The gothic novel and Mary Shelley: caratteristiche

Caratteristiche del romanzo gotico, biografia di Mary Shelley e riassunto della sua opera Frankenstein (3 pagine formato doc)

Appunto di alebolla


The gothic novel.

The Gothic novel was important in the development of fiction, since it was the precursor of historical, detective and science fiction novels.
The origins can be traced back to 1764, when The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole was published. In the following years, a great number of successful gothic novels appeared, but the most significant among them were Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho and Mary Shelleys Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus.


Features: The Gothic novel was a reaction against the realism of 18th century writers, such as Fielding and Richardson. Since it aimed at thrilling the readers instead of amusing or educating them, its plots were set in an imaginary past time, usually the Middle Ages, and in strange, unfamiliar countries, with horrible murders, extraordinary situations and supernatural events happening in haunted castles, prisons, convents.

The dominant mood was the so called “Gothic gloom”, enhanced by the presence of secret passages, long dark corridors and dreadful dungeons, or by the natural surroundings made up of thick forests and impenetrable woods.
The Gothic novelists discovered the charm of horror and the power of sensation, connected with the grotesque and the supernatural. Their characters were stereotypes (the villain, the persecuted maidens), however they introduced visions, dreams and terrors into fiction, as opposed to Augustan rationalism.

Mary Shelley: vita e opere


Mary Shelley (1797 – 1851). Biographical note - Mary Shelley was the daughter of William Godwin, a radical philosopher. She met P.B. Shelley in 1814 and immediately fell in love with him. They eloped in the same year and got married after the suicide of Shelley’s wife Harriet. Then they left for Switzerland, where they met the poet George Byron. In 1818 they settled in Italy, but, after Shelley’s death in 1822, Mary returned to England, where she edited her husband’s literary remains and went on writing works of her own.

Frankenstein di Mary Shelley: riassunto


Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus (1816). Origins of the novel: In the summer of 1816, Mary was near Geneva (Switzerland) with Shelley and Byron. Due to the wet weather, they often stayed at home and read some ghost stories. Byron suggested that each of them should write a ghost story of their own. Probably influenced by Byron’s and Shelley’s conversation about Darwin’s and Galvani’s experiments with electricity, she had a nightmare about a student sitting by a monstrous being he had just created and which was coming to life. When she awoke, she realized she had found the subject of her own story.

Plot: Victor Frankenstein, a Swiss scientist, manages to create a human being by joining parts selected from corpses. Despite careful preparation, the result of the experiment is ugly and revolting: the Monster becomes a murderer and in the end destroys his creator, then he commits suicide. T