The Gothic as a mimetic challenge in two post-Otranto narratives

Jacek Mydla


This article examines the Gothic project of Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto and two texts which engage the novella, Robert Jephson’s 1781 tragedy The Count of Narbonne and M. R. James’s 1923 ghost story “The Haunted Dolls’ House”, as works which in different ways handle the mimetic potential inherent in this project. A distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic types of mimesis is proposed and then used to address the realistic claims that these works make. The argument is put forward that the two post-Otranto texts are attempts to add a dimension of realism – that is to say, relevance – to Walpole’s medieval fantasy.


Gothic fiction; Gothic drama; ghost story; mimesis; mimetic content; intrinsic mimesis; extrinsic mimesis

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Online Magazine of the Visual Narrative - ISSN 1780-678X