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How Are The Texts You Have Studied (Frankenstein And The Vampire Of Kaldenstein) Typical Of The Gothic Genre?

2308 words - 9 pages

Today's Gothic society is often perceived as dark, evil and full of social outcasts. Modern day "Goth" icons such as rock star Marilyn Manson have undoubtedly changed the way the whole scene is looked upon. But where as today's "Goths" seem to rely on make up, baggy clothes and body piercing's, the Gothic genre of writing is a lot darker and stranger still. The Gothic style of writing first appeared in 1764, with the publication of Horace Walpole's, "The Castle of Otranto". The book was the first of its genre and is seen as many as the first real Gothic novel. The story includes many of the subjects people associate with the genre. It is a tale of good verses evil, medieval buildings, cruelty and of course, the supernatural.We have been studying two stories from very different times, but both have striking similarities. "Frankenstein" was written by Mary Shelly in 1816 but wasn't published fully until 1818. Shell wrote a rough version of the story while participating in a competition with husband Percy Bysshe Shelly and Lord Byron to see who could write the best ghost story. Shelly was then encouraged to expand on her original story and the full novel was completed and published just two years later. "The Vampire of Kaldenstein" was written by Frederik Cowles in 1938. He was an admirer of fellow gothic authors such as M.R. James, Bram Stoker, Sheridan Le Fanu, and Edgar Allan Poe (author of the classic Gothic poem "The Raven") and drew on all of these influences when writing his tales, which range from horrific accounts of torture and violence to sentimental storys of childhood romances.Many of the novels written in this era were set in old, medieval style buildings with supernatural beings. "The Vampire of Kaldenstein" was set in Southern Bavaria, Germany. The main events of this story take place in "a small village huddled under the shadow of a high cliff upon which stood a gray stone castle." This type of setting is not unusual in Gothic stories, as it adds to the sense of mystery in the story. However the castle is not seen as a bad thing from the very start. The author describes it as "some dream of a fairyland" and a "romantic looking fortress". This shows that gothic novels are not set in evil dungeons like a horror novel might be. The narrator states at the beginning of the story that the village is "not marked on my map". This shows that the village is away from any civilization and is very isolated.When the character explores the village he comes across a "Romanesque" church. This adds a sense of religion to the piece, which was very important in the 17th and 18th centuries. The castle I mentioned earlier is later entered by the narrator. He describes smelling "damp and decay" in the halls and rooms filled with "mouldering furniture". This shows that the castle must be old which is another typical setting in a gothic story. He also says that there is a "particularly revolting painting of Lazarus rising from the dead". This shocks the...

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