Gothic romance

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Gothic romance,

type of novel that flourished in the late 18th and early 19th cent. in England. Gothic romances were mysteries, often involving the supernatural and heavily tinged with horror, and they were usually set against dark backgrounds of medieval ruins and haunted castles. The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole was the forerunner of the type, which included the works of Ann RadcliffeRadcliffe, Ann (Ward),
1764–1823, English novelist, b. London. The daughter of a successful tradesman, she married William Radcliffe, a law student who later became editor of the English Chronicle.
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, Matthew Gregory LewisLewis, Matthew Gregory,
1775–1818, English author, b. London. In addition to his writing he pursued a diplomatic career and served for a time in Parliament. He was often called "Monk" Lewis from the title of his extravagant Gothic romance The Monk
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, and Charles R. MaturinMaturin, Charles Robert
, 1782–1824, Irish author. A minister by vocation, he wrote novels in the manner of the Gothic horror tale of Ann Ward Radcliffe. They include The Fatal Revenge (1807), The Milesian Chief (1812), and his masterpiece
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, and the novel Frankenstein by Mary ShelleyShelley, Mary Wollstonecraft,
1797–1851, English author; daughter of William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft. In 1814 she fell in love with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, accompanied him abroad, and after the death of his first wife in 1816 married him.
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. Jane Austen's novel Northanger Abbey satirizes Gothic romances. The influence of the genre can be found in some works of Coleridge, Le Fanu, Poe, and the Brontës. During the 1960s so-called Gothic novels became enormously popular in England and the United States. Seemingly modeled on Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre and Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, these novels usually concern spirited young women, either governesses or new brides, who go to live in large gloomy mansions populated by peculiar servants and precocious children and presided over by darkly handsome men with mysterious pasts. Popular practitioners of this genre are Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, Catherine Cookson, and Dorothy Eden.


See studies by T. M. Harwell (4 vol., 1985) and D. P. Varma (1987).

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References in periodicals archive ?
Murphy makes compelling arguments throughout and opens space for further exploration into New Woman Gothic fiction. Murphy limits her study to novels, but many of her ideas could be applied to fin de siecle short fiction as well were she to continue this work.
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Gothic fiction and the invention of terrorism; the politics and aesthetics of fear in the age of the reign of terror.
Gothic fiction expert Dr Ben Brabon, from Edge Hill University, which is one of the festival partners, said: "Next year marks the 250th anniversary of the publication of the first Gothic novel, and celebrations are starting early in Liverpool.
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It became a blueprint for gothic fiction and horror.
The next chapter examines how "rescue opera" stages plots closely affiliated with gothic fiction, such as the imprisonment of a woman or of a tyrant's innocent victims.
Both fans of Mary Bryce Shelley's classic, "Frankenstein," and new fans of Gothic fiction who have only a passing recognition of the Frankenstein name will enjoy "This Dark Endeavor," Kenneth Oppel's recently published prequel to the original.