1L1 Delightful Horror!

Session 1 – The Gothic?

Gothic is related to – used during the Renaissance to criticize Middle Age architectureScreen Shot 2014-01-23 at 17.30.24

ex. Notre Dame de Paris with gargoyles and grotesques figures to scare the unfaithful viewers outside.

– an old German people

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– a type of old lettering

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– a type of music and fan style derives from British post-punk groups

Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 17.29.07Siouxie and the Banshees 80s British post punk group.

Gothic fiction or Gothic horror, is a genre of literature that combines fiction, horror and Romanticism.

First 1764 novel Castle of Otranto,by Horace Walpole subtitled “A Gothic Story.” The effect of Gothic fiction feeds on a pleasing / appealing sort of terror.

Melodrama and parody (including self-parody) were other features of the Gothic.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Edgar Allan Poe.

Bram Stocker’s Dracula

The name Gothic refers to the (pseudo)-medieval buildings in which many of these stories take place. This extreme form of romanticism was very popular in England and Germany. The English gothic novel also led to new novel types such as the French roman noir.

  • Gothic vocabulary
  • – reading experience:
  • adjectives:
  • scared
  • terrified
  • horrified
  • goose bumps: chair de poule
  • intrigued
  • anxious
  • threatened
  • – literary vocabulary:
  • suspense / suspenseful
  • terrifying / horrifying / scary
  • dark / spooky / creepy / gloomy
  • a novel : un roman / a poem: un poème / a stanza: une strophe / an atmosphere /
  • a setting: décor

Session 2 – Extract from the Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliff. 1794

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It takes place during the night, the narrator is an all-seeing narrator, the heroine is in her bedroom and she hears a strange noise.

setting: curtains, old photograph + letter, bed and lamp, locked door, staircase, in a castle. Her room is next to another room with a drak story.

light = safety

miniature picture = death / past / dark memories

dog= protection

curtains can hide or show something > So the setting is very dramatic, like a play in a theater or a Black and White expressionist movie.

The time lapse corresponds to 2 hours from midnight to 2 in the morning.

The atmosphere is mysterious, we don’t know where the noise comes from. It’s scary but the heroine doesn’t react, she’s frightened and powerless.

It’s the stereotypical gothic heroine because she’s over sensitive but she doesn’t act.

This scene is a typical gothic scene because we want to know what will happen to her and we enjoy the suspense.

The curtains, bed, light and locked door are leitmotives in Gothic fiction.

It’s a nightmare scene because we don’t know if she’s asleep or awake, maybe it’s just her imagination.

Session 3 – The Raven by Poe, 1845

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narrative poem > it tells a story even if it’s a poem, there’s a series of events, a real plot.

But it’s a poem because it’s musical, stylized.

There is a supernatural / gloomy  atmosphere.

It tells of a speaking raven‘s mysterious visit to a lover, tracing the man’s slow fall into madness.

The lover is lamenting the loss of his love, Lenore.

The raven drives him mad with its constant repetition of the word “Nevermore“.

Through the use of internal rhymes as well as alliterations the poet succeeds in alienating us readers, we feel bewitched by the poem itself.

  • narrative poem: poème narratif
  • even if: même si
  • a plot: une intrigue
  • a series of events: évènements successifs : exposition / climax: sommet / rising action / falling action
  • a reversal of situation: retournement de situation
  • slow fall into madness: lente descente vers la folie
  • to drive someone mad: rendre qq’un fou
  • nevermore: jamais plus
  • rhymes: rimes
  • bewitched: envoûtés


Both the Raven and The Mysteries of Udolpho correspond to Gothic scenes because the setting and time lapse are the same: both scenes take place late at night, around midnight. The heroine (MofU)/ narrator (Raven) are both alone, in their room haunted by dark memories of their past / dead father / lover. There’s a conflict between reason and fantasy or imagination so that the reader never knows if the character is mad or asleep having a nightmare.

  • both: les deux
  • the same as: le même que
  • setting: décor
  • to take place: se passer
  • alone: seul
  • haunted by: hanté par
  • memories: souvenirs
  • asleep: endormi # awake: éveillé
  • to have a nightmare: avoir un cauchemard
  • a nightmarish vision: une vision cauchemardesque

Session 4 – Painting Study

Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 18.25.49 Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 18.26.35

The Nightmare , 1781 oil painting by Fuseli 1741-1825

supernatural exaggeration but classical nude

grotesque > Romanticism

Due to its fame, Fuseli painted at least three other versions of the painting.

Many # Interpretations

a small table on which rests a mirror, phial, and book. The room is hung with red velvet curtains which drape behind the bed. Emerging from a parting in the curtain is the head of a horse with bold, featureless eyes.

The sleeper seems lifeless, and, lying on her back,

with her head hanging down, exposing her long neck. She is surmounted by an incubus that peers out at the viewer.

a dreaming woman + the content of her nightmare.

The incubus and the horse’s head refer to contemporary belief and folklore about nightmares,

but > anticipating Freudian ideas about the unconscious.

Both the image of a dream—by indicating the effect of the nightmare on the woman and a dream image—in symbolically portraying the sleeping vision.

Same as in Jekyll/ Hyde > stories within a story /schizophrenic style > the book has multiple points of views > the book itself is schizophrenic

Chiaroscuro technique > strong contrasts / light vs shades = Jekyll vs Hyde

“Nightmare” evokes the modern word for a female horse but also mythological demon or goblin who torments human beings with frightening dreams.older German term Nachtmahr.

strong emotional response from the mind, typically fear or horror, but also despair, anxiety and great sadness. > Jekyll is unable to return to sleep for a prolonged period of time.

“Fantasy abandoned by reason produces impossible monsters: united with her, she is the mother of the arts and the origin of their marvels.” 1798, etching by Goya (1746-1828) Spanish romantic painter and print maker.

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Black Paintings with intense, haunting themes, reflective of the artist’s fear of insanity and his outlook on humanity.

etching 1798

Goya imagines himself asleep amidst his drawing tools (scientific tools used by Jekyll) , his reason dulled by slumber and bedeviled by creatures that prowl in the dark. The work includes owls that may be symbols of folly and bats symbolising ignorance.> The Raven > visual representation of madness / Jekyll

Near the end of his life, he became reclusive and produced frightening and obscure paintings of insanity, madness, and fantasy, while the style of the Black Paintings prefigures the expressionist movement. > Schiele

At the age of 75, alone and in mental and physical despair, he completed the work as one of his 14 Black Paintings, all of which were executed in oil directly onto the plaster walls of his house.

Goya did not intend for the paintings to be exhibited, did not write of them, and likely never spoke of them. It was not until around 1874, some 50 years after his death, that they were taken down and transferred to a canvas support. > lunatic artwork?

Egon Schiele  (1890 – 1918) , Self-Portrait 1915

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Austrian painter

famous for twisted self-portraits and nudes > intense / scary = early expressionism

mentored by Klimt 1st exhibition when he was 18

paintings seized by the police for their pornographic contents

judge burnt 1 drawing 1 month in prison

carried on painting /exhibiting while on war duty for WW1

> mirror effect // Jekyll’s mirror > deformation of the Self / body / Self-scrutiny

> individual > dividual > dual self / divisible self

> alienation > alter ego / other self

emaciated, sickly-coloured figures, often with strong sexual overtones.

Session 5 – Extract from Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Stevenson, (1886)

Laura’s lesson notes to read here! Thanks Laura!

Lesson notes jekyll Screen Shot 2014-01-26 at 18.53.57


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