D&D's Origins in Gothic Fiction - Page 2





+ Log in or register to post
Page 2 of 5 FirstFirst 1 2 3 4 5 LastLast
Results 11 to 20 of 41
  1. #11
    Registered User
    Magsman (Lvl 14)

    Hobo's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Michigan S. S. R.
    Posts
    18,976
    Blog Entries
    20

    ø Ignore Hobo
    Quote Originally Posted by mmadsen View Post
    I wouldn't pretend that Gothic fiction had a more direct influence on D&D than swords & sorcery stories or classic horror films -- but where else do we see "iceberg" castles with vast underground dungeons?

    I can think of a few swords & sorcery stories that borrow the trope, but it certainly doesn't seem central to the genre, the way it is to Gothic fiction.
    I think that's a case of the tail wagging the dog. I don't pretend to be an expert on gothic literature, but in my experience, that so-called Iceberg Principle is hardly a trope that's central to the genre of Gothic fiction. I'm more inclined to dismiss the initial quoted phrase as either incorrect, or somehow lacking in context so that it's being mistinterprated here. Castles and secret passages, and gloomy, empty surroundings are certainly part of the stereotypical setting for a Gothic novel, but something like the D&D dungeon most absolutely is not.

    "I realize that I am generalizing here, but, as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care." Dave Barry

 

  • #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Hobo View Post
    I'm more inclined to dismiss the initial quoted phrase as either incorrect, or somehow lacking in context so that it's being mistinterprated here.
    Read the [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Fantasy-The-100-Best-Books/dp/0881847089]Amazon "Look inside!" preview[/ame] (page 13) and tell me what you think.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hobo View Post
    Castles and secret passages, and gloomy, empty surroundings are certainly part of the stereotypical setting for a Gothic novel, but something like the D&D dungeon most absolutely is not.
    Certainly the D&D dungeon, full of orcs with treasure, is not found in gothic novels, but inordinately large dungeons are. Real-life dungeons, after all, comprise a single tiny, dark chamber.

  • #13
    Registered User
    Magsman (Lvl 14)

    Hobo's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Michigan S. S. R.
    Posts
    18,976
    Blog Entries
    20

    ø Ignore Hobo
    Quote Originally Posted by mmadsen View Post
    Read the Amazon "Look inside!" preview (page 13) and tell me what you think.
    Hyperbole, for purposes of style. The author is clearly attempting to adopt a breezy, exaggerated style for ease of reading.
    Certainly the D&D dungeon, full of orcs with treasure, is not found in gothic novels, but inordinately large dungeons are. Real-life dungeons, after all, comprise a single tiny, dark chamber.
    Dungeons in castles were often more expansive than that, especially in the later middle ages and Renaissance. What you are referring to is most often called an oubliette; although the terminology was once applied to dungeons.

    It didn't take Gothic novels to create the notion of caverns underneath a castle, though. Torture chambers, store rooms, cisterns, and more were all under castles, creating a smallish "dungeon complex" of sorts.

    In Gothic novels, the dungeon was often pitched as a metaphor for tyrannical oppression and cruelty; a kind of antithesis to the Enlightenment. But they weren't usually "complexes" there would be cells for prisoners, and torture chambers, usually, and not much else. This isn't really incompatible with the historical reality, assuming your pick the right historical moments in time to calibrate your expectations against.

    "I realize that I am generalizing here, but, as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care." Dave Barry

  • #14
    Registered User
    Ogremoch, Elemental Prince of Evil (Lvl 23)

    Dannyalcatraz's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Planet Alcatraz & D/FW
    Posts
    29,876

    ø Ignore Dannyalcatraz
    I wouldn't pretend that Gothic fiction had a more direct influence on D&D than swords & sorcery stories or classic horror films -- but where else do we see "iceberg" castles with vast underground dungeons?
    Well, in the real world, actually.

    Look at...errrr...under the Vatican City & Rome, Budapest, Paris, and a lot of of major old-world cities and you'll find sprawling labyrinths that Combine natural cabes and human excavations.


    And of course, Knossos.
    IAAL...and an MBA. No, really!
    Metal School Founder; Campaign Ideas; my 3.X Databases: The Monk, The Martial Arcanist, Aquatic Ideas, The Psychonomicon

  • #15
    Registered User
    Scout (Lvl 6)

    Corathon's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Columbia, Maryland
    Posts
    410

    ø Ignore Corathon
    Quote Originally Posted by mmadsen View Post
    I'm thinking I should try to read Otranto by Halloween.
    I read it and thought it was terrible. Just one man's opinion, of course.

  • #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Corathon View Post
    I read it and thought it was terrible. Just one man's opinion, of course.
    I'm hoping that playing spot the trope will make it interesting. Sometimes the original feels derivative; sometimes it manages to feel even more original after you've read the derivative works.

    By the way, Cawthorn and Moorcock's list starts with Gulliver's Travels and then continues with a number of Gothic works: The Castle of Otranto, Vathek, The Monk, Frankenstein, and Melmoth the Wanderer.

  • #17
    Registered User
    Magsman (Lvl 14)

    Hobo's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Michigan S. S. R.
    Posts
    18,976
    Blog Entries
    20

    ø Ignore Hobo
    Most of which are nice to know from a context to the appearance of modern fantasy as we know it, but I wouldn't really call them fantasy novels as we know them, and kind of take exception to their inclusion myself, actually.

    Vathek was hugely inspirational to the "Three Musketeers" of the Weird Tales; so much so that Lovecraft's The DreamQuest of Unknown Kadath is sometimes referred to as a pastiche of it. Clark Ashton Smith and Robert E. Howard were also big fans. Especially CAS.

    But I wouldn't call it a fantasy novel. It's fantastic, in the sense that it's full of unbelievable things happening, but it doesn't really follow many (if any) of the trops and conventions associated with fantasy as a modern genre that we know and love.

    "I realize that I am generalizing here, but, as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care." Dave Barry

  • #18
    Registered User
    Scout (Lvl 6)

    Corathon's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Columbia, Maryland
    Posts
    410

    ø Ignore Corathon
    Quote Originally Posted by mmadsen View Post
    I'm hoping that playing spot the trope will make it interesting. Sometimes the original feels derivative; sometimes it manages to feel even more original after you've read the derivative works.
    When I read it, I experienced the first (original feels derivative). Also, many scenes struck me as unintentionally funny.

    Quote Originally Posted by mmadsen View Post
    By the way, Cawthorn and Moorcock's list starts with Gulliver's Travels and then continues with a number of Gothic works: The Castle of Otranto, Vathek, The Monk, Frankenstein, and Melmoth the Wanderer.
    Of those, I've only read Frankenstein, which is a book that I like very much. So many movies have been made of it, but the movie makers have failed to understand the book IMO.

  • #19
    Registered User
    Grandmaster of Flowers (Lvl 18)

    S'mon's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    London England
    Posts
    15,233

    ø Ignore S'mon
    I remember being in a castle's underground chambers that were very extensive, as big as the castle above. I think it was near Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland.

    But even above-ground ruined castle chambers feel very 'dungeon-like' if the ceiling is intact; I've been in many such in Aberdeenshire. The main difference from below-ground dungeons is that they're not so wet - they're equally dark!
    ***Henry/S'mon Super Quick d20 NPC Generation System*** The Gods of the Copybook Headings With Terror and Slaughter Return!

    eriktheguy, on S'mon's latest idea:
    There are 2 major problems with your idea:
    1: It is far too awesome
    2: see 1

  • #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Hobo View Post
    It's fantastic, in the sense that it's full of unbelievable things happening, but it doesn't really follow many (if any) of the trops and conventions associated with fantasy as a modern genre that we know and love.
    I agree that those gothic tales are much more proto-fantasy than modern fantasy. They introduced many genre tropes that are now part of modern fantasy -- and D&D in particular -- but they also lack many tropes central to the modern genre.

    So, they include dark, mysterious, and immense architecture, and they also include the supernatural, but they take place in dark corners of our real world, not in a mythical prehistory or parallel world.

    Although they're steeped in certain medieval elements, they don't borrow much from medieval romances or Norse sagas, and they're not at all Tolkien-esque.

    Quote Originally Posted by Corathon View Post
    When I read it, I experienced the first (original feels derivative). Also, many scenes struck me as unintentionally funny.
    Yeah, I'd expect a bit of an MST3K experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by Corathon View Post
    Of those, I've only read Frankenstein, which is a book that I like very much. So many movies have been made of it, but the movie makers have failed to understand the book IMO.
    Honestly, I hated Frankenstein, but I loved Dracula.

    Interesting bit of Frankenstein trivia: the original text never describes Doctor Frankenstein constructing his monster out of human cadavers.

    Quote Originally Posted by S'mon View Post
    But even above-ground ruined castle chambers feel very 'dungeon-like' if the ceiling is intact; I've been in many such in Aberdeenshire.
    It's hard to build an immense structure full of twisty passages with much natural light. Once you rely on artificial lighting though, that concern vanishes, and complicated structures don't have to be dark and dungeon-like.

  • + Log in or register to post
    Page 2 of 5 FirstFirst 1 2 3 4 5 LastLast

    Similar Threads

    1. Ideas that push fiction towards (respectively) science fiction, or fantasy
      By tomBitonti in forum Miscellaneous Geek Talk & Media Lounge
      Replies: 2
      Last Post: Monday, 13th May, 2013, 09:16 PM
    2. Gothic 1 and 2: Anyone Play them?
      By Rl'Halsinor in forum Miscellaneous Geek Talk & Media Lounge
      Replies: 14
      Last Post: Friday, 27th October, 2006, 06:16 PM
    3. Gothic Games
      By Stormborn in forum RPGs & Tabletop Gaming Discussion
      Replies: 18
      Last Post: Monday, 25th September, 2006, 12:37 AM
    4. American Gothic on DvD
      By Jakar in forum Miscellaneous Geek Talk & Media Lounge
      Replies: 3
      Last Post: Tuesday, 27th July, 2004, 02:05 AM
    5. [OT] [CPU] Gothic
      By Al in forum RPGs & Tabletop Gaming Discussion
      Replies: 5
      Last Post: Thursday, 21st March, 2002, 11:36 PM

    Posting Permissions

    • You may not post new threads
    • You may not post replies
    • You may not post attachments
    • You may not edit your posts
    •