GRE Subject Test: Literature in English : Identification of British Prose

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Example Question #11 : Identification Of British Prose 1660–1925

Manfred, Prince of Otranto, had one son and one daughter: the latter, a most beautiful virgin, aged eighteen, was called Matilda. Conrad, the son, was three years younger, a homely youth, sickly, and of no promising disposition; yet he was the darling of his father, who never showed any symptoms of affection to Matilda. Manfred had contracted a marriage for his son with the Marquis of Vicenza’s daughter, Isabella; and she had already been delivered by her guardians into the hands of Manfred, that he might celebrate the wedding as soon as Conrad’s infirm state of health would permit.

Manfred’s impatience for this ceremonial was remarked by his family and neighbours. The former, indeed, apprehending the severity of their Prince’s disposition, did not dare to utter their surmises on this precipitation. Hippolita, his wife, an amiable lady, did sometimes venture to represent the danger of marrying their only son so early, considering his great youth, and greater infirmities; but she never received any other answer than reflections on her own sterility, who had given him but one heir. His tenants and subjects were less cautious in their discourses. They attributed this hasty wedding to the Prince’s dread of seeing accomplished an ancient prophecy, which was said to have pronounced that the castle and lordship of Otranto “should pass from the present family, whenever the real owner should be grown too large to inhabit it.” It was difficult to make any sense of this prophecy; and still less easy to conceive what it had to do with the marriage in question.

This novel is considered the first of its kind in what genre?

Possible Answers:

Romantic

Gothic

Mystery

Melodrama

Southern Gothic

Correct answer:

Gothic

Explanation:

Walpole’s novel is generally regarded as the first Gothic novel. This genre is sometimes seen as a subset or extreme variant of Romanticism, and it contains many of the same elements: fanciful plots, a damsel in distress, strong heroes, and overt symbolism; however, the Gothic genre also prominently features mystery, the occult, the macabre or grotesque, preoccupation with death, and a sort of pleasurable terror that is often mimicked in horror movies today.

Adapted from The Castle of Otranto, A Story. Translated by William Marshal, Gent. From the Original Italian of Onuphrio Muralto, Canon of the Church of St. Nicholas at Otranto by Horace Walpole (1764; ed. 1901)

Example Question #11 : Identification Of British Prose 1660–1925

Manfred, Prince of Otranto, had one son and one daughter: the latter, a most beautiful virgin, aged eighteen, was called Matilda. Conrad, the son, was three years younger, a homely youth, sickly, and of no promising disposition; yet he was the darling of his father, who never showed any symptoms of affection to Matilda. Manfred had contracted a marriage for his son with the Marquis of Vicenza’s daughter, Isabella; and she had already been delivered by her guardians into the hands of Manfred, that he might celebrate the wedding as soon as Conrad’s infirm state of health would permit.

Manfred’s impatience for this ceremonial was remarked by his family and neighbours. The former, indeed, apprehending the severity of their Prince’s disposition, did not dare to utter their surmises on this precipitation. Hippolita, his wife, an amiable lady, did sometimes venture to represent the danger of marrying their only son so early, considering his great youth, and greater infirmities; but she never received any other answer than reflections on her own sterility, who had given him but one heir. His tenants and subjects were less cautious in their discourses. They attributed this hasty wedding to the Prince’s dread of seeing accomplished an ancient prophecy, which was said to have pronounced that the castle and lordship of Otranto “should pass from the present family, whenever the real owner should be grown too large to inhabit it.” It was difficult to make any sense of this prophecy; and still less easy to conceive what it had to do with the marriage in question.

Which of the following is not a classic Gothic trope that appears in this novel?

Possible Answers:

A beautiful heroine

Doors opening and closing of their own volition

Unexplained noises

A decaying building

A long voyage

Correct answer:

A long voyage

Explanation:

Long voyages are not a Gothic device. Real Gothic tropes include a lascivious male character, superstitions and curses, caves or subterranean passages, characters with mysterious pasts, prophecies and omens, approaching footsteps, and damsels in distress.

Adapted from The Castle of Otranto, A Story. Translated by William Marshal, Gent. From the Original Italian of Onuphrio Muralto, Canon of the Church of St. Nicholas at Otranto by Horace Walpole (1764; ed. 1901)

Example Question #12 : Identification Of British Prose 1660–1925

Manfred, Prince of Otranto, had one son and one daughter: the latter, a most beautiful virgin, aged eighteen, was called Matilda. Conrad, the son, was three years younger, a homely youth, sickly, and of no promising disposition; yet he was the darling of his father, who never showed any symptoms of affection to Matilda. Manfred had contracted a marriage for his son with the Marquis of Vicenza’s daughter, Isabella; and she had already been delivered by her guardians into the hands of Manfred, that he might celebrate the wedding as soon as Conrad’s infirm state of health would permit.

Manfred’s impatience for this ceremonial was remarked by his family and neighbours. The former, indeed, apprehending the severity of their Prince’s disposition, did not dare to utter their surmises on this precipitation. Hippolita, his wife, an amiable lady, did sometimes venture to represent the danger of marrying their only son so early, considering his great youth, and greater infirmities; but she never received any other answer than reflections on her own sterility, who had given him but one heir. His tenants and subjects were less cautious in their discourses. They attributed this hasty wedding to the Prince’s dread of seeing accomplished an ancient prophecy, which was said to have pronounced that the castle and lordship of Otranto “should pass from the present family, whenever the real owner should be grown too large to inhabit it.” It was difficult to make any sense of this prophecy; and still less easy to conceive what it had to do with the marriage in question.

Which of the following authors did not later write a work in the same genre?

Possible Answers:

Mary Shelley

Edgar Allan Poe

Ann Radcliffe

Charles Dickens

Clara Reeve

Correct answer:

Charles Dickens

Explanation:

Reeve, Poe, Shelley, and Radcliffe all published Gothic novels in the nineteenth century. Dickens’ novels, which include Great Expectations, The Pickwick Papers, A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities, and David Copperfield, did not write Gothic literature, but rather Victorian works with elements of realism, social commentary, comedy, melodrama, and eloquent description.

Adapted from The Castle of Otranto, A Story. Translated by William Marshal, Gent. From the Original Italian of Onuphrio Muralto, Canon of the Church of St. Nicholas at Otranto by Horace Walpole (1764; ed. 1901)

Example Question #181 : Gre Subject Test: Literature In English

Manfred, Prince of Otranto, had one son and one daughter: the latter, a most beautiful virgin, aged eighteen, was called Matilda. Conrad, the son, was three years younger, a homely youth, sickly, and of no promising disposition; yet he was the darling of his father, who never showed any symptoms of affection to Matilda. Manfred had contracted a marriage for his son with the Marquis of Vicenza’s daughter, Isabella; and she had already been delivered by her guardians into the hands of Manfred, that he might celebrate the wedding as soon as Conrad’s infirm state of health would permit.

Manfred’s impatience for this ceremonial was remarked by his family and neighbours. The former, indeed, apprehending the severity of their Prince’s disposition, did not dare to utter their surmises on this precipitation. Hippolita, his wife, an amiable lady, did sometimes venture to represent the danger of marrying their only son so early, considering his great youth, and greater infirmities; but she never received any other answer than reflections on her own sterility, who had given him but one heir. His tenants and subjects were less cautious in their discourses. They attributed this hasty wedding to the Prince’s dread of seeing accomplished an ancient prophecy, which was said to have pronounced that the castle and lordship of Otranto “should pass from the present family, whenever the real owner should be grown too large to inhabit it.” It was difficult to make any sense of this prophecy; and still less easy to conceive what it had to do with the marriage in question.

Which of the following authors did not publish a novel during the late nineteenth-century revival of this same genre?

Possible Answers:

Henry James

Robert Louis Stevenson

Bram Stoker

Rudyard Kipling

Oscar Wilde

Correct answer:

Rudyard Kipling

Explanation:

Stoker’s Dracula, Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde, Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, and James’ The Turn of the Screw are all fin-de-siècle Gothic novels. Although Rudyard Kipling was writing at the same time, his work was concerned with British India and did not contain overtly Gothic elements.

Adapted from The Castle of Otranto, A Story. Translated by William Marshal, Gent. From the Original Italian of Onuphrio Muralto, Canon of the Church of St. Nicholas at Otranto by Horace Walpole (1764; ed. 1901)

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All GRE Subject Test: Literature in English Resources

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