The Gothic novel grew out of the late Romantic period’s social climate:
“a new and fearful genre for a new and fearful time. A crumbling way of life emerges as a crumbling and haunted Gothic manor; the loss of English social identity becomes the Gothic hero or heroine’s search for identity.” (Ruotolo)
The revolutions in America and France helped developed a culture of fear present in society and represented in Gothic literature-
- fear of imprisonment or entrapment,
- fear of rape and personal violation,
- fear of evil triumphing over good and chaos over order.
The novels tend to have:
- A writing style filled with: innovation, spontaneity, freedom of thought and expression, idealisation of nature …
- A lot of mysterious disappearances as well as other supernatural occurrences.
- A main protagonist that is usually a solitary, egocentric character.
- An atmosphere created by Nature.
- A story that evokes terror.
- A plot that shows the dark side of human nature.