The Victorian Gothic and the Economy

The Victorian Gothic genre is known for its haunting tales served with a side of rich prose, grand settings, dramatic characters, and a dash of ambiguity. I believe that it is no coincidence that the genre started gaining popularity during the Industrial Revolution – a time of excess and instability. The most unstable class at the time appeared to be the emerging bourgeoisie and the genre can be interpreted as the class’ self-analysis. Popular Gothic novels such as The Castle of Otranto, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Dracula reflect aspects of the middle class’ interactions with their current economy and share themes of heavy loss and monstrous gains. Along with this, analyse some additional aspects and what that says about the genre and its contributors.

  • You are absolutely on to something here in noticing the connection between the rise in Gothic novels and the upstart of the industrial revolution. This turn to nostalgic genres of "novel ghost stories," was a literary means of holding on to the past amongst an ever-evolving society that was difficult for many to accept. With the changes brought about during the industrial revolution, many prospered, but the majority suffered. The classes that were once predetermined by birth were becoming shuffled, and people were no longer looked down upon for working, and were given the ability to rise in class. The beautiful eccentric castles in all gothic novels is an ode to the past amongst an ever changing world moving to a more urban setting. Great topic that I hope to see published as an article! – danielle577 6 years ago

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