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LELE, extract from Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen

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The first document I have chosen is an excerpt from the novel Northanger Abbey by Jane AUSTEN. Jane AUSTEN was a woman writer of the English little gentry in the 18th century. She is the author of well-known novels like Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, and, of course, Northanger Abbey published post-mortem in 1818. In this passage, Catherine (the main character) is staying in Northanger Abbey. During the night, she can not sleep because she is afraid by what happens during the night. The extract contains elements characteristic of the Gothic novel : The setting : the story takes place in a abbey (it is typical place of the 18th century Gothic novels). There is no light, the room is dark. Outside it is the night and a storm rage with a lot of wind. The noises : besides the noise of the storm, there are frightening noises inside the house like receding footsteps. And the heroine's feelings : Catherine is scared about the weird events, we notice that because she can not move, she trembles a lot, she has cold sweats. But Northanger Abbey is fundamentally a parody of Gothic fiction, very popular in her time. Catherine, her heroine, has read too many Gothic novels and interprets the world around her as if she were a character of this kind of novel. It is an ironic reference because the Gothic genre is very much a literature for women because the heroines were women (like Catherine) because there were more and more women readers, and the novels were written by women who needed little knowledge of society to write such books.

The second document is an extract of the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. The author was an english woman writer of the 19th century. She is best known for her literary work : Frankenstein. The story is about a creature produced by a student in natural philosophy. We can also link this document with the world of the imaginary because, first, the storyline emerged from a dream, the Mary Shelley's imagination. It staged a monster : the result of a strange and innovative experience. It is a fictional character : this kind of creature does not exist in real life. The novel is considered like the first science fiction story of the time because it possesses fantastic and supernatural elements but also includes a much more modern element : science. Elements also make it a Gothic character : its appearance is described as horrible: so much so that its creator frightened by what he created flees and abandons it. The monster is a lonely character who commits cruel acts by revenge: it kills the close relatives of its creator whom it hates. Here, in this excerpt, it is the murder of Frankenstein's wife by the monster on the wedding day : it is a terrible scene of crime. The setting is still typically Gothic: it is at night, a rainstorm breaks out, the characters are very frightened, the vocabulary of fear is very present, we hear cries ..

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