whatconstitute Gothic and what is Gothic now?Since the firstGothic novel The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole was published in 1764,Gothic literature has become popular among many readers who fascinates mystery,superstition and horror. Inevitably, the nature of excess and transgression haschanged during the past two decades due to shift in ideology in society.To the study the success of gothic literature, this essay will analyse the maincharacteristic of gothic which refers to Gothicauthored by Fred Botting are excess, transgression and diffusion. Excess is According to Gothic written by Fred Botting referring transgression as “transgressingthe bound of reality and possibility”. In TheFall Of the House Of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe, the mysterious RoderickUsher bury his sister alive after being intolerable to their incest relationship.While his sister was not dead and revived from the coffin. This is a typicalexample of transgression in gothic novel. The character who cannot distinguish betweenreal and unreal and lead to commit irrational act such as violence or criminal behavior.
Apart from defining the boundary between reality and imagination, transgressionalso enable limits to be reconstituted by provoking fears of socialdisintegration. The social-isolation situation of the Ushers family caused theincest between family members and this excessive sin can enable readers toreflect and restore limits for social behavior. Although the rise of scientificmethods for instance Darwinian models of evolution, criminology and anatomy weakenedthe mystery of awesomeness of gothic literature. Science have become an unusual background forgothic to develop. Frankenstein impliedthat no man should transgress the power of creator and human should not corruptthe creation of life as the creature created by Frankenstein is abnormal. Thesegothic figures suggest that convention social value should not contaminated byscience. Diffusion is the reason of the prevalence of gothic in different media. Gothicmotifs have been readily infused in many literatureforms such as romanticnovel, adventure novel, science fiction, popular horror writing and modernist literature(Botting).
From the first gothic novel, The Castle ofOtranto, a story that has a medieval backgroundto the science fiction Frankenstein whichemphasize science written by Mary Shelly or Draculaby Bram Stoker that representing sexuality, gothic literature has shown its variability in writing genres. Besides, the establishmentof cinema and the invention of television has helped Gothic to keep its longevity.These non-literary products transformed the image of tradition gothic figures toa more acceptable to attract audience which in a way that preserve the gothic.For instance, the image of vampires in ancient myths and Dracula share nocommon in appearance but the nature while Dracula has been an iconicrepresentative of vampire in pop culture that more than 200 movies featuredDracula (Awe, Susan).
The mainstream literature has always marginalized andexcluded the gothic literature despite its cultural value and popularity. However, gothic literaturehas become the longestsurviving literary tradition that went through romanticism, realism andmodernism eras by articulating and diffusing multiple of forms of writing. Transformationof nature of transgression and excessIn the development of gothic literature, it went through three major eras of evolution.
Thefirst period is the eighteenth century when gothic was a new genre of writing. Followedby the eighteenth century gothic is the nineteenth century gothic and then finallypostmodern gothic. Eighteenth century gothic has distanced itself from romanticismby stressing immorality and the lost of nobility. The despicable acts of Manfredin The Castle of Otrantomade him hasthe perception of a bandit rather than a lord of a castle.
The strategies thatto fascinate readers of the gothic novels are indulging and rationalizing inimaginative excesses. The situation changed in the nineteenth century gothic.According to Emma McEvoy, “It is the period in which we see horror take centre-stage:many of these texts are filled to repletion with violence, imprisonment,torture, murder, parricide, sex, incest and cannibalism” (McEvoy,2007:22).Edgar Allan Poe was an innovative writer in this creative period of gothic literature. His novels highlighted death, madness and thedecay of aristocracy. The typical example included The Fall of the usher House.
Draculaby Bram Stocker has brought the gothic novel to another level of popularity. Therevival of old gothic background such as a gloomy castle and the usage of sciencehave been combined to form a masterpiece. While core of horror and terrorshifted from external to internal in postmodern gothic. Fred Botting arguedthat “the new frame turns Gothic horror into a sentimental romance” (Botting). Dracula in 1992 directed by FrancisCoppola is the example to illustrate the emerge of human identity and humanist narrativeby portraying Mina being unfaithful to her husband while fell in love withDracula.
External horror like supernatural events or hideous monster in oldgothic style has become the conflict between love and loyalty in postmoderngothic. In conclusion, gothic style has never been disappeared in literatureworld. Its excess, transgression and diffusion can ensure it to prosper in future.Although the form of gothic has transformed to adapt the new era, the volatilityof Gothic has been remained unchanged.