Title of Abstract

Terror, Fright, and Mayhem in the Gothic Genre: The Psychological Attraction to Fear

Submitting Student(s)

Alexandra PenningtonFollow

Session Title

Humanities: Emotions of Humanity within Literature

Faculty Mentor

Evelyne Weeks, M.A; weekse@winthrop.edu

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

English

Faculty Mentor

Evelyne Weeks, M.A.

Abstract

The establishment of the Gothic as one of the more multifaceted movements in our literary history is a direct result of authors being able to highlight and articulate major social and historical shifts in their works. When it comes to the horrific or morally flawed aspects of life, the Gothic genre is able to confront these issues more easily than in any other genre of literature through the use of its highly imaginative and suspenseful style. This paper will explore fears, anxieties, and attitudes throughout history that influence the frightening elements of the Gothic tradition that originated in the eighteenth century in order to determine why these characteristics remain a relevant component of popular culture today. The purpose of this examination is to bring to light the significant role that the Gothic plays in leaving a lasting impact on its readers by allowing them to confront their worst fears about the world safely through fictional elements in either literature or films. Through a psychological-critical lens, I proceed to argue that Gothic literature is able to remain appealing because its style adapts to the societal period in which it is being written, thereby offering audiences an opportunity for both escapism and catharsis where they are brought closer to understanding complicated societal issues and fears they otherwise would ignore.

Additional Fields About Your Abstract

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Honors Thesis Committee

Evelyne Weeks, M.A.; Michael Lipscomb, Ph.D.; Kelly Richardson, Ph.D.; Leslie Bickford, Ph.D.; Jo Koster, Ph.D.

Honors Thesis Committee

Evelyne Weeks, M.A.; Michael Lipscomb, Ph.D.; Kelly Richardson, Ph.D.; Leslie Bickford, Ph.D.; Jo Koster, Ph.D.

Course Assignment

HONR 451H - Lipscomb and ENGL 494H - Koster

Start Date

16-4-2021 2:30 PM

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Apr 16th, 2:30 PM

Terror, Fright, and Mayhem in the Gothic Genre: The Psychological Attraction to Fear

The establishment of the Gothic as one of the more multifaceted movements in our literary history is a direct result of authors being able to highlight and articulate major social and historical shifts in their works. When it comes to the horrific or morally flawed aspects of life, the Gothic genre is able to confront these issues more easily than in any other genre of literature through the use of its highly imaginative and suspenseful style. This paper will explore fears, anxieties, and attitudes throughout history that influence the frightening elements of the Gothic tradition that originated in the eighteenth century in order to determine why these characteristics remain a relevant component of popular culture today. The purpose of this examination is to bring to light the significant role that the Gothic plays in leaving a lasting impact on its readers by allowing them to confront their worst fears about the world safely through fictional elements in either literature or films. Through a psychological-critical lens, I proceed to argue that Gothic literature is able to remain appealing because its style adapts to the societal period in which it is being written, thereby offering audiences an opportunity for both escapism and catharsis where they are brought closer to understanding complicated societal issues and fears they otherwise would ignore.