Here is the prompt for your first paper. Check the course information page for the length requirement and due date, and consult the Paper Guidelines page above for other pertinent information such as formatting.
Several of the secondary readings to date offer something like a theory of the gothic. Drawing insight from the articles by Eagleton, Armstrong, and Aiken discuss the ways that The Castle of Otranto assembles (what will become) gothic conventions to produce a fictive atmosphere. What formal elements (character, action, imagery, etc.) does Walpole use to create the novel’s tone? How do those elements and their effects relate to the novel’s social context? What, for that matter, is the socio-historical context of The Castle of Otranto? What is Walpole’s version of gothic and how does it work? Nick Groom’s introduction could be useful in thinking through answers to these questions.