Lit2Go

Horror

Horror is fiction that involves a sinister atmosphere and supernatural characters and settings. It includes stories of witches, vampires, and monsters.

Books

Dracula

by Bram Stoker

Dracula is a horror novel by Bram Stoker, narrated in first person diary entries and letters, telling the story of an encounter with Count Dracula.

Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus

by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus was first published in London, England in 1818. It contains elements of the Gothic novel and the Romantic movement. It was also a warning against the “over-reaching” of modern man and the Industrial Revolution. The story has had an influence across literature and popular culture and spawned a complete genre of horror stories and films. It is often considered the first science fiction novel.

The Vampyre

by John Polidori

The Vampyre is a short novel written by John William Polidori and is a progenitor of the romantic vampire genre of fantasy fiction.

The Vampyre was first published on April 1, 1819, by Colburn in the New Monthly Magazine with the false attribution “A Tale by Lord Byron.” The name of the work’s protagonist, “Lord Ruthven”, added to this assumption, for that name was originally used in Lady Caroline Lamb’s novel Glenarvon, in which a thinly-disguised Byron figure was also named Lord Ruthven. Despite repeated denials by Byron and Polidori, the authorship often went unclarified.

The novel was an immediate popular success, partly because of the Byron attribution and partly because it exploited the gothic horror predilections of the public. Polidori transformed the vampire from a character in folklore into the form we recognize today—an aristocratic fiend who preys among high society.

Passages

Melmoth the Wanderer

Melmoth the Wanderer

by Charles Robert Maturin

The central character, John Melmoth, is a scholar who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for 150 extra years of life and spends that time searching for someone who will take over the pact for him; the novel actually takes place in the present, but this backstory is revealed through several nested stories-within-a-story that work backwards through time (usually through the Gothic trope of old books).

“Chapter 1”

The Picture of Dorian Gray

by Oscar Wilde

The novel opens with Basil and Lord Henry discussing a painting, as well as the subject of the painting, and theories of art. Basil wants to keep things secret from Lord Henry, but finds that he is unable to do so.

“Chapter 19”

The Picture of Dorian Gray

by Oscar Wilde

Dorian and Lord Henry discuss many things, including Dorian’s attempt to be a better person. Lord Henry tells Dorian not to change, and expresses his wish to recapture the youth that Dorian has seemingly managed to keep.