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The gothic novel

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The gothic novel was a very popular genre from the 1760s until the 1820s.It has had a considerable influence on fiction since.The term "gothic" meant medieval and supernatural,that is mysterious and frightening. The typical gothic plots are set in imaginary past times and in exotic countries.Generally the place are: castels,prisons,convents,forest and woods.The characters are mainly tipes:the heroine,the ghost,the villain,the evil and the vampire.The gothic novel appeals to the imagination:vision,terror and dreams are channelled into fiction and the gothic novelist followed Burke's theories of the sublime and the horrid.The first example of this genre is The castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole.This novel proved a milestone and was followed by a succession of similar works,like Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe.The gothic novel has been read as a more or less conscious revolt against the realism of writers like Richardson and Fielding.It can be considered an anti-bourgeois novel and an anti-realistic project from a group of intellectuals.

PLOT: Walton's letters,tell us the story of Frankenstein,a swiss student of chemistry,and his terrible creation of a monster.The monster,was good and gently at first but eventually he showed himself as an horrible being who wanted to destroy everyone,above of all his creator.He became like this because all the people who saw him were afraid for his ugliness:the reason why,he was always alone.After some events,the monster started to kill people of Frankenstein's family,and everybody who rejected him;for this reason,Frankenstein,after the monster's murders ,decided to follow his creation to kill him.He run behind him all over the world,as far as,an ice land where they had their last meeting.However Frankenstein became ill and while he was searching the monster,he died on Walton's ship.When the monster found the painful end of his creator,he became sad and sorry so,for his sorrow,he escaped far from everything and everybody.

Mary Shelley was born in Somers Town in 1797 to well-known parents:the mother was a author and feminist,the father was a philosopher.In 1813 she met Percy Shelley and they fell in love.Together ran off to continental Europa several times.In 1816 the couple settled in Geneva, where they met Byron;he was very important for the development of Mary Shelley's best work,like Frankenstein.In the end of 1816 Mary and Percy married.Mary's life was influenced from a lot of family disasters, such as his husband's drowning and the death of three of the four children she had from Shelley.In the rest of her life, Mary Shelley published her husband's literary works and wrote herself in order to support her son.She also continued writing her own novels,the most famous being The last man(1826).Mary died in 1851.

Mary Shelley adopted partially the epistolary technique,in fact 4 letters start the novel.Even if Frankenstein cannot defined as an apistolary novel,this technique gives it an increased realism and a sense of intimacy established between the narrator and the reader.


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