2012 Student Research Conference:
25th Annual Student Research Conference

The Beginning of Our Horror Obsession in Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto: Naïveté and Binary Opposition in the Gothic Sublime
Rachel A. Spillars
Dr. Royce Kallerud, Faculty Mentor

Horace Walpoles novel The Castle of Otranto, often regarded as the first Gothic novel, defined key elements of the Gothic genre through its manipulation of the sublime and the uncanny. Specifically I argue that Walpoles representation of the known and unknown, the rational and irrational creates the sublime through a divergence in the sign/signifier relationship of images and comprehension, eliciting horror, and that we can turn to Walpole to help define the sublime as a key element of horror as he builds the sublime through the use of naïveté and binary opposition in the perceptions of Manfred, his family, and the other characters to the supernatural events occurring around them. By so doing, Walpole set the stage for the eighteenth-century Gothic novel and even modern examples of the horror genre.

Keywords: Sublime, English, Gothic, Walpole


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 105-3
Location: MG 1096
Time: 8:30

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