Historians used it to refer to the gloomy and impressive style of medieval architecture common in Europe. The cathedrals were covered with a profusion of carvingsdepicting humanity in conflict with supernatural forces—demons, angels, gargoyles, and monsters. Like Gothic architecture, Gothic literature focuses on humanity’s fascination with the unknown, and thefrightening, inexplicable aspects of the universe and the human soul. Gothic literature pictures the human condition as an ambiguous mixture of good and evil powers that cannot be understood completelyby human reason.
Gothic elements include the following:
1. Setting in a castle. Gothic fiction found its most natural settings in the very tall buildings of the Gothic style to highlight their"medievalness" - castles, mansions, and monasteries, often remote, crumbling (qui tombe en ruines). The castle often contains secret passages, trap doors, secret rooms, dark or hidden staircases. Butthe setting might be in an old house or mansion.
2. An atmosphere of mystery and suspense. The work is pervaded by a threatening feeling, a fear enhanced (réhausser, accroître) by the unknown. Oftenthe plot itself is built around a mystery, such as unknown parentage, a disappearance, or some other inexplicable event.
3. An ancient prophecy is connected with the castle or its inhabitants. Theprophecy is usually obscure, partial, or confusing. This may amount to a legend: "It's said that a ghost still wanders these halls."
4. Portents (présages), visions. A character may have a disturbingdream vision, or some phenomenon may be seen as a portent of coming events. For example, if the statue of the lord of the manor falls over, it may portend (= foreshadow) his death.
5. Supernatural orinexplicable events. Amazing events occur, such as ghosts or giants walking, or inanimate objects. In some works, the events are ultimately given a natural explanation, while in others the events are...