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GOTHIC - MARY SHELLEY (1797 - 1851)

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With Mary Shelley we talk about post gothic. Gothic in fact was a trend of first romanticism and it is referred to Middle Ages. This term originally designated the architectural style of middle-ages and was employed to designate the revival  of interest for the middle ages, as testified for istance by Walpole's castle. In literature it expresses the revival of interests for the poetry of the so called Dark Ages and found its best expression in poetry. This new trend was turned against the realism of writers as Richardson and Fielding and expresses the rebellion against Reason and the new stress put  upon the dark passions of the soul. There isn't a didactic aim and the facts are associated to fear, horror and blood. It aimed at thrilling the reader rather than amusing or educating him. The interest  in the Middle Ages is expressed by the kind of setting used, that is a medioeval one (castles, prisons, unknown countries and gothic buildings). The gothic novelists discovered the charm of horror and the power of sensation, connected with the grotesque and the supernatural. The middle ages was seen as the age of passion. The passion, caused by the great and the sublime, is astonishment, that is the state of the soul in which all its motions are suspended. Sublime= horror associated to astonishment.

MARY SHELLEY (1797 - 1851)

Frankenstein written in 1818 is post gothic, in fact there aren't medioeval castles, dungeons, dark lands. Besides ghosts were sopernatural or imaginary projections of a distorted perception, whereas Frankenstein's monster is a creation of science. In classical gothics dark villains enact dreams of lust, incests and rape. There is nothing in Frankenstein of this behaviour, in fact the creature will became a villain, but as a consequence of living in the human society. He is the prototype of the outsider, because of his differences. Nature: the natural world is a mirror of human feelings and emotions, its obscure and gloomy places reflect human pains and fears, whereas its beatiful places reflect happy moods. The duoble: is one of the many ways of dramatizing the two aspects of  the same character (his good and bad selves such as Frankenstein and the monster). Frankenstein says of his monster that he is 'my own spirit'. The monster's actions express the emotional intention of the author himself. It's an autobiographical product of her own upsetting experience of life. Tecniques: it is narrated in the first person by three different narrators. It starts as an epistolary novel. There is frame and thus it's built like a story inside the story. The influence of Godwin is considerable, in fact from Godwin Mary had taken the notion that man in his wild state is a social being, capable of living in cooperation. Yet society, after Rousseau's idea of it, has also a corrupting force. The monster, like Rousseau's natural man, is naturally good untill he is embittered by the contact with human society.


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