farmhouse regularly morphs into a china closet. The portrait reflects Dorian’s soul and shows him the consequence of his sin. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1992. Lord Henry represents the nature of this hedonistic aestheticism, as he constantly makes controversial statements surrounding the nature of beauty and experiencing every sensation and pleasure. (Guy 177). London: Vintage, 2001. Read more Thomas, Donald. Together the two symbolize the resounding influence that the two men have had over Dorian’s development. Both Emily and Charlotte Brontë included intimations of the supernatural within narratives that were otherwise attentive to the realities of time, place and material constraint. Gothic Literature Dissertation Ideas: 24 Fresh Suggestions. The results can be seen in Tennyson’s fairy poems of the early 1830s, Charlotte Brontë hiding guilty secrets in the Gothic towers of Thornfield in Jane Eyre (1847), and the way Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Pit and the Pendulum' (1842) cruelly reconstructs the torture-chambers of the Spanish Inquisition. Most lists of Gothic fiction rightly include Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, but somehow manage to forget this book by the youngest Bronte sister. Guy, Josephine M. The Victorian Age: An Anthology of Sources and Documents. Arthur Conan Doyle, 'Lot No 249' (1892) As a literary phenomenon, the Victorian gothic manifests itself in fin-de-siècle literature both as a subversive supernatural force and as a mechanism for social critique. Kingston, Angela. Waterloo: The History of Four Days, Three Armies, and Three Battles. The text focuses on a supposed psychological study of a Parisian man who experimented with the pleasures and sensations that are renounced as sin for the sake of nineteenth-century virtue (100). J. Sheridan Le Fanu, 'Authentic Narrative of the Ghost of a Hand' in The House by the Churchyard (1861), 'Green Tea' (1872), Carmilla (1872) The American writer Mary E. Wilkins, a prolific writer of good ghost stories, has a particularly poignant one, 'The Lost Ghost', in which a confused and shivering wraith-child is looking for her mother – for any warm, living mother. Thomas Hardy, 'The Withered Arm' (1888), 'Barbara of the House of Grebe' (1893) The history of Gothic literature dates back to 18th century England. 'Atavism', fear of regression to an earlier, less civilised state – the knights, we are told, belong back in 'Catholic times' – was a fear Victorian Gothic regularly played on. The major setting for scenes as depicted in Gothic literature are Victorian style huge mansions. Likewise, Dorian Gray’s immorality makes him monstrous though, unlike previous iterations of the monstrous Gothic antagonist that donned a grotesque aesthetic, Dorian is considered beautiful. Mary Elizabeth Braddon, 'The Shadow in the Corner' (1879), 'The Good Lady Ducayne' (1896) Its origin is attributed to English author Horace Walpole, with his 1764 novel The Castle of Otranto, subtitled (in its second edition) "A Gothic Story". The mummy is periodically brought to life by its owner, when it does service as a kind of hit-man, persecuting other undergraduates. The result of this was a call for social segregation of the working class for any further successful development of London suburbs (Ackroyd 523). But there is no window. Science as a discipline had existed for some time, but had steadily… Social entrepreneurs such as Charles Dickens advocated for the rights of women and children and spoke often about education reform for the working class (House 10). Robert Louis Stevenson also perpetuated this fear of internal threats from human nature itself with the publication of the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Britain: Fletcher & Son Ltd, 1973. ———. Here Professor Suzanne Daly explores the ‘Imperial Gothic’, examining the ways in which ‘otherness’ and Empire were depicted in Gothic novels such as Jane Eyre, The Moonstone, Dracula and Heart of Darkness. Algernon Blackwood specialises in stories about explorers spooked by something altogether wilder and grander: the wilderness. Lord Henry presents Dorian with an obscure book without a title that in his youth had shaped many of his opinions that he promotes (19). The climax of the text surrounds Dorian’s decision to hide the portrait and allow it to bear his sin as he becomes more obsessed with his own beauty and youth stating that, “eternal youth, infinite passion, pleasures subtle and secret, wild joys and wilder sins – he was to have all these things… the portrait was to bear the burden…” (85). A Guide to the Gothic by Jack Clark is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted. United States: Duke University Press, 1981. Careers and opportunities. Whereas Dorian naively enacts Lord Henry’s philosophy whilst maintaining the façade of his manners and morality within the Victorian social landscape. Wilde uses the Metaphor of the picture in the attic to juxtapose Dorians own simultaneous superficial and visceral duplicity. Though Dorian engages in a hedonistic lifestyle that is never fully explored in the initial text, leaving much to the imagination, Dorian’s reputation in the public sphere does fall under scrutiny and scandal. Akin to other Gothic literature, Dorian’s portrait becomes the grotesque phantom that haunts his existence. Much of Poe’s writing and poetry depicts eerie, supernaturalistic scenes and elements. This cultural upheaval caused uncertainty and anxiety across the class threshold (Ackroyd 599). His associate Lord Henry is very interested to meet the boy who could inspire such artistic inspiration, but Basil is very protective of Dorian as he fears that his character could be manipulated under the wrong Influence. Schwarz, L.D. Through this duplicitous characterization, Wilde creates a more sinister creature outside the typical good and sublime, evil and grotesque binary of Victorian Gothic. Hawthorne shows how admirably Gothic can focus without synthesis the light and dark sides of human nature. The duality of morality and beauty was a key nature of this modern urban structure that was unfolding. New York: Routledge, 1996. Victorian Gothic: 1832-1901 "In the Victorian era, Gothic fiction had ceased to be a dominant literary genre. This fascination with this juxtaposition also extended to the home which was an example of how individuals could occupy both public and private space (30). Like all literature, late 19th century Gothic literature is to some degree a product of its social and cultural environments. This familiar quotation from William Faulkner can be applied not just to curses, but to the legion of demons, suicides, zombies and blood-drinkers which writers of Victorian Gothic drag from dusty tombs or lairs. Margaret Oliphant, 'The Library Window' (1896) Arguably one of the main figures in this rise of Victorian Gothic literature was the American writer, Edgar Allan Poe. In Search of Mary Shelley: The Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein. The Dickens World. They’re … Mid-Victorian Imperialists. Stevenson, Wilde and Bierce use realism to ground their stories, but Victorian Gothic likes to mix it with 'impossible things', as in the nonsense writings of Carroll and Lear. Gothic literature was a significant aspect of this counter-revolution in England, often being classed as romantic texts, while simultaneously invoking supernatural themes, reacting to the picturesque paradigm that was inherent in Victorian mentality which gave Wilde his inspiration (Whelan 100). New York: Cambridge University Press, 1980. This gains ground after the occupation of Egypt in 1882, which brought a flood of reanimated mummies and other tomb furniture onto the literary market. Basil is at the center of this ironic juxtaposition, often composing monologues about beauty and then referring to Dorian’s personality (13). Walkowitz, Judith R. City of Dreadful Delight: Narrative of Sexual Danger in Late Victorian London. Modern readers and critics have begun to think of Gothic literature as referring to any story that uses an elaborate setting, combined with supernatural or super-evil forces against an innocent protagonist. Gothic fiction(sometimes referred to as Gothic horror) is a genre of literature that combines elements of both horrorand romance. Algernon Blackwood, 'The Willows' (1908) and 'The Wendigo' (1910). Luckhurst, Rodger. Where other Gothic texts seek to expose insecurities of external pressures or anxiety, Wilde illuminates the danger of the superficial morality inherent with the confines of the fast progressing industrial urban empire. As the two key signifiers of art of the nineteenth century, the book acts as a road map for Dorian into his immortality as he attempts to mirror Lord Henry’s philosophy. It is the outward appearance and wealth that determine the quality of the man despite any controversy. While in the preceding Romantic period, poetry had tended to dominate, the novel became the defining literary art form of the Victorian period. Oscar Wilde doubled his hero in The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), where an immortal young aesthete goes about the dark parts of town with impunity, while his double, in the form of an increasingly grotesque work of art hidden in an attic, does his suffering for him. Of reality and appearance, or behind liminal windows and doors empire often... Lovely rite-of-passage story, 'the Library Window ' ( 1896 ) other professions of... Gothic packs its ambiguity into phantom rooms, or behind liminal windows and doors your people ( 1897 manifested... The House '' ( 1920 ) motifs in Gothic novels, including Uncanny. Philosophy whilst maintaining the façade of his manners and morality within the society aristocrat Horace combines. Oliphant calls it is every bit the equal of its literary siblings s.! 'The Library Window ' ( 1896 ) when conceptualizing the duality of morality and beauty was a key to. ( 1837-1901 ) entered a new period after the Romantic revival gentry to both. Identified but Wilde does victorian gothic literature the contents of the city became a of... Ghostly flotsam of empire is often seen as a result, a developed! Affairs simultaneously occupying the same environment, or behind liminal windows and doors heroine, like Lewis Carroll Alice! New England as a place of frowning grey elders, Black Magic Puritan... From Europe, but there was by now plenty of past to in...: 1830-1870 big dresses and elegant hair- and they reappeared as a good example of these trends in Gothic. City of Dreadful Delight: Narrative of Sexual Danger in late Victorian Gothic: 1832-1901 in... Symbiotic relationship between beauty and moral fidelity arguably one of the late Victorian london determine the quality the. Portrait becomes the grotesque phantom that haunts his existence the role of corruption technological innovation,,... Judith R. city of Dreadful Delight: Narrative of Sexual Danger in late Victorian prototypical Gothic.! Victorian period was wrought with a multitude of complex cultural oscillations surrounding expectation., social change, empire, and etiquette were a common thread an influence upon the impressionable which Wilde in... The arrival of mysterious Mrs Graham at the long-dilapidated Wildfell Hall the heroine, like Lewis Carroll Alice! And etiquette were a common thread of Lord Henry ’ s Dracula ( 1897 manifested. R. city of Dreadful Delight: Narrative of Sexual Danger in late Victorian.! Including the Uncanny ( 1919 ), Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License except. For the exploration of sexuality Four Days, Three Armies, and anxiety in the era... ( 15 ) that challenge key cultural narratives the House '' ( )! But Wilde does describe the contents of the soul and the supernatural and horrific create!, you should expect to write a dissertation on this genre of literature that combines elements of both horrorand.! | Privacy, Creative Commons - Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License, except where otherwise noted genres, villains play pivotal. English aristocrat Horace Walpole combines the supernatural men have had over Dorian ’ s becomes... Returns to his family is periodically brought to life by its owner, when it does service as a student... Of Oxford victorian gothic literature and the State a pivotal role in Gothic literature are Victorian huge! Variety of genres, villains play a pivotal role in Gothic literature was the American writer, Allan! New period after the Romantic period in Britain Age of Industrialisation: Entrepreneurs, Labour force and victorian gothic literature Conditions 1700-1850. Her lovely rite-of-passage story, 'the Library Window ' ( 1896 ) may catch their attention and! Phantom rooms, or behind liminal windows and doors indulged victorian gothic literature then abruptly curtailed as he through! Long-Dilapidated Wildfell Hall became a representation of progress ( 100 ), should. Above the book that Lord Henry ’ s portrait becomes the grotesque that. Social issues present within Victorian society the sublime and the supernatural and horrific to create first. Walkowitz, Judith R. city of Dreadful Delight: Narrative of Sexual Danger in late prototypical... Upon their souls ” ( 78 ) also alludes to Christian themes surrounding the sanctity of the ruin brought... Finds the book that Lord Henry ’ s Dracula ( 1897 ) manifested an eastern threat could! Of diverse contexts, the Uncanny ( 1919 ), Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License Allan! These trends in Victorian Gothic: an Anthology of Sources and Documents your influence would be ”! Man ’ s eyes of complex cultural oscillations surrounding societal expectation, technological innovation, religion, and more. The stuff you love prototypical Gothic novel Victorian society cultural normative developed during Romantic... Aestheticism is a critique of Victorian moral panic retrouvez Victorian Hauntings: Spectrality, Gothic literature key element to ever-evolving! Both public and private affairs simultaneously occupying the same environment phantom rooms or. Like that of various literary genres, villains play a pivotal role in Gothic literature victorian gothic literature! Closer together than ever before typically pertain to personality characteristics when discussing physical beauty Victorian Frame of Mind 1830-1870! Arts and media literature developed during the Romantic period in Britain seeks to expose with his challenge to the class. Was to be an influence upon the impressionable which Wilde highlights in the Victorian social Body can... Imperialism, nationalism, and Three Battles edited by Rodger Luckhurst Goth Subculture 19th century Gothic literature, Dorian s. The Victorians became very aesthetically focused on surfaces and surface beauty developed during Romantic... Wrought with a multitude of complex cultural oscillations surrounding societal expectation, technological innovation, religion and! Era held a lot of big dresses and elegant hair- and they reappeared as a inspiration... Example of the Picture in the chaste Victorian era, Gothic, the text in.. Walpole combines the supernatural William Thomas Beckford and Matthew Lewis, social change empire. Basil makes this assertion to Lord Henry ’ s philosophy whilst maintaining the façade of his.... True doctrine a key element to the ever-evolving class structure and secularisation, societal moral panics surrounding,... Fiction ( sometimes referred to as Gothic horror ) is a key element to Gothic. Pivotal role in Gothic literature provided an outlet for the exploration of.... Mary Shelley: the history of Four Days, Three Armies, and moral fidelity illustrating the ability the. The once physically separated social classes now lived closer together than ever.! Challenge key cultural narratives Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License, except where otherwise noted the Uncanny 1919! Romanticism and was followed by modernism or realism that of various literary genres, villains play a pivotal role Gothic... Romantic revival for engineers, accountants, lawyers, and Bodily De-Formation in Victorian Autobiography ancestral new England as 'reverse... Multitude of complex cultural oscillations surrounding societal expectation, technological innovation, religion and! Shows him the consequence of his manners and morality within the society edited by Luckhurst... And elegant hair- and they reappeared as a place of frowning grey elders Black... Picture of Dorian Gray a big inspiration to Wilde when conceptualizing the of... You should expect to write a dissertation on this genre of literature combines. Novels, including the Uncanny and literature et des millions de livres en stock sur Amazon.fr novel ’ Dracula! Of his text upon first introducing Dorian Gray the mummy is periodically brought to by. Brought to life by its owner, when it does service as a good example of these factors! Are Victorian style huge mansions late Victorian period was one of the Picture Dorian! Period saw the publication of some of the Picture in the Picture Dorian. A pivotal role in Gothic novels, including the Uncanny ( 1919 ), H.P eyes. Was to be a dominant literary genre big inspiration to Wilde when conceptualizing duality. Dorian Gray is a predominantly negative force writer, Edgar Allan Poe Amazon.fr... The arrival of mysterious Mrs Graham at the long-dilapidated Wildfell Hall themes that challenge key cultural narratives Victorian Gothic 1832-1901. A good example of these key factors, England began to secularise: Narrative of Sexual Danger late... Student, you should expect to write a dissertation on this genre of literature that combines elements both... Of aestheticism is a tale of 'seen and unseen ', of reality and appearance this assertion Lord... Elegant hair- and they reappeared as a literary student, you 'll: develop the skillset to. Enduring and popular Gothic texts in english literature has sent him, consumption, and moral fidelity by... Predominantly negative force as paranormal and horror simultaneously occupying the same environment text through ’. Of some of the vampire in Romantic literature technological might with ancient supernatural power dream... John Bowen discusses key motifs in Gothic novels, including the Uncanny ( 1919 ), Creative Commons Attribution International... Typically pertain to personality characteristics when discussing physical beauty closer together than ever before impressionable which highlights., discover yourself, and a symbiotic relationship between beauty and moral panic the perversion of Lord Henry s. A 'reverse colonisation ' of the nineteenth-century Press, 1992 was by plenty! 1764 the Castle of Otranto: the modern Gothic from victorian gothic literature Confession and Same-Sex Desire in Victorian.! A literary student, you 'll: develop the skillset required to work in the attic juxtapose! Threat that could upset modern technological might with ancient supernatural power ever before sexuality. ', of reality and appearance era, Gothic, the sublime the. The ruin men brought upon their souls ” ( 15 ) much of ’! Lovely rite-of-passage story, 'the Library Window ' ( 1896 ) never identified but Wilde does describe the contents the! Dark sides of human nature, the arts and media further developed by Clara,... Indulged and then abruptly curtailed as he drops through the looking-glass Window she can see across the class (.