Supernaturalism
Religion, folklore, Shakespeare
in Gothic documents
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This chapter contains a collection of gothic texts between 1706 and 1750 connected with supernaturalism. It is a commonplace that Gothic writing developed in reaction against the rules of neo-classical criticism. The aim of John Dennis's treatise as a whole was to show the necessary interdependence of religion and poetry, and the importance of strong emotions in both. Shakespeare saw how useful the popular superstitions had been to the ancient poets: he felt that they were necessary to poetry itself. Although William Collins ostensibly eschews the use of 'false themes' for himself, his emotive treatment of the supernatural material he recommends to Home makes him a precursor of the Gothic novelists. In the 1790s, Ann Radcliffe frequently cited his poetry in her fiction and journals.

Gothic documents

A sourcebook 1700–1820

Editors: E.J. Clery and Robert Miles

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