The manipulation of local time, or clock time, constitutes a vital aspect of gothic storytelling, as seen in Horace Walpole’s Castle of Otranto, Matthew Lewis’s Monk, and Ann Radcliffe’s novels. Several concepts emerge: the importance of the hour as a temporal unit, the meticulous marking of events in reference to their time of occurrence, and the personification of individual hours. Such effects promote a secular mysticism: gothic novels translate and reinvent an older liturgical reverence for the hour. Gothic time is, moreover, remade by Charles Brockden Brown and Jane Austen, whose Northanger Abbey formulates one aspect of novelistic realism precisely through the avoidance of gothic temporality.
Skip Nav Destination
Jesse Molesworth; Gothic Time, Sacred Time. Modern Language Quarterly 1 March 2014; 75 (1): 29–55. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00267929-2377730
Download citation file: