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Gothic Literature

4. Frankenstein

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About this Lecture


In this module, Elly discusses Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, which was first published in 1818, before being revised for a second edition in 1831. In particular, Elly discusses the importance of setting in the novel, arguing that Shelley makes use of the traditional Gothic settings of faraway places such as Europe and the North Pole - but then brings the Creature into the home. Also discussed is the idea of the supernatural in the novel. Unlike in the Castle of Otranto, Shelley works hard to persuade us that this could really happen, that a well-trained doctor could bring an assemblage of body-parts back to life.


For many, the genre of gothic horror is epitomised by the novels Frankenstein and Dracula. In this course, we explore the origins of the genre through lesser-known, but no less influential works, the Castle of Otranto (1764) and The Monk (1796): the former is generally regarded as the first gothic novel, and the latter (which was described by Samuel Taylor Coleridge as “the offspring of no common genius”) one of the most important gothic novels of its time - decades before Frankenstein, and over a century before Dracula.


Elly is a second-year DPhil student at the University of York. While her thesis is on the reception of Arthurian legend in children's literature, she is au fait with all Victorian literature. In her spare time, she writes a food blog called 'Nutmegs, seven'

Cite this Lecture

APA style

McCausland, E. (2018, August 15). Gothic Literature - Frankenstein [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McCausland, E. "Gothic Literature – Frankenstein." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,