Critical approaches to Gothic origins usually bear on theme and ideology rather than on textuality. This article argues both that by the side of thematic issues we must carefully examine the forms of Gothic and that, beyond the literary and philosophical, the folk sources of Gothic remain to be acknowledged. Making use of tools familiar to mythographer and folklorist, textual analysis of a passage from the 1831 edition of Mary Shelley‘s Frankenstein reveals this novel is built on the traditional narrative structure of the heroic quest; while Victor‘s tragic destiny is shown to result from a deliberate manipulation of traditional patterns.
Numinous Spaces in Gothic, Horror and Science Fiction
This article elucidates an aspect of the formal use Gothic fiction makes of space. It begins by exploring the complex and confusing area in between spaces; after discussing examples of spatial ambiguity from several genres, and briefly outlining some narrative ‘geometries’ employed by Gothic fiction, the article concentrates on a segment from Ann Radcliffe‘s The Italian in order to show how precisely the use of thresholds can elicit numinous terror, and so, in what way the threshold is vital to the construction of Gothic narratives. The discussion of Gothic spaces is rounded off with a close analogy from the field of contemporary mathematics which clarifies Gothic liminalization techniques.