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Gothic novel

by Liston Flowers 2 months ago in literature
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How to create a mysterious atmosphere

The Gothic novel originated in England in the late 18th century. To some extent, this kind of novel is the continuation of the style of medieval chivalric novels, which represents a nostalgic consciousness of European aristocratic culture. It is generally believed that the beginning of Gothic fiction is Horace Walpole's "The Castle of Otto Lando". This work established the pattern of early classical Gothic fiction. Soon after it was published, it caused many writers to imitate it, and expanded from England to the whole Europe and America, becoming the most popular genre at that time.

Along with the development of the era and later gothic novel gradually, holds in the castle scene based on the traditional means such as abandoned excessive mystery ingredient and extreme terror, but with some such as morbid evil, anthropomorphic mysterious image, etc., such as Matthew lewis's "monk", Mary Radcliffe "the mystery of the tao, especially" and so on, And the British writer Stoker's Dracula brought vampires into the palace of literature, which laid the foundation for the later vampire theme works.

Gothic fiction has evolved into more than just a genre, becoming synonymous with pan-horror fiction and a common fusion element in many other genres of fiction. At the same time, Gothic novels have a great influence on mystery novels and science fiction; Examples: Arthur Machen, Stephen King, Walter Scott, POE, Charles Dickens, the Bronte sisters, Robert Stevenson, Oscar Wilde, etc., all have more or less strong elements of Gothic fiction in their works.

Gothic novels deeply attract readers with their mysterious and terrifying atmosphere, suppressed original passion, bold and magical imagination and charming exotic scenery. At the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth century, the English literary world was happy to talk about Gothic novels, just as Chinese literati and scholars gathered to review A Dream of Red Mansions.

Firstly, the supernatural elements of mystery and horror are one of the main features of traditional Gothic novels. There are elements of horror, mystery, the supernatural, doom, death, decadence, haunted houses inhabited by ghosts, madness, family curses, vampires, werewolves, etc. Stories often take place in distant times and remote places; Characters are imprisoned in narrow Spaces and haunted buildings; Suspense and love intertwine. The usual suspense means have mysterious inheritance, secret life, lost wills, family secrets, ancestral curses and so on. In the end, the suspense is solved, the gangster is exposed, and the love obstacle of the hero and heroine is removed. But this kind of love is different from romance novels. Gothic novels are often stories of mysterious adventures, in which obstacles to love often come from gangsters; As for love novels, they describe ordinary family trifles, and the obstacles to love often come from the protagonists themselves.

Secondly, most of the stories are set in mysterious buildings such as castles and churches. Adding supernatural colors, revenge and murder to this environment, and the rescue of those trapped in it, and so on, became almost the writing formula of Gothic novels.

For example, the pioneering work of Gothic fiction, The Castle of Otto Lando, not only fully embodies the characteristics of traditional Gothic novels, but also perfectly integrates the elements of romantic literature. Prince Manfred, the owner of the castle, was preparing a wedding for his son, but on the eve of the wedding, a huge helmet fell from the sky and crushed the prince into a bloody mess. So he decided to marry his bride Isabella instead of his son. Isabella escaped from the castle with the help of the peasants, and began a struggle over inheritance and the family line. Finally, a character named Theodore becomes the main character. The priest's son freed Isabella from Manfred's control and became the last master of Castle Autorando.

The third is the personification of supernatural images. In medieval Europe, people generally lived in a dark, ignorant and disease-ridden world, so ghosts, ghosts, vampires and so on were also a prominent feature of Gothic novels. Legends existed from the Middle Ages to the 18th and 19th centuries, but they were rigid, and Dracula, the work in question, personified the vampire and became an enduring classic: his eyebrows were thick and almost met at the center; His thick hair was naturally curled, and his lips full of whiskers; Corners of the mouth lines, give a person with a cold feeling; Teeth white and sharp, lips bright red and shiny, night incarnated as a vampire, crawling against walls, looking for food...

In modern works, such as Anne rice's vampire and Stephanie meyer's "twilight" vampire is more like a person, not only in but also with normal humans live in harmony, while the two work closer in the popular novel of vampire symbol, but the dracula is a vampire characteristics of terrorist elements laid basically unchanged. But vampires are becoming more human-like, and if they show their real faces at unexpected moments, they can provide a stronger thriller.

After understanding the characteristics of the Gothic novel, if you want to write a Gothic novel, what are the elements?

First, the old family castle, the sparsely populated manor, the lone traveler, these are the common sets of Gothic novels, and the plot is usually set in the castle, monastery and other buildings with religious and mysterious features, and admits that the building has its own secrets. This scene is very influential in Gothic novels. It not only evokes a climate of terror and fear, but also depicts the deterioration of the world. Moreover, the decaying, dilapidated landscape means that there was a time when there was prosperity, and castles, monasteries, etc., are precious and appreciated things, and now, all of them are the rotting shells of once prosperous dwellings. So the Gothic novel would not exist without the shabby setting in which it began.

Second, in addition to the necessary evil characters, there should also be one or several mysterious survivors, who either try to survive or survive at present to pave the way for sacrifice, sacrifice and transformation in the future, such as Bella in Twilight and Elena in Vampire Diaries.

You can also add characters with supernatural abilities. In Gothic novels, vampires and werewolves are often the most common characters in this category, along with witches. However, the final decision will be based on the context and location of the story.

Third, the whole novel needs to be scary. Either based on the protagonist's experience, or the atrocities of evil characters, or some unknown situation as a benchmark, to create a tense pace and an atmosphere of fear and despair. The rendering of this atmosphere needs both inside and outside, rather than only describing the external terror atmosphere, the interior also needs to increase the sense of mystery and terror, which reaches the psychological double superposition. Such as in a square in the middle place stands a dilapidated castle or church, nothing grows around buildings, and you saw the building in opaque night suddenly raised in the light, when you enter the building, may be the occasion or the building represents just his psychology, thought, fear, Can even produce corresponding resonance or change with him. This, of course, is why Gothic stories are often set at night, or in the wilderness, forest, or other uninhabited places.

However gothic novel because of its characteristics of horror, mystery, plus the eastern and western of different cultural background, in the domestic few people involved, almost at the same time, domestic mainstream view also thinks, gothic novel can be closed in the history of the novel, not universal open system, so in such circumstances, we can only see in some of domestic works the shadow of the gothic style, It is not a "Gothic novel" in the strict sense, but this does not prevent the use of elements of this style in all kinds of works, you can find their marks in the vast sea of books.

This lesson's imagination question: Try to write a Gothic novel description of the environment as the beginning of the story, try to draw the reader into it.


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Liston Flowers

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