D&D's Origins in Gothic Fiction - Page 4




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  1. #31
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hobo View Post
    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 started reading Vathek, and it's not a bad Shakespeare pastiche, like Otranto; it's a good Arabian Nights pastiche. It's certainly not Tolkien-esque fantasy, and it's not swords & sorcery, either, but it is proto-fantasy, with a sorcerer's tower, magical monsters, a dangerous quest, etc.

 

  • #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobo View Post
    Ugly folks need love too?

    Actually, although whatever you get out of a novel is what you get, and can hardly be gainsaid, in general, I'll point out that the majority of literary criticism, and the background in which Mary Shelley concieved the novel in the first place would argue quite strongly that not tampering with God's domain is in fact one of the main themes of the novel.
    IMO, the lesson is "You are responsible for what you create". The novel's subtitle is "A Modern Prometheus". Since Prometheus stole fire from the heavens and was punished by Zeus, this leads to the "don't tamper in God's domain" idea. But (and more to the point IMO) in Greek mythology Prometheus created man, just as Frankenstein created (a) man. Prometheus stole fire from Olympus for the benefit of his creation, even though (his name meaning "forethought") he likely knew what would happen to him as a result. Prometheus was a responsible creator. Frankenstein, not so much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mmadsen View Post
    Certainly a scene-by-scene adaptation of an epistolary novel won't work on the stage or screen, but the classic movie versions have missed many of the novel's best visuals: Dracula's bushy mustache, his climbing down the wall head first, Van Helsing's terriers coming to the rescue, Harker's khukri,etc.


    The monster of the novel is really nothing like the film version. It's agile, articulate, etc.
    Agreed on both counts. Better movies could be made of either of these novels.

  • #34
    Quote Originally Posted by mmadsen View Post
    I started reading Vathek, and it's not a bad Shakespeare pastiche, like Otranto; it's a good Arabian Nights pastiche. It's certainly not Tolkien-esque fantasy, and it's not swords & sorcery, either, but it is proto-fantasy, with a sorcerer's tower, magical monsters, a dangerous quest, etc.
    Vathek even ends in an enormous underground palace. Of course, this enormous underground palace is -- spoiler alert -- basically hell, and he isn't there to battle his way through, paladin-style.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mmadsen View Post
    Vathek even ends in an enormous underground palace. Of course, this enormous underground palace is -- spoiler alert -- basically hell, and he isn't there to battle his way through, paladin-style.

    I should check that out. Thanks.
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  • #36
    I just got around to reading Washington Irving's delightful "Legend of Sleepy Hollow," which turns out not to be at all gothic -- or horrific.

    One point of interest for gamers is that Irving twice uses the word wight -- to mean fellow, without the slightest hint of death or undeath.
    Last edited by mmadsen; Monday, 22nd October, 2012 at 09:49 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mmadsen View Post
    I just got around to reading Washington Irving's delightful "Legend of Sleepy Hollow," which turns out not to be at all gothic -- or horrific.

    One point of interest for gamers is that Irving twice uses the word wight -- to mean fellow, without the slightest hint of of death or undeath.
    As far as I recall from my brief foray into Old English, "wight" originally just meant "man". Curiously, in Modern Dutch "wicht" is a derogatory word for a girl or shrewish woman.
    What do we say to the God of Death?

  • #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Dioltach View Post
    As far as I recall from my brief foray into Old English, "wight" originally just meant "man".
    Yes, exactly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dioltach View Post
    Curiously, in Modern Dutch "wicht" is a derogatory word for a girl or shrewish woman.
    In modern English, we spell that with a "b".

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  • #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark CMG View Post
    I love the way it means creature, demon, or child:
    wight (n.)
    O.E. wiht "living being, creature," from P.Gmc. *wekhtiz (cf. O.S. wiht "thing, demon," Du. wicht "a little child," O.H.G. wiht "thing, creature, demon," Ger. Wicht "creature, infant," O.N. vettr "thing, creature," Swed. vtte "spirit of the earth, gnome," Goth. waihts "something"). The only apparent cognate outside Gmc. is O.C.S. veti "a thing." Not related to the Isle of Wight, which is from L. Vectis (c.150), originally Celtic, possibly meaning "place of the division."

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