The Gothic Element in the Novels of Charles Brockden Brown Page: 5
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field was Walpole. lis knowledge of medieval conditions was
fragmentary and inexaot. He had his own conception of
literature, with the exoeption, perhaps, of a few popular
That The Castle of Otranto was Immediately aeoepted and
became very popular wis an indication of the eagerness with
which the readers of 1765 desired to escape from the present
and revel for a time in atrange, bygone centuries."10 The
first edition was sold out in two months and others followed
rapidly. It was translated into three other languages, French,
Italian, and German*
Walpole developed a set pattern for the Gothio novel
which is defined as wa form of novel in which magic, mystery,
and chivalry are the chief characteristics* Horrors dbotwdt
one may expect a suit of armor suddenly com® to life, while
ghosts, clanking chains, and chsrnel houses impart an uncanny
atmosphere of terror,*11 "The Castle of Otranto is significant
not becattse of its intrinsic merit, bat because of its power
in shaping the destiny of the novel."12 His followers, Mrs.
Radcllffe, Clara Reeve, Maturin, Lewis, and Godwin, adhered
to the pattern. The Gothio novel was imitated by the ^shilling
shockers," stories which "varied in length from mere anecdotes
%bld . p. 3. ' 10Birkhead, oj>. oit., p. 20.
^V/m. F. Thrall and Addison Hibbard, A Handbook to
Literature, p. 190. ~
12Birkhead, op. oit., p« 20.
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Cannon, Willie Jim. The Gothic Element in the Novels of Charles Brockden Brown, thesis, 1950; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc130235/m1/8/: accessed April 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .