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The Tale of Terror

A Study of the Gothic Romance

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Author: Edith Birkhead
Published: 1920
Language: English
Wordcount: 72,382 / 239 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 51.1
LoC Categories: PN, Z
Downloads: 815
Added to site: 2009.12.12 26008
Genre: Non-fiction

The aim of this book is to give some account of the growth ofsupernatural fiction in English literature, beginning with thevogue of the Gothic Romance and Tale of Terror towards the closeof the eighteenth century.

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ng-bell in Webster's sombre tragedy, The Duchess of Malfi, prove triumphantly the dramatic possibilities of terror. As a foil to his Masque of Queens (1609) Ben Jonson introduced twelve loathly witches with Até as their leader, and embellished his description of their profane rites, with details culled from James I.'s treatise on Demonology and from learned ancient authorities.

In The Pilgrim's Progress, Despair, who "had as many lives as a cat," his wife Diffidence at Doubting Castle, and Maul and Slaygood are the ogres of popular story, whose acquaintance Bunyan had made in chapbooks during his ungodly youth. Hobgoblins, devils and fiends, "sturdy rogues" like the three brothers Faintheart, Mistrust and Guilt, who set upon Littlefaith in Dead Man's Lane, lend the excitement of terror to Christian's journey to the Celestial City. The widespread belief in witches and spirits to which Browne and Burton and many others bear witness in the seventeenth century, lived on in



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