Introduction (Critical Survey of Long Fiction, Fourth Edition)
By the end of the nineteenth century, writers interested in exploring supernatural themes had abandoned the mode of gothic fiction pioneered by eighteenth century English novelist Horace Walpole. Walpole and his imitators had exploited such props as medieval ruins and gloomy manor houses riddled with secret passages, while later gothic novelists had accentuated madness and excessive violence. Newer writers emphasized character, practiced a more sophisticated narrative technique, and displayed an intuitive grasp of the workings of the human psyche.
Horror fiction continued to do what gothic fiction had done before it. In an era of growing emphasis upon science and reason, it explored humankind’s darker and more irrational impulses. Increasingly, however, the boundaries between horror and gothic became more slippery, and individual authors or works are being categorized and analyzed in either genre.
(The entire section is 134 words.)
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