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Lecture 1

ENGL 2103 Lecture 1: Castle of Otranto (Pt. 1)

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Carleton University
ENGL 2103
Henderson Jennifer

The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole (Pt. 1) Quotations: Narrator isn’t separated from the characters Different speakers are run together Narration: Separate from the characters: more sceptical, more grounded than the characters (who’s emotions are flying everywhere) Events: Characters are in constant movement Their movements are blocked by the knight Supernatural prophecy: skeleton, ghosts, mistaken identities Comical moments involving the servants: compared to Shakespeare's use of comic moments in his tragedies How to Take the Novel: Can it really be written to scare and cause pity in us? Now as a society we are hardened to the effects of the gothic Author names it as a gothic genre Approach: what is the novel designed to teach? Not necessarily a clear message Blended medieval form of romance with the modern Mixture of tragedy and comedy: there is an obvious set, coming and going of characters, lots of dialogue It is a tragic ending but has a melancholic marriage at the end Mixture of value systems associated with medieval romance and modern literature Clash between aristocratic and bourgeois values: fixes them but doesn’t resolve their conflict Prefaces: Horace Walpole says he found the book which was translated by William Marshal from Onuphrio Muralto The author distances the manuscript: goes by a different name, says it comes from 200 yrs ago (1529) and from Italy In 1764: in England the readers wanted to be enlightened Authority is now regarded to be dictated by logic (not supernatural belief), and personal opinions Walpole believes he has to present the romance to the public as naturalness to life, because inexplicable events are no longer legitimate to his audience He presents the novel as a source of entertainment Post-enlightenment: the rules for literature are set from neo-classicism Neo-classicism- from ancient Greece (Aristotle): values simplicity, symmetry, naturalness (truthfulness to nature) Romance in the Middle Ages: was a displaced way of discussing power relations In the 18th C, romance was mocked unless true to life Christianity and Romance: Associated with catholicism (before protestantism): tales of the supernatural were written to confirm superstitions Christian belief should based on scripture, not fear of the c
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