Perhaps the best way of understanding the late eighteenth century’;s interpretation of, and infatuation with, the Gothic, is as a fascination with the hidden or obscure. The mystery of that which is just beyond view, either at the political or psychological level, draws the curious individual from their safe, stable existence, into a riskier world of fantasy, desire and fear, wagering that a return will be possible once the light of knowledge has been shone into the darkness. Such was the hunger of the reading public for Gothic culture’;s ability to articulate this kind of investigation, that most magazine issues were likely, by the end of the eighteenth century, to carry an example of the Gothic tale. This section presents extracts from a number of Gothic fragments, tales and longer works of fiction, that proliferated in the popular and literary press, demonstrating the attraction of Gothic writers and readers to experience usually hidden from view.
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