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The Gothic Novel

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The Gothic Novel

Post by chuck » Fri September 19th, 2008, 5:50 pm

I hope this genre has not been discussed in a previous thread.....I have always wondered what makes a good Gothic Novel.... You as lovers of HF how would you define a Gothic Novel.....I realize their are classic definitions abound..... Please give me/us your suggestions of some novels you have read .....No need to give a review unless you prefer to....

A few favorites.....

Henry James...Turn of the Screw

Edgar Allan Poe....The Telltale Heart

Bram Stoker....Dracula


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Post by Volgadon » Fri September 19th, 2008, 6:03 pm

Anything by Monk Lewis. Oh, and parts of the 3 Musketeers.

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Post by Vanessa » Fri September 19th, 2008, 6:08 pm

Dracula - Bram Stoker
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier
My Cousin Rachel - Daphne du Maurier
The Woman in Black - Susan Hill
The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield
The Ghost Writer - John Harwood

Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart wrote good gothic style books, too.
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Post by annis » Fri September 19th, 2008, 6:42 pm

This is a cool idea, Chuck!

Technically the Gothic period in literature started with Horace Walpole's 1764 novel "the Castle of Otranto', peaked with Ann Radcliffe's late C18th and Regency mysteries and was finished by about 1840. I once got told off by someone when I described "Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights" as a gothic novel, because it's apparently outside the strict literary period, but as far as I'm concerned it was certainly heir to the gothic tradition which was also an inspiration to the Romantics of the later Victorian era.

i quite like this piece which describes elements which make a gothic novel
If not strictly within the Gothic period, many novels since have certainly used gothic elements and fit into that genre, so I don't see why we can't call them gothic novels!

Some of my favorites:
"Wuthering Heights" Emily Bronte
"Rebecca" Daphne du Maurier
"The Fall of the House of Ussher" by Edgar Allan Poe
"The Wolves of Willoughby Chase" by Joan Aiken (YA)
"The Woman in White" Wilkie Collins
"Frankenstein", Mary Bysshe Shelly
"The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" Robert Louis Stevenson
"The Picture of Dorian Gray" Oscar Wilde

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Post by Ludmilla » Fri September 19th, 2008, 7:53 pm

The Literary Gothic is a great website for all things Gothic (you'll find it by googling; I'm too lazy to link). It's got the article that Annis posted, which really covers the bases. Some others I've enjoyed (I'm mixing true Gothics with some of those more recent modern ones that were inspired by):

"Seven Gothic Tales", Isak Dinesen
"The House of Seven Gables", Nathaniel Hawthorne
"Carmilla", JS LeFanu
"Affinity", Sarah Waters
"We Have Always Live in the Castle", Shirley Jackson
"The Historian", Elizabeth Kostova
"The Master of Ballantrae" RL Stevenson (some might think it's just adventure, but there are some gothic elements in this one, too)
One of my favorite short stories is "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

I know I've read a lot more than this, but these are some that spring to mind.

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Post by diamondlil » Fri September 19th, 2008, 8:46 pm

A more recent novel with some gothic elements is The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.
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Post by annis » Fri September 19th, 2008, 9:41 pm

I forgot to add Jane Austen's "Northanger Abbey", though strictly speaking that's a satirical gothic novel. Of course the gothic novel does lend itself to satire and parody quite nicely.

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Post by chuck » Fri September 19th, 2008, 10:13 pm

Thanks to all for the interesting list of books and links....For me a little bit of Gothic in HF is a good thing....many new additions to TBR pile......"The unknown evil that lurks behind the door".......

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Post by xiaotien » Fri September 19th, 2008, 10:55 pm

i recently read iris murdoch's
the unicorn, and it was referred
to as a gothic novel as well.

not sure how authentic it is
to the genre, as it was written
in the 60's. i do think the feel of
the novel was gothic?
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Post by annis » Fri September 19th, 2008, 11:22 pm

I'd say that the "Unicorn" fits into the gothic genre, xiaotien. You have the beautiful heroine trapped in the castle with its derelict garden, set in the dramatic, isolated west coast Irish landscape, and all sorts of elemental undertones of jealousy and rage.

What I think is that sure, there is a distinct Gothic literary period, but that there is also a gothic genre which uses certain motifs central to the original Gothic novels, and this applies to novels being written currently as well as to older books.

I guess the most recent gothic novel I read was "Kept", by D.J. Taylor.

I'm wondering about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes novels as well - surely something like "Hound of the Baskervilles" qualifies as gothic?

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