How are the texts you have studied (Frankenstein and The Vampire of Kaldenstein) typical of the Gothic genre?

Essay by gr00uch March 2004

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Today's Gothic society is often perceived as dark, evil and full of social outcasts. Modern day "Goth" icons such as rock star Marilyn Manson have undoubtedly changed the way the whole scene is looked upon. But where as today's "Goths" seem to rely on make up, baggy clothes and body piercing's, the Gothic genre of writing is a lot darker and stranger still. The Gothic style of writing first appeared in 1764, with the publication of Horace Walpole's, "The Castle of Otranto". The book was the first of its genre and is seen as many as the first real Gothic novel. The story includes many of the subjects people associate with the genre. It is a tale of good verses evil, medieval buildings, cruelty and of course, the supernatural.

We have been studying two stories from very different times, but both have striking similarities. "Frankenstein" was written by Mary Shelly in 1816 but wasn't published fully until 1818.

Shell wrote a rough version of the story while participating in a competition with husband Percy Bysshe Shelly and Lord Byron to see who could write the best ghost story. Shelly was then encouraged to expand on her original story and the full novel was completed and published just two years later. "The Vampire of Kaldenstein" was written by Frederik Cowles in 1938. He was an admirer of fellow gothic authors such as M.R. James, Bram Stoker, Sheridan Le Fanu, and Edgar Allan Poe (author of the classic Gothic poem "The Raven") and drew on all of these influences when writing his tales, which range from horrific accounts of torture and violence to sentimental storys of childhood romances.

Many of the novels written in this era were set in old, medieval style buildings with supernatural beings. "The Vampire of Kaldenstein" was...