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The Tale of Terror - A Study of the Gothic Romance

The Tale of Terror - A Study of the Gothic Romance

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The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Tale of Terror, by Edith BirkheadThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost norestrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under theterms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online atwww.gutenberg.netTitle: The Tale of Terror Author: Edith BirkheadRelease Date: November 26, 2004 [eBook #14154]Language: English***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE TALE OFTERROR***E-text prepared by Clare Boothby, Keith M. Eckrich, and the ProjectGutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team
THE TALE OF TERROR 
A Study of the Gothic Romance by
EDITH BIRKHEAD M.A.
Assistant Lecturer in English Literature in the University of BristolFormerly Noble Fellow in the University of LiverpoolLondonConstable & Company Ltd.1921
 
PREFACE
The aim of this book is to give some account of the growth of supernaturalfiction in English literature, beginning with the vogue of the Gothic Romanceand Tale of Terror towards the close of the eighteenth century. The origin anddevelopment of the Gothic Romance are set forth in detail from theappearance of Walpole's
Castle of Otranto
in 1764 to the publication of Maturin's
Melmoth the Wanderer 
in 1820; and the survey of this phase of thenovel is continued, in the later chapters, to modern times. One of these isdevoted to the Tale of Terror in America, where in the hands of Hawthorneand Poe its treatment became a fine art. In the chapters dealing with the morerecent forms of the tale of terror and wonder, the scope of the subject becomesso wide that it is impossible to attempt an exhaustive survey.The present work is the outcome of studies begun during my tenure of theWilliam Noble Fellowship in the University of Liverpool, 1916-18. It is a pleasure to express here my thanks to Professor R.H. Case and to Dr. JohnSampson for valuable help and criticism at various stages of the work. Parts of the MS. have also been read by Professor C.H. Herford of the University of Manchester and by Professor Oliver Elton of the University of Liverpool. ToMessrs. Constable's reader I am also indebted for several helpful suggestions. —E.B.
THE UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL,
December, 1920.
CONTENTS
CHAPTER I - INTRODUCTORY.
The antiquity of the tale of terror; the element of fear in myths, heroic legends, ballads and folk-tales; terror in the romances of the middle ages, inElizabethan times and in the seventeenth century; the credulity of the age of reason; the renascence of terror and wonder in poetry; the "attempt to blendthe marvellous of old story with the natural of modern novels." Pp. 1-15.
 
CHAPTER II - THE BEGINNINGS OF GOTHIC ROMANCE.
Walpole's admiration for Gothic art and his interest in the middle ages; themediaeval revival at the close of the eighteenth century;
The Castle of Otranto
; Walpole's bequest to later romance-writers; Smollett's incidentalanticipation of the methods of Gothic Romance; Clara Reeve's
Old English Baron
and her effort to bring her story "within the utmost verge of  probability"; Mrs. Barbauld's Gothic fragment; Blake's
 Fair Elenor 
; thecritical theories and Gothic experiments of Dr. Nathan Drake. Pp. 16-37.
CHAPTER III - "THE NOVEL OF SUSPENSE." MRS. RADCLIFFE.
The vogue of Mrs. Radcliffe; her tentative beginning in
The Castles of Athlinand Dunbayne
, and her gradual advance in skill and power;
The Sicilian Romance
and her early experiments in the "explained" supernatural;
The Romance of the Forest 
, and her use of suspense; heroines:
The Mysteries of Udolpho
; illustrations of Mrs. Radcliffe's methods;
The Italian
; villains; her historical accuracy and "unexplained" spectre in
Gaston de Blondeville
; her reading; style; descriptions of scenery; position in the history of the novel. Pp.38-62.
CHAPTER IV - THE NOVEL OF TERROR. LEWIS AND MATURIN.
Lewis's methods contrasted with those of Mrs. Radcliffe; his debt to Germanterror-mongers;
The Monk 
; ballads;
The Bravo of Venice
; minor works andtranslations; Scott's review of Maturin's
Montorio
; the vogue of the tale of terror between Lewis and Maturin; Miss Sarah Wilkinson; the personality of Charles Robert Maturin; his literary career; the complicated plot of 
The Family of Montorio
; Maturin's debt to others; his distinguishing gifts revealedin
Montorio
; the influence of 
Melmoth the Wanderer 
on French literature; asurvey of 
Melmoth
; Maturin's achievement as a novelist. Pp. 63-93.
CHAPTER V - THE ORIENTAL TALE OF TERROR. BECKFORD.
The Oriental story in France and England in the eighteenth century;Beckford's
Vathek 
; Beckford's life and character; his literary gifts; later Oriental tales. Pp. 94-99.

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