Mary Shelley

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Frankenstein: Genre 1 key example

Explanation and Analysis:

Frankenstein is one of the most famous Gothic novels. Established with Horace Walpole’s 1864 novel The Castle of Otranto, Gothic fiction is characterized by mystery and suspense, settings in isolated, ancient locations, and the inclusion of psychological elements that express human emotions. The novel's succession of tragic deaths and Victor's and the Monster's psychological sufferings fit Gothic conventions. Due to its dark subject matter and plot, Frankenstein also falls into the genres of tragedy and science fiction.

Romanticism, a literary movement that developed in the late 18th century, heavily influenced the novel’s style. Romantic authors tended to focus on nature, specifically the idea that was a force to be admired and an important aspect of human experience. They also emphasized the individual and the subjective, as well as the presence of the sublime, defined as a feeling of awe or reverence awakened by witnessing the beauty of nature or natural experiences. All throughout Frankenstein, Shelley evokes the sense of the sublime through elevated, emotional language and heightened imagery. This can be seen, for example, when Victor goes mountain climbing in the Alps and describes the effect that seeing a glacier has on his mind; the sight fills him with "sublime ecstasy" that gives metaphorical wings to his soul, elevating him above the mundane world.