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Gothic Literature

4. Early Gothic Literature

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About this Lecture


In this module, we look at some of the early imitations and successors to the Castle of Otranto, including William Beckford’s Vathek (1787), Clara Reeve’s Old English Baron (1778), and Charlotte Dacre’s Zofloya. In addition to this, we also explore some of early parodies of the Gothic genre, including Sheridan’s The Rivals (1775), Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey (1818), and the works of Thomas Love Peacock.


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 - Early Gothic Literature [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McRae, J. "Gothic Literature – Early Gothic Literature." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,