View Full Version : Anyone For the Gothic Novel?

September 17th, 2006, 10:29 PM
Hey gang. Wow this board's empty! :(

Anyone here still love the old gothic classics? Frankenstein, Dracula, I'm a sucker for Wuthering Heights-who isn't? ;)

How do you define the gothic novel? Romance? Horror? What in the heck does it have to do with gothic architecture?!


September 18th, 2006, 02:50 PM
Well that is because it is a brand new board! I just created it last Friday. So give it time!

You know...that is a good question...how would you describe Gothic..that is a kind of a hard question.:confused:

Sapphire Phelan
September 19th, 2006, 09:40 AM
From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goth

The gothic novel of the late eighteenth century, a genre founded by Horace Walpole with the 1764 publication of The Castle of Otranto, was responsible for the more modern connotations of the term gothic. Henceforth, the term was associated with a mood of horror, morbidity, darkness and the supernatural. The gothic novel established much of the iconography of later horror literature and cinema, such as graveyards, ruined castles or churches, ghosts, vampires, nightmares, cursed families, being buried alive and melodramatic plots. Another notable element was the brooding figure of the gothic villain, which developed into the Byronic hero. The most famous gothic villain is the vampire, Dracula, originally depicted in a novel by Bram Stoker, then made more famous through the medium of horror movies.

The powerful imagery of horror movies began in German expressionist cinema in the twenties then passed onto the Universal Studios films of the thirties, then to camp horror B films such as Plan 9 From Outer Space and then to Hammer Horror films. By the 1960s, TV series, such as The Addams Family and The Munsters, used these stereotypes for camp comedy.

Certain elements in the dark, atmospheric music and dress of the post punk scene were clearly gothic in this sense. The use of gothic as an adjective in describing this music and its followers led to the term goth.

20th century influences

Classic horror film actress Theda Bara.The influence of the gothic novel on the goth subculture can be seen in numerous examples of the subculture's poetry and music, though this influence sometimes came second hand, through the popular imagery of horror films and television. The Byronic hero, in particular, was a key precursor to the male goth image, while Dracula's iconic portrayal by Bela Lugosi appealed powerfully to early goths. They were attracted by Lugosi's aura of camp menace, elegance and mystique. Some people even credit the band Bauhaus' first single "Bela Lugosi's Dead", with the start of the goth subculture, though many prior art house movements also influenced gothic fashion and style. A notable early example was Siouxsie Sioux, of the musical group Siouxsie and the Banshees. Some members of Bauhaus were, themselves, fine art students and/or active artists.

The concept of the femme fatale, which appeared in Romantic literature, film noir, as well as in the gothic novel, went on to become a vital image for female goths. In cinema, the femme fatale style adopted by silent movie actress Theda Bara exerted a lasting influence. Bara was nicknamed the vamp, and her first name was an anagram for "death". She established the look for pale predatory women in later films, which ultimately influenced the goth subculture.

Film poster for The Hunger, a key influence in the early days of the goth subculture.Some of the early gothic rock and death rock artists adopted traditional horror movie images, and also drew on horror movie soundtracks for inspiration. Their audiences responded in kind by further adopting appropriate dress and props. Use of standard horror film props like swirling smoke, rubber bats, and cobwebs were used as gothic club décor from the beginning in The Batcave. Such references in their music and image were originally tongue-in-cheek, but as time went on, bands and members of the subculture took the connection more seriously. As a result, morbid, supernatural, and occult themes became a more noticeably serious element in the subculture. The interconnection between horror and goth was highlighted in its early days by The Hunger, a 1983 vampire film, which starred David Bowie, Catherine Deneuve, and Susan Sarandon. The movie featured gothic rock group Bauhaus performing "Bela Lugosi's Dead" in a nightclub. In 1993, Whitby became the location for what became the UK's biggest goth festival as a direct result of being featured in Bram Stoker's Dracula.

Throughout the evolution of the goth subculture, familiarity with gothic literature became significant for many goths. Keats, Poe, Baudelaire and other romantic writers became just as symbolic of the subculture as dressing all in black.

A newer literary influence on the gothic scene was Anne Rice's re-imagining of the idea of the vampire. Rice's characters were depicted as struggling with eternity and loneliness, this with their ambivalent or tragic sexuality had deep attractions for many goth readers, making her works very popular in the eighties through the nineties. Movies based on her books have been filmed in recent years — notably Interview with the Vampire, which starred Brad Pitt, and the more recent Queen of the Damned, in which goths appear directly and indirectly. The first film, in particular, helped further encourage the spread of Victorian style fashions in the subculture (although period inspired clothing has been a recurrent trend in the gothic subculture).

Later media influences

Winona Ryder portrays goth Lydia Deetz in Beetlejuice.As the subculture became well-established the connection between goth and horror fiction became almost a cliché, with goths quite likely to appear as characters in horror novels and film. For example, The Crow drew directly on goth music and style. The movies of Tim Burton are all significant for their presentation of goth or goth-inspired characters, especially Beetlejuice, which features Lydia, a goth teen, Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Sleepy Hollow and Corpse Bride. In turn, such movies drew new people into the gothic scene. Anne Rice's book series "The Vampire Chronicles" and the popular World of Darkness roleplaying games, especially Vampire: The Masquerade, also referred directly to gothic music and culture and encouraged an interest in the scene. Influences from anime as well as cyberpunk fiction such as The Matrix, and Shadowrun have found their way into the goth scene, which helped give rise to a new subculture and a new label, Cyber subculture, or the Industrial/goth offshoot, cybergoth; they also added to the popularity of Industrial music.

Of note is the recent positive portrayal of a recurring goth character on the American television series NCIS. Abby Sciuto played by Pauley Perrette is uniquely goth, but works firmly on the side of the protagonists as a highly skilled forensic scientist.

Gothic ideology
Defining an ideology of the gothic subculture is difficult for several reasons. First is the overwhelming importance of mood for those involved. This is, in part, inspired by romanticism and neoromanticism. The allure for goths of dark, mysterious, and morbid imagery and mood lies in the same tradition. The rise of Romanticism's gothic novel during the 19th century saw feelings of horror being commercially exploited as a form of mass entertainment, a process continued in the modern horror film. Balancing this emphasis on mood, the other central element of the subculture is a conscious sense of camp theatricality or self-dramatization.

September 19th, 2006, 11:16 AM
I am going to make a note to as you all of my questions in the future! What a great and detailed answer! :clap:

November 5th, 2006, 08:30 PM
Awesome, Sapphire! I'm not that into modern goth trends, but its nice to get the history going there!

February 1st, 2007, 04:21 AM
I always thought the gothic romances were more of a ghostly thing. b/c that is what gothic is..worshipping death..and all the gothis romances I have read that is what it was

March 4th, 2007, 03:56 PM
I have to say that I don't think I have read any gothic novels, with exception of Frankenstein in college. Are there any suggestions of good gothic novels? I need to expand my horisons a bit I think.

June 27th, 2007, 12:25 AM
Gothic/horror novels arose in the 19th century when artists were fascinated with ancient (esp. Western European Medieval)times. This included beliefs in evil spirits, devils, mysterious beings, etc. The emphasis was on deep feelings, highly overwrought emotions, spirituality of all kinds

Gothic (Western Eurpoean Medieval)architecture included huge, towering buildings with spires and steeple,i.e. cathedrals, abbeys, etc. These featured many other elements (also intended to stir the emotions) that drew the eyes upward towards God.

This is a very cursory, thus inadequate, explanation, but it will give you some idea I hope.

p.s. Novels were first called "Romances" And the word "Novel" refers to the fact that before the 19th century there just wasn't much written in that style--that it was "new" or novel.
This whole topic is an interesting one.