Different kind of novels in the Romantic period
In the Romantic period the mainly literary genre was poetry but we also have a prose production, mainly novels. There are three types of novels:
• The first is the gothic novel that takes its origins from what was the idea of sublime. Usually is set in ancient times and in isolated places, for example castles or ruins. Terror is a fundamental element in gothic novel and it is the predecessor of horror. Another fundamental element is darkness. Furthermore the characters described are exaggerated, they communicate their feelings in an exaggerate way and there is usually an heroine, a young woman, who is always threatened by a villain and she always run away from this villain. There is also a hero that attempts to defend the heroine. This hero is a sensitive man. Another important characteristic is the presence of ghosts, monsters, supernatural beings, vampires. The most important gothic novels are “The castle of Otranto”, “The monk”, “Frankenstein” that is developed in an epistolary style;
• Another type of novel is the historical novel. The most important author is Walter Scott and one of the most important work written by Scott is “Ivanhoe”. The contest in which the stories are set always has historical bases. Some characters are invented and other are really existed. There is always a very detailed description of the time, society, places: this gave the idea of a true story. The narrator is always in the third person, he is out of the story that is usually told in chronological order but with frequent flashbacks. The narrator wants to compare the past and the present and show how many things they have in common (not much has changed);
• The last kind of novel is the novel of manners that is the development of the so called bourgeois novel because the themes are more or less the same. The most important author is Jane Austen. These novels are set in the upper middle class. There is a distinction between upper middle class and middle class. All the protagonists are really influenced by the rules and manners of the society of that time and all the events are described as occasion for meeting. The main themes in this type of novel are marriage and love (Jane Austen talks about marriage market). Love is always described as complicated. Also friendship is another important theme. Dialogue is very important. Feelings and emotions that are felt by the characters are not directly expressed because in the society described passion and emotions are not considered topics of conversation and often irony is employed.