The Marquis de Sade used a subgothic framework for some of his fiction, notably The Misfortunes of Virtue and Eugenie de Franval, though the Marquis himself never thought of his like this.Sade critiqued the genre in the preface of his Reflections on the novel (1800) stating that the Gothic is "the inevitable product of the revolutionary shock with which the whole of Europe resounded".Gothic fiction, which is largely known by the subgenre of Gothic horror, is a genre or mode of literature and film that combines fiction and horror, death, and at times romance or happiness.Its origin is attributed to English author Horace Walpole, with his 1764 novel The Castle of Otranto, subtitled (in its second edition) "A Gothic Story".
In this book, the hapless protagonists are ensnared in a web of deceit by a malignant monk called Schedoni and eventually dragged before the tribunals of the Inquisition in Rome, leading one contemporary to remark that if Radcliffe wished to transcend the horror of these scenes, she would have to visit hell itself.
The reviewers' rejection reflected a larger cultural bias: the romance was usually held in contempt by the educated as a tawdry and debased kind of writing; the genre had gained some respectability only through the works of Samuel Richardson and Henry Fielding.
A romance with superstitious elements, and moreover void of didactical intention, was considered a setback and not acceptable.
Radcliffe also inspired the emerging idea of “gothic feminism”, which she expressed through the ideology of ‘female power through pretended and staged weakness’.
The establishment of this idea began the movement of the female gothic to be “challenging… Romantic literary movements developed in continental Europe concurrent with the development of the Gothic novel.