Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Long Live The Gothic Novel.

Shades of horror, the paranormal, unnatural deeds done in the dark, magic and mystery are embodied in that one word: Gothic. All that is uncivilised, unnatural, macabre, grotesque and even eccentric belong in the world of the gothic novel.

Some of the most well-known classics belong to this genre.

Think Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights - untamed Cathy and wild Heathcliffe rushing headlong into a doomed relationship among the misty moors of Yorkshire. Or, Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre with the eccentric Mr Rochester and a gloomy house hiding a strange secret. Every page is heavy with suspense and sexual tension, capturing readers' emotions as no other books of the time did.
And people loved it.
Couldn't get enough of it.

But the Bronte's did not create the gothic genre. Two-hundred years earlier, Horace Walpole wrote The Castle of Otranto (1765), which became an instant sensation. By the close of the eighteenth century, two more gothic novels were written - The Mysteries of Udolpho and The Monk. So sensational were they, that even Jane Austen succumbed to the trend. But her novel, Northanger Abbey, parodied the genre rather than emulated it.

Over the next century, more gothic novels were published: Frankenstein (1818); and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831), set among the soaring arches of a gothic cathedral, the sad and misshapen figure of Quasimodo swinging from the gargoyles to stare at the inhabitants of Paris below him.
In 1847, Varney the Vampire: or The Feast of Blood was published, which predated the epitome of all gothic novels - Bram Stoker's Dracula, in 1898.

These books were the best sellers of their day, and still are.

My own books, the Dantonville Legacy series, embody those characteristics of the gothic - the mystery of a cursed family waiting two-thousand years to be redeemed.
Love live the gothic novel!



Joe Bonadonna said...

Great article! I started out reading many Gothic novels, as a lot of them were required reading in school. And so many of the classic novels in this genre were made into the movies I loved as a child, and still do.

Mary Anne Yarde said...

Great post! A nice reminder of the 'classic' Gothic novels. Although I must admit I was never a fan of Wuthering Heights! I think school might have had something to do with that!!

Firetulip said...

Love Gothic novels. Will most definitively check out yours.

Linda Boulanger said...

I have to admit that I wasn't a huge fan of either Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre when I read them many years ago. I enjoyed this post, however, and it has made me think perhaps it is time to go back and give them another chance.

Mackenzie Flohr said...

I remember reading Wuthering Heights for Honors English and really enjoying the novel, but at the same time, really struggled with all the different Catherine's. I never did read Jane Eyre, but it's still my mother's favorite book.

Your books sound really interesting, too.

Tima Maria said...

Thanks Joe 😊 I was 11 years old when I first read Jane Eyre. It was a gift from my best friend at the time. That started my love with the gothic romance genre.

Tima Maria said...

I reckon high school wrecked many students' reading for pleasure, Mary Anne, which is a pity. Plus I have to admit that Heathcliff and Cathy never were my favourite fictional couple. It was the eerie nature of the story that always grabbed me.

Tima Maria said...

Thanks Firetulip 😊

Tima Maria said...

Yes, give them another go Linda. You may be surprised. It's so different reading an old classic from an adult perspective, than from your memory of it as a student.

Tima Maria said...

Mackenzie, I've read my copy of Jane Eyre so often, it's falling apart, lol 😊