There are a number of techniques, devices and conventions common to a great deal of Gothic literature:
- WEATHER: used in a number of ways and forms, some of these being: Mist - This convention in Gothic Literature is often used to obscure objects (this can be related to the sublime) by reducing visibility or to prelude the insertion of a terrifying person or thing; Storms - These frequently accompany important events. Flashes of lightening accompany revelation; thunder and downpours prefigure the appearance of a character or the beginning of a significant event; Sunlight - represents goodness and pleasure; it also has the power to bestow these upon characters.
- THE SUBLIME: The definition of this key term has long been a contested term, but the idea of the sublime is essential to an understanding of Gothic poetics and, especially, the attempt to defend or justify the literature of terror.
Put basically (and this really is basic - a fuller understanding of the Sublime would be useful to students of Wordsworth or any Gothic Literature), the Sublime is an overpowering sense of the greatness and power of nature, which can be uplifting, awe-inspiring and terrifying, caused by experience of beauty, vastness or grandeur. Sublime moments lead us to consider the place of humanity in the universe, and the power exhibited in the world.
We see an example of Gothic usurpation of a Romantically sublime space in the monster's interruption of Victor's Alpine reveries in Frankenstein.
- DREAMS: Perhaps the most famous Gothic example occurs in Shelley's Frankenstein after Frankenstein 'awakes' his creature: he falls into a dream state that begins with his kissing of Elizabeth, his love. However, this kiss changes her in the most drastic way as she transforms into the rotting corpse of Caroline, Victor's dead mother. Upon awakening from this horrifying dream, Victor...
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