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European History: 1600s-1800s
Gothic Literature



Gothic Literature
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.57

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    alchemy, gothic, victorious, format, re-named, presented, literature, well-known, sickly, novels, theatre, fiction, writing, series, mariner, bleak
     content words:    Boris Karloff, Mary Shelley, Lake Geneva, Arctic Circle, Robert Walton, Bram Stoker, Count Dracula, Jonathan Harker, Lucy Westenra, Van Helsing


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Gothic Literature
By Sharon Fabian
  

1     Caption: Screenshot of Boris Karloff from the film Bride of Frankenstein. 1935.
 
2     Gothic literature - it has fascinated readers ever since it first appeared. Even today, it continues to find a large audience. Gothic stories show a dark side of human nature, yet people love to read them. Maybe that is because, at the end of the scary tale, good is victorious over evil.
 
3     One early gothic writer was Mary Shelley. It is said that Mary got the idea for her famous gothic novel while visiting Lake Geneva in Switzerland with her husband and a group of friends who were all writers. One evening they decided to have a contest to see who could write the best ghost story. Several of the friends presented their stories, but Mary couldn't come up with an idea to begin hers. She decided to sleep on it. Later that night in a dream, she saw a terrifying scene. She pictured a scientist with a disfigured creature. The scientist had done an evil deed - he had created this creature from body parts of people long deceased. The horrible scene frightened Mary, and she decided to describe it in her ghost story so that it could scare her readers just as it had scared her.
 
4     Beginning with "It was on a dreary night of November..." she told the tale of her mad scientist, Frankenstein, and the monster he created.

Paragraphs 5 to 13:
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