Walls of Words

Nicole Lobdell

Nicole Lobdell is a Visiting Assistant Professor of English in 19th-century British literature at DePauw University in Greencastle, IN.



Georgia Tech, English 1102: "Birth of the Gothic Novel" (Spring 2014)

Strawberry Hill House, Horace Walpole's Gothic Castle (after 2012-2014 restoration)

This course examines the birth of the Gothic literary tradition beginning with Horace Walpole’s 1764 The Castle of Otranto. We discuss the political and cultural factors, including the French Revolution and the Atlantic slave trade, which encouraged the rise of literature with Gothic settings and features (such as medieval settings, ghosts, and demons) and Gothic themes and subject matter (murder, rape, and incest). In addition to Walpole’s 1764 novel, we will also read the Matthew “The Monk” Lewis’s sensational novel The Monk (1796), Edgar Allan Poe’s only novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (1838), and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818). Artifacts may include a traditional college essay, a book cover design project (student examples below), a dramatization of a scene from one of the novels, research into the historical, political, and cultural factors, and a podcast.

Frontispiece for The Skeleton; or, Mysterious Discovery. A Gothic Romance by Isaac Crookenden.

Click through the gallery below to view examples of the book covers students designed for Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto and Edgar Allan Poe's The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. (All designs and images are copyrighted. Please do not reproduce, copy, or edit without written permission from the designer.)

Texts for this course may include:

The Monk (Broadview Literary Texts)
By Matthew Gregory Lewis
Young Frankenstein
Starring Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman
Frankenstein (Universal Studios Classic Monster Collection)
Starring Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, John Boles, Mae Clarke, Edward Van Sloan