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Gothic Literature

6. Background to Frankenstein

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the historical context for the creation of Frankenstein, including: the story of the novel’s initial conception, the influence of Percy Shelley, the impact of Mary’s parents, and the importance of Romanticism.


In this course, we explore the history of the Gothic novel, beginning with Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, and finishing with the literature (and films) of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries that have been influenced by the Gothic, including Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca and Angela Carter’s A Bloody Chamber. Along the way, we will explore some of the most important novels in the English language, including: Frankenstein, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde, and the Picture of Dorian Gray.


John McRae is Special Professor of Language in Literature Studies and Teaching Associate in the School of English at Nottingham University, and holds Visiting Professorships in China, Malaysia, Spain and the USA. He is co-author of The Routledge History of Literature in English with Ron Carter, and also wrote The Language of Poetry, Literature with a Small 'l' and the first critical edition of Teleny by Oscar Wilde and others.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

McRae, J. (2018, August 15). Gothic Literature - Background to Frankenstein [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McRae, J. "Gothic Literature – Background to Frankenstein." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,