As many of you know, Frankenstein is part of a literary movement referred to as Gothicism. But, what is a literary movement? And what exactly is Gothicism? I will try to answer these questions here.
A literary movement is a term commonly used to refer to a trend of a development in literature. The term is sometimes used to broadly to describe a general literary tendency and period, or more precisely to denote the work of a few writers, such as the Imagist movement. More often than not, a literary movements stems from a reaction to a previous literary movement. For example, the Romanticism stems from the opposition of certain writers to the strict rules of the Neoclassical Period. In the English language, old of approximately 1500 years, there are several literary periods. We will focus here on the Romantic Period, beginning in 1660 and ending in 1830.
It is during the Romantic Period that Gothicism emerged. It is in a sense a sub genre to Romanticism as Romantic poets such as Samuel Taylor Colridge and John Keats made used of the supernatural in the poems. There are several essential characteristics that compose a Gothic. First, it is important to keep in mind that a Gothic is any work of excess. Indeed, Gothic works tend to go into excess in order to shock the readers out of their senses, lest it be boring. There is always a feeling of fear of uneasiness in a Gothic work. Then, there is a sense of darkness and a remote location in which the action takes place. The idea of transgression and of breaking the rules are also extremely important to the Gothic Movement. Moreover, there is always supernatural elements in a Gothic as well as monsters.
According to this definition, do you feel that Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein qualifies as a Gothic?