Horace Walpole and his nightmare that fueled gothic literature

Source: Victoria and Albert Museum
Source: Victoria and Albert Museum


The nightmare where a gigantic iron gloved hand appeared that the writer had one night horace walpole was the event that marked the beginning of the dark imaginary in literature defined as the gothic genre, characterized by the romantic, magical and dark fascination of a Middle Ages idealized where passions, evil, violence and terror acquire a singular role.

This curious event turned into text, written on the England from the 1760s and dubbed The Castle of Otranto, that would serve as a foundation to resume a form of writing somewhat forgotten after the death of William Shakespeare, contains all the elements required by the Gothic genre according to lyricists and historians: castles, vaults, a family with secrets, a young hero who gives hope to the reader, and supernatural events that bring the story to a pleasant boiling point.

Otranto Castle by Horace Walpole is graduated as an important work for having inaugurated and made a whole style fashionable and for having stimulated it with a much superior literary elaboration, themes and atmospheres.

In 1762, after completing what would become his most acclaimed work, Horace published Anecdotes of Painting in England, a work based on the manuscripts of George Vertue They serve as a kind of a memory of the political and social scene of the Georgian era. Two years later I would do it with The Mysterious Mother; work in which he deals with the subject of incest, a subject that it is vital to understand the forms and legacy of Gothic literature and its relationship with the dark. On Modern Gardening de 1784, A Description of the Villa of Horace Wallpole, and Hieroglyphic Tales are some of his other classics.

It should be noted that during the last years of his life Horace suffered rheumatism and severe gout attacks that would see him die on March 2, 1797, although his figure and memory remain alive and latent in the letters that describe a place that he keeps. superstitions, family lies, fatal accidents, financial disasters, and tragic endings.

Otranto Castle It is considered the inaugural text of the literature of the Gothic genre. Source: Soul Books.

Horace Walpole's school and the arrival of Edgar Allan Poe


From then on, after the publication of what is considered to be the debut of horace walpole, the shape of the gothic genre was adopted by Ann radcliffe en Mysteries of Udolpho from 1794 e Italian from 1797, which are among the finest examples of the Gothic genre. In Germany and England a more sensational type of Gothic romance that exploits horror and violence flourished with Matthew gregory lewis and The monk de 1796, vathek de William beckford Melmoth the wanderer de Charles Robert Maturin.

The classic horror stories Frankenstein de Mary Shelley (1818) Dracula (1897) of Bram Stoker, which also belong to the Gothic tradition and add mystery, terror and deadly ambition to the characters involved, came a few years later.

Years later, Edgar Allan Poe's entry into the genre would break and finally define this gap between the style that originated in United StatesEurope, making this typeface one of the most recognized for generations to come. His curiosity about psychological trauma, the supernatural and experience with mental illness further extended the degree of horror that distinguishes the mystery of Gothic literature, an example of this is The Tell-Tale Heart.

In the years to come, other American authors including nathaniel hawthorne y washington irving with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow contributed to the growth of the style. Stephen King, as a more recent example, it is recognized as another driver in the category.