Amongst the Ruins of a European Gothic Phantasmagoria in Athens

  • Maria Vara


While Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto (1764) established a taste for terror in crumbling settings that became a real mania at the end of the eighteenth century, Gothic ruins left the page to become the actual setting of the phantasmagoria, a Gothic spectacle of optical illusions staged in a ruinous Capuchin convent in Paris in the late 1790s. Against this backdrop, this essay discusses the ruins of a Capuchin monastery in the heart of Athens, which was destroyed in 1821 during the Greek Revolution, having accommodated, amongst many other visitors, Lord Byron for eight months. The ruined convent of Athens is here reintroduced as the key site of the city’s Gothic phantasmagoria and cultural fusion of spectres from European history, literature and art.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Vara
    • 1
  1. 1.Hellenic Air Force AcademyAtticaGreece

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