Gothic literature developed during the romantic period in britain the first mention of gothic as pertaining to literature was in the subtitle of horace walpoles 1765 story the castle of otranto a gothic story which the british library says was meant by the author as a subtle joke. The plot of gothic literature novels typically involves people who become involved in complex and oftentimes evil paranormal schemes usually against an innocent and helpless heroine. In many ways the gothic novel is a direct response to eighteenth century ideals of formal realism which is why it is essential to understand formal realism in order to understand gothic literature
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