The Gothic Novel

The Gothic Novel

What is the Gothic Novel?

The Gothic Novel is a type of Novel which became popular at the end of the 18th century and was influenced by the concept of the sublime. The first one was written by Horace Walpole and it was titled ‘The Castle of Otranto‘, but the most famous one is probably ‘Frankenstein‘ by Mary Shelley.


The word Gothic refers to various characteristics:

  • a Medieval Connotation linked to the architecture of the 12th-13th centuries (castles and monasteries)
  • an irregular style opposed to classicism
  • a wild and supernatural atmosphere which makes the novel mysterious
  • themes of darkness and terror
  • Characters between good and Evil


This gothic novel is written in an epistolary form by Mary Shelley and it tells about the creation of a monstrous creature who becomes a monster only after people make him into one.

The novel is also important for the role of nature that is presented. In fact, the concept of nature being the place which brings peace to the soul will be one of the main features of the romantic novels later in history.

Even broken in spirit as he is, no one can feel more deeply than he does the beauties of nature. The starry sky, the sea, and every sight afforded by these wonderful regions, seems still to have the power of elevating his soul from earth. Such a man has a double existence: he may suffer misery, and be overwhelmed by disappointments; yet, when he has retired into himself, he will be like a celestial spirit that has a halo around him, within whose circle no grief or folly ventures.

Frankenstein, Mary Shelley

This was The Gothic Novel!  😉

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