Category Archives: Uncategorized

Critical Response 1

While watching The Gothic Lecture David Punter makes an interesting point about the Gothic genre at the 6:14 mark of the video. He speaks on setting and location and how it plays a vital role in the Gothic culture. Seconds after he explains this point by introducing well known locations in typical Gothic literature like castles and monasteries and the common scenarios one faces in them. David Punter goes deeper and expands by saying “Once you’re inside them is Labyrinths it’s impossible to find ones way around them there’s always darkness there’s always the threat of falling through a trap door or find one’s self in a lower level. There are no real maps don’t know how to get out or how you got in.” Labyrinth is a complicated irregular network of passages or paths in which it is difficult to find one’s way; a maze. You can find examples of this in many Gothics, one in particular would be “The Castle of Otranto”.

The Castle of Otranto is a gothic novel written by Horace Walpole. Taking place in a medieval realm, the kingdom is ruled by evil prince named Manfred. He is a very strict ruler, and has banished his wife to the castle dungeon. And plans to marry the fiancé of his deceased son Isabella. Isabella is horrified by the idea of being forced to marry Manfred and tries to flee but runs into many mazes and traps.

David Punter take on Labyrinths is fully shown in this story and its spot on, Isabella is trapped throughout this whole story and is trying her best to find her way out of this castle and a very terrifying situation. On page 38 Walpole writes “Words cannot paint the horror of the princess’s situation. Alone in so dismal a place, her mind imprinted withal terrible events of the day, hopeless of escaping.” This one line is everything David Punter was referring to 6 minutes into the video castles, darkness, being trapped.

At the 10:20 mark of the video David Punter talks about the concept of sublime in Gothic which isn’t an easy idea to explain or understand. The word itself has Latin origins and Punter describes it as “something which you don’t fully understand, something which seeps in while something else is happening.” But during the 1800’s Edmond Burke produced a book called “Of the Sublime and Beautiful” where he talks about the sublime in terms of experience you have when you are a gazing up at mountain scape, or waterfall, the experience you have feeling tiny. This makes me think of “A Castle in the Apennies”.

After her mother’s death, Emily and her father go on an adventure form their hometown of France to the Mediterranean coast where Emily meets a guy and falls in love. Shortly after Emily’s father passes away and she is forced to live with her aunt and guardian who treat her bad and show no affection for her. Emily is forced to marry Count Morano. Montoni is cruel and power-hungry, imprisoning Emily and his wife.

The connection with the sublime and “A Castle in the Appennies” is a simple one. One of the ways Punter describes the sublime is reduced to feeling tiny or truly insignificant by seeing the mighty work of nature or god. Many parts of this story you catch Emily feeling tiny or insignificant when looking up at the castle or when she looks at the mountains and is in total awe.