“Infinity Made Imaginable”: The Enduring Allure of Gothic Literature

Posted on September 10, 2018  in  [ Criminal Justice, Government, and Public Administration ]

Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s description of Gothic literature as “Infinity made imaginable” is both an explanation of its appeal and a tribute to its poetic power. Fittingly, the source of this brilliant observation was a colleague of another visionary Romantic poet—Percy Bysshe Shelley—who was married to the author of what is arguably the most famous and influential gothic novel of all time: “Frankenstein” or the “Modern Prometheus.”

Mary Shelley was 19 when her novel was published two hundred years ago. Since then, the novel has been the inspiration for hundreds of movies, plays, stories, musicals, comic books and television shows. Her tale of a brilliant young scientist who vows—after the death of his beloved mother—to find the secret of eternal life resonates with audiences as strongly today as it ever has, if not more so.

In commemoration of the bicentennial of “Frankenstein’s” publication, GCU’s English Faculty is dedicating the newest edition of our Novel Ideas program to a celebration of Gothic Literature. Each discussion will be held in room 1-101 from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on the following Mondays. Hope to see you there!

Sept. 17:  “Frankenstein,” by Mary Shelley. Discussion led by Professor Raftery.

Sept. 24:  “The Turn of the Screw,” by Henry James. Discussion led by Professor Olson.

Oct. 8: Stories by Edgar Allen Poe. Discussion led by Professor Goodman.

Oct. 22: Stories by Arthur Conan Doyle. Discussion led by Professor Helfers.

Oct. 29:  “Dracula,” by Bram Stoker and other vampire tales. Discussion led by Professor Santos.

To learn more about how Grand Canyon University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences prepares students to join the fast-growing field of translation, visit our website or click the Request More Information Button on this page. 


“History Bot.” World History, 26 June 2017.

Brian P. Raftery, MA

Born and raised in New York City, Brian is the first-born son of Irish immigrants and the first Raftery in America or Ireland to graduate from college. His parents were devoutly religious, and they made many sacrifices so that he could have a rigorous and traditional Catholic education. Brian was taught by the sisters of St. Joseph at Blessed Sacrament School, by Franciscan brothers at St. Francis Preparatory High School and by the Vincentian fathers at St. John’s University, from which he graduated cum laude.

Learn more about Brian P. Raftery, MA

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