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Gothic Literature

7. Late Victorian Gothic

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In this module, Elly talks about what happens to Gothic in the late Victorian period. In particular, she argues, literature in this period responds to three things: the massive social changes that were caused by the Industrial Revolution, the new scientific ideas of thinkers such as Charles Darwin and Sigmund Freud, and the threat of invasion from the Continent. One theme that brings these ideas together is the idea of boundaries - between rich and poor, between man and beast, and between England and the rest of the world - and it is the blurring of boundaries that gives much of Gothic-inspired literature in this period its power.


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 - Late Victorian Gothic [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

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

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