ConversesGothic Literature

Afegeix-te a LibraryThing per participar.


Aquest tema està marcat com "inactiu"—L'últim missatge és de fa més de 90 dies. Podeu revifar-lo enviant una resposta.

Editat: març 31, 2011, 4:19am

Hi there to the current two other members in this group! Are you reading any of the Gothic right now, or have you purchased any particularly fascinating editions recently? On my end, I picked up a Limited Editions Club copy of The Castle of Otranto, and am re-reading Melmoth the Wanderer and a few Ambrose Bierce shorts. I've also started an analytical paper for extra credit in my Lit class on the short fiction of Bram Stoker, including the, er, interesting, Lair of the White Worm...

març 31, 2011, 8:11am

Can't believe this group didn't exist before - this feels like coming home! Just for starters, I take it everyone now knows about this - http://www.librarything.com/topic/111572. Awaiting my copy with bated breath (or, as a friend says, baited breasts).

març 31, 2011, 11:06am

I read The castle of Otranto recently (in a modest Penguin edition, you'll smirk to hear, o Isis!) and The Lair of the White Worm somewhat longer ago. The latter rather defies one's powers of execration, doesn't it? It is "not a good book" ("bad" being such a pedestrian term) in so many different ways. First time I got an inkling of what people might describe as writing "under influence" (being generally convinced that "influences" render one incapable of signing one's name, let alone stringing words.) Yeah, Stoker. What were ya smokin'?

març 31, 2011, 8:19pm

Booksloth: I'm glad you feel that way! And YES how about that du Maurier business? I'll have to give them a go in the relatively near future...do let us know how you like them....

Lola: Otranto is certainly strange stuff, but like a fellow student once said an a highschool English class of mine "only forty percent of a good book is between its covers." Every discussion I have on Otranto is much more about its status as one of the first novels, period, let alone the first Gothic, or about its amazing condensation of all the stock faculties of the genre as a whole. It's crazy to think that one book can have such an impact, as model, on such a diverse amount of later writing...

As far as LOFTWM goes...DEFINITELY agree. There were cetainly some serious 'influences' going on there. How about that dialogue?! He must have written it in laudanum instead of ink...

abr. 1, 2011, 6:42am

#4 do let us know how you like them.... - just try and stop me!

abr. 4, 2011, 1:23pm

>5 Booksloth: Great! Any curiosity in the older Gothics?

abr. 7, 2011, 8:00pm

Great to find such a group. I'm not reading any gothics currently, but now I know where to come when I need to converse with like-minded readers.

abr. 7, 2011, 8:09pm

abr. 13, 2011, 5:07am

Just stopping in by invite.

Coincidentally also reading The Castle of Otranto in the same LEC version as veilofisis.

Finding it a bit umm... I don't think difficult is the right word. Curious perhaps?

Anyway as part of my '100 books in 2011' challenge I've opted to read 10 gothic books, so recommendations will be kindly received. I'm also not sure what definition of gothic I'm using, as with most labels it seems to change depending on who you;re talking to.

Editat: abr. 14, 2011, 1:07pm

>9 LipstickAndAviators:

I guess I would define Gothic as anything that mingles that 'Romantic' concept (which itself is rather fluidly defined) with aspects of terror/horror, the macabre, or heavy psychological themes. As an American, this includes writers like Nathaniel Hawthorne, who didn't have much to do with perambulating skeletons, as much as it includes Walpole, Radcliffe, Stoker, and the more 'canonical' figures in the genre.

I think assigning a time frame is helpful, if a little difficult, but roughly I'd say the Gothic genre began with Otranto (who found his inspirations in Shakespeare, via Macbeth and Titus Andronicus), developed into an 'entertaining' literature with Radcliffe and her ilk, and first became what we'd recognize as 'Gothic' today, with sadistic monks and cruel foreigners and such, with Lewis, Beckford and Mrs. Dacre; Melmoth the Wanderer signaled both an end to the more romantic Radcliffian conception of the genre, and was the beginning of the sometimes convoluted, 'epic in theme' Gothics that would include Frankenstein (which came two years earlier than Melmoth), The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, and Wuthering Heights (to a degree). The Victorian Gothics dealt with more sinister and exotic themes, like the earliest Gothics, but mingled them with the 'deeper' elements of the early 19th century, which produced what is probably the most widely read body of Gothic literature: Dracula, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Uncle Silas, and the assorted tales and poetry of Poe. In the 20th century, I'd say key figures are Algernon Blackwood, Lovecraft, and, in essence, Daphne du Maurier and even Paul Bowles.

Gothic themes are some of the most constant and evolving in literature, which means when you read the ‘first’ Gothic (Otranto), you have to approach it (and this will sound a bit reaching, given the subject matter!) as you approach, say, The Iliad or Shakespeare: as a text that shaped and defined a genre (as well as literature in general) to such an extent that for the lay reader it is sometimes difficult to keep interested. One keeps thinking, ‘God, how cliché!’ and ‘This is too much,’ but within their context, as the ‘first’ to exploit said ‘clichés,’ these facets of the novel are key in understanding how the Gothic mindset developed over time. The Castle of Otranto is trash (though good trash, of course), and so the fact that it impacted luminaries like Coleridge, Mary Shelley, and Emily Bronte, even if through a long train of other interpretations, makes it a more fascinating read every time you pick it up. I won’t take time (this is longwinded, sorry!) to develop a second conclusion, so I’ll just skim it by saying that in many ways, I consider The Castle of Otranto to be the very first novel, in the modern sense, Gothic or otherwise. That’s a somewhat heavy conclusion, but I feel it’s justified.

Anyway, if you need more titles for your list, Melmoth the Wanderer is a personal favorite, and Wuthering Heights is a classic that needs to be read at least once, so if you haven’t tackled it yet, this could be a good impetus. A Poe collection (say, ten stories) would be good, The Monk, Vathek, Justified Sinner, and the two super popular titles: Dracula and Frankenstein. Lastly, I’d recommend a self-compiled list of, again, say ten stories of Blackwood and Lovecraft: favorites are ‘The Listener,’ ‘The Wendigo,’ and ‘The Kit-Bag’ (Blackwood); and ‘The Haunter of the Dark,’ ‘The Rats in the Walls,’ and ‘Pickman’s Model’ (Lovecraft). With Otranto I think that would put you at eleven books, but ‘one for luck’ is always a good motto, in my book. Extra credit reading would include some American practitioners, aside from Poe, like Hawthorne (The House of the Seven Gables; ‘Young Goodman Brown,’ ‘The Minister’s Black Veil’), Charles Brockden Brown (Wieland), and a few short stories by Paul Bowles (‘The Delicate Prey’ springs to mind, which is one of the most exquisitely disturbing things I’ve ever, ever read). Our Southern Gothic genre, while not ‘Gothic’ in the strictest sense of the word, is exemplified by people like Tennessee Williams (the film version of his play Suddenly, Last Summer is my all-time favorite movie, and QUITE Gothic).

Sorry for the extended soliloquy, but I’m passionate about the subject. :D

abr. 13, 2011, 11:32am

>10 veilofisis:

Thanks for the lenghty reply :P

I actually have a lot of those titles in my 'queue' so to speak.

Frankenstein, The Monk, Uncle Silas, Wuthering Heights (though I have read it before when I was younger, I'm from Yorkshire I could barely avoid Brontes back there), a Lovecraft anthology and some Du Maurier also.

I did order a Poe collection (Easton press one) but it apparently got lost in the post. I do have another but it's illustrated and rather too large and unwieldy to read anywhere but at a desk.

The House of the Seven Gables has been on my 'to buy' list for a while. I keep trying and failing to get the Easton Press version. I mostly have his books for kids (and of course the scarlet letter).

If I'm honest I know nothing at all of Blackwood, Melmoth or Justified Sinner.

I wasn't sure whether using Nightmare Abbey would be cheating...

abr. 13, 2011, 11:45am

Library of America puts out a mervelous 'collected novels' of Hawthorne, but if you already have The Scarlet Letter, you may want to just try for the EP volume of Seven Gables.

Library of America's Poe collection, incidentally, CANNOT BE BEAT. Every story, poem, and even a few weird obscurities are included.

Blackwood is my favorite author. I reviewed Best Ghost Stories of Algernon Blackwood somewhere on here, and it's the best intro to his work (and cheap). And it has nothing to do with ghosts.

Melmoth is lengthy and bizzarely narrated (literally, at one point, becoming a story within a story within a story within a story within a story, I kid you not) but is fabulous. Hogg's Justified Sinner is one of the weirdest things I've ever read, and wonderful. Add Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to my list, by the by. I read it the day before yesterday and was spellbound.

Nightmare Abbey is cheating!! :D So is Northanger Abbey!

Editat: abr. 13, 2011, 11:59am

I've read Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde a few times and it's quite short so i figure that's cheatign a bit too (no one mention the length of Otranto). It is fantastic though, Stevenson is one of my favourites ever since reading Treasure Island for school.

I'm kick myself now that i didn't get a cheap copy of Melmoth the Wanderer when I saw it once. Might be oen I'll pick up later.

I'll look up Blackwood and your review too :)

With Northanger Abbey you've given me the good idea of using Austen's The History of England as a bit of a cheat for my 10 non fiction books...

abr. 13, 2011, 12:12pm

I'm going to post some pics of my Folio Melmoth on the Older Folios thread sometime today, hopefully. You can see if it whets your appetite! I do, however, recommend the Penguin version for its copious notes. The book is full, I mean FULLLLL, of so many obscure allusions that the notes come in really handy even the second or third time you read the book. They also help you remain aware of who's narrating, because, as I said, it's the most complicated narrative I've ever read. I think a copy of the Penguin is like ten bucks, too (this is American, of course), which is well worth the price of admission into that seething cesspool of weirdness...

I'm glad you're a fellow Hyde fan! I often have to dismantle people's preconceived notions of what it is, like Fankenstein and Dracula, and once you do...boy, what a read. What an author! Where I live in California there's a place called Stevenson House, where he lived for a few years, and they house a museum there now of Stevenson-iana (or whatever you'd deem it) that's really very interesting. I'll have to pop in and see if there's anything Hyde related. It usually doesn't make the tourist trek, which is reserved for Cannery Row and Steinbeck stuff in this neck of the woods. If you're ever in central California (which may be a big if) check it out sometime.

abr. 13, 2011, 12:16pm

Regarding Poe, in college I did a paper on The Fall of the House of Usher, the thesis of which was that the house was the protagonist. The paper was very well received, and I was told mine was a unique approach to a classic. I had a very large head for several days. :-)

abr. 13, 2011, 12:22pm

>15 millhold:

If you still have it around, care to share? I love reading other people's approaches to such a well-known work, especially if they're unique! Welcome to our discussion, by the by!

abr. 13, 2011, 12:34pm

I've nothing of importance to add, really, just that I'm pleased find this group.

I've either read or been long meaning to read almost all the books mentioned so far (I'm afraid I'd never heard of Charles Brockden Brown or Paul Bowles - but I have now), so I suppose I've been a fan of the Gothic all along and it's really time I 'came out'.

Um ... as long as I don't have to buy lots of black clothes and wear makeup?

abr. 13, 2011, 12:39pm

>17 alaudacorax:

No black clothes or makeup required, thank God. Siouxsie and the Banshees fans are much approved of, though.

We (I'm using the 'royal we,' because I'm not sure if fellow posters agree) prefer our Gothic Lit fans to not to be 'goths.' That sub-culture wouldn't know The Mysteries of Udolpho from Cyrano de Bergerac.


abr. 13, 2011, 12:55pm

>17 alaudacorax: >18 veilofisis:

I doubt most of the types of people currently called 'goths' will even have heard of Siouxsie, the Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus or any of the gothic bands. Some great gothic music to dip into when in a certain mood.

Despite my username I don't wear the make up and lace either. Though I have zebra print leggings and other 80s artefacts that come out now and again... Oh dear, I fear i'm sailing off topic.

I don't think I'd mind if any of my fellow literature fans WERE goths though really. As long as they don't actually think they are vampires.

abr. 13, 2011, 1:29pm

'I don't think I'd mind if any of my fellow literature fans WERE goths though really. As long as they don't actually think they are vampires.'


And OH Bauhaus! I've had the song 'Crowds' stuck in my head all day! I'm a Bowie fan at heart, though, more than anything else. Sigh. Off-topic, yes! But important to note? Always.

abr. 13, 2011, 1:40pm

The last line in #17 was mostly facetious; but I also had in the back of my mind that I've had a long-time intention to go up and take a look at Whitby but have been a little put off by reading somewhere that the place is always crawling with goths - in the tourist season, anyway.

Now, that's probably irrationally 'gothist' and 'youthist' (I'm suitably ashamed) especially because, if I'd given any thought to the matter, I'd have probably imagined all these darkly-clad young people sitting round and reading Maturin or Poe of an evening - and then, of course, they'd have been fellow readers - brothers and sisters, as it were. Of course, whether that's being rational ... or charitable ... or naive ...

abr. 13, 2011, 2:13pm

>21 alaudacorax:

Ah, you make so many good points! :D

Unfortunately, and this a statement based on gothist attitudes so please be prepared, I think they've swapped Maturin for Rice and Poe for Lady Twilight (I won't dignify that with a touchstone, incidentally). Pompous conclusions? Sure. Do I care? Not a bit. Vive la resistance, or whatever.

If anyone wants to have a slowjam to 'Slowdive' anytime soon, as well as a Poe party, join me in sunny CA anytime...

abr. 13, 2011, 2:34pm

I fear I can't really complain about Twilight and it'silk until I attempt to read them. Which will be never.

So feel safe from my criticism miss Meyer and co. To be fair that sorta 'literature' is surely the mainstream gothic of our time, like it or no. Though whether in 200 years people will be reading them historically as we read Otranto etc only time will tell.

I struggle to think of much literature of the 21st Century I feel will be still read in 200 years, I think it's just because there is far too much choice and far too many writers now.

*off topic alarm*

What was this thread again?

abr. 13, 2011, 2:51pm

Well, maybe my eldest neice is simply out of the ordinary, but she (at one time) was extremely goth (clothes, makeup, hair, etc.) for several years, and her favorite author was Poe. He is still her favorite author, although she now has a little color in her life--she no longer feels goth is a way of life, it's more of a choice on any given day.

I've been reading Poe since I was twelve years old . . . I'll be sixty in August.

abr. 13, 2011, 3:45pm

>24 millhold:

Poe was the first writer I ever really 'got.' He holds a special place in my heart. I, too, did the goth thing for a while, in junior high school. I'm only twenty-one now, but I'd like to say it was a million years ago...I'd like to say a lot of things, however...

How about your paper?

>23 LipstickAndAviators:

That's an interesting point. I don't think we'll be reading that stuff in 200 years, but this may be, like you said, because there are so many options. It could be argued that Ann Radcliffe was the Meyer of her day, but the difference is, in my opinion, the quality of the writing. Meyer's prose is utilitarian and meant to be read quickly, and visually, and to be easily rendered into other media. Even in Radcliffe's day her own writing was considered a little arcane, at times, and this led to, like any great body of work, mixed opinions of her skill with her craft. I don't doubt Meyer is a good writer, in that she writes thing that people truly love to read; however, it remains to be seen whether or not her writing will leave any lasting impact on the world around her, independent of her niche. Radcliffe and Walpole impacted literature as a whole. Meyer has impacted teen vampire fiction. The niche itself ill probably not survive, and so, by extension, neither will she.

Too in depth? Yeah, probably...

Back on track:

What's your favorite Poe work, millhold?

abr. 13, 2011, 3:55pm


I'll see if I can dig it out, and scan it into a file. I wrote it back in the mid 90s, and it's been packed away since I moved back to Texas in 1999. I've long since lost the disk it was saved to.

My favorite Poe will always be The Tell-Tale Heart. At one time I almost had that one memorized! When my neices were young, and wanted scary stories, I read them Poe. They loved it. That may be where Shannon learned to appreciate him so much. She's 27 now, and he's her go-to author for "comfort" reading.

abr. 13, 2011, 4:10pm

>26 millhold:

Mine will always be 'The Masque of the Red Death.' I once set his poem 'Annabel Lee' to music on my piano, and I was pretty proud of the results. I'm a big fan of 'King Pest,' too.

One of the most bizarre curiosities in literature to me is Poe's dissertation on interior design, 'The Philosophy of Furniture.' It's pretty on it, as far as I'm concerned. I've even taken some cues. And it's deceptively funny, too, and has great things to say about shelves full of books. In fact, Poe was my original enabler...until I discovered LT, of course...

abr. 13, 2011, 4:18pm

For some reason, I was NOT thinking of his poetry! What's up with that? My favorite of his poems is actually Annabel Lee.

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me-
Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

I hope I remembered all of it correctly. I learned it when I was about 15 or 16.

abr. 13, 2011, 4:28pm

Favorite lines (there was a dramatic crescendo in my music version):

'And neither the angels in heaven above,
nor the demons down under the sea,
can ever dissever my soul from the soul
of the beautiful Annabel Lee...'

Glad to have met you, millhold!

Editat: abr. 13, 2011, 4:44pm

Glad to have met you, veilofisis!

P.S. My favorite lines are:

"And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee. . . ."

That idea that you--your soul--can be so at one with another that nothing can separate you, I find facsinating.

abr. 13, 2011, 6:09pm

The Masque of the Red Death was the first Poe I ever read when I was pretty young.I'm not sure I could exactly say I enjoyed it but it had quite the impact on me, and weirdly was part of a few things I read that got me into reading a lot of fantasy type lit when I was younger (not high fantasy like LOTR, more along the *almost sci fi* lines of Harlan Ellison and Michael Moorcock).

I think I've got fairly boring in my reading habits now though and fantasy and sci fi only hold a sort of nostalgic appeal most of the time.

I'm hoping this reading of 10 gothic novels might help me get back on the path of the weird and wonderful rather than the safer classics I've been reading recently (actually I've been reading mostrly the odd combination of Japanese fiction and children's books this year...).

I'm not sure what I'm trying to say here but since the topic of this thread was 'Hello!' and not 'serious goth lit discussion' I'm hoping I can get away with rambling a little?

Unfortunately I've made no headway with Otranto today as I've been to the cinema to see some awful Welsh indie film, but I shall report back on how I found it eventually!

abr. 13, 2011, 6:24pm

Rambling is all I do, LA (hope that works), so feel free to go on and on and on (I know I will).

Yes, please let us know your conclusions on Otranto!

And THEN we will start a 'serious goth lit discussion' thread.

abr. 14, 2011, 6:10am

#31 - (actually I've been reading mostrly the odd combination of Japanese fiction and children's books this year...).

Now, that raises a thought - do the Japanese do Gothic literature? Your comment in this setting instantly brought to mind this woodblock print -


- but I don't really know any background to it.

Editat: abr. 14, 2011, 7:13am

Thats an interesting question actually.

There's something quite with the spirit of 'gothic' right through japanese literature. From the popular contemporary magical surrealism of people like Murakami right back to their ancient myths about foxes, goblins and ghosts.

They did very much latch on to gothic Western architecture too after they opened their doors to the world back in the 19th century. There's plenty of pseudo gothic buildings sat next to the very traditional Japanese types from that period and from what I've read they've also keenly studied western literature since then.

I think the newer authors feel gothic in that they have the whole 'mystery' element going on throughout them too. Like dark detective novels. That's very much how some of the Victorian gothics feel to me. The main difference I've noticed though is that western literature tends to do it's best to resolve all it's mysteries and explained any loose ends before a book finishes, whereas asian literature often tends to leave many, many thread hanging and a lot open to speculation at the end of the book. I think Japanese works generally seem to lack the romanticism that makes for a lot of the feel of our gothic novels too.

They've very much embraced the 'gothic' fashion as mentioned in earlier posts too. The Alice in Wonderland (why is it that Alice has had so much impact on gothic... well gothic everything? I'm fairly sure Carroll didn't attend it to be very gothic) style stripey socks and whole gothic lolita fashion craze demonstrates this, along with a lot of darker anime, manga and films. I think the way the Japanese do gothic fashion is a lot more like something out of literature than the way we do it over here, you could almost see those dresses and parasols fitting right into Jane Eyre or some Victorian ghost story.

I keep forgetting what this thread is about. I should maybe go do some work.

Editat: abr. 14, 2011, 8:46am

There's lots of classic Japanese horror with Gothic touches--haunted buildings, ghosts, spurned lovers taking horrible revenges... The tales in Kwaidan, for example, or the stories by Edogawa Rampo--note that this is a pseudonym, and it is a transliteration of Japanese pronounciation of Edgar Allan Poe!

I think Japanese works generally seem to lack the romanticism that makes for a lot of the feel of our gothic novels too.

Oh, not the older ones! Try Kwaidan (if you can see the movie version by Masaki Kobayashi too, it's wonderful!)

Editat: abr. 14, 2011, 8:44am

>35 LolaWalser:

I think I was mostly thinking 20th century when i wrote that bit. Far too much of Japanese literature since the wars (goign right back to their war with Russia) focuses so much on identity (national, social and personal) that it seems to often lose any romantic notion.

Their horror tales do definitely tend have the gothic spirit though, just as I said in a rather different way. I guess they even are slightly overblown like or old English gothics in places, but where they are overblown it tends to be in a very colourful way rather than being dark. I'm not sure English literature often manages to be bright/colourful AND scary very often. *waits for the contradictions to this statement*

I'd liek to point out that I'm talking a little out of my depth too, as I'm a relative beginner both to gothic and Asian literature, mostly I've just read the obvious of both (though it saddens me that most people don't even think to read the most 'obvious' stories of other continents and cultures outside of Europe and America - you rarely seen Asian, South American and African novels on the '100 greatest' type lists).

abr. 14, 2011, 8:45am

What the dickens happened to my touchstones? There's gothic weirdness on the site this morning.

Well, I don't know, I find Japanese horror plenty dark. Onibaba? Brrrrrrr...

Editat: abr. 14, 2011, 8:57am

I think it's dark in that it's chilling and scary, just that it had a sort of vibrancy and colour that is quite Japanese. Its one of those things that I'm not particularly sure I can put into words very well...

Another thing (which can help add to their darkness and scariness) is that they don't seem to hold back as much as us. They can get rather graphic and are not afraid to kill off characters and have very unhappy endings. Most Victorian Gothic novels I've read will generally scare you a little but you mostly believe eveything will turn out alright in the end, but with a japanese horror story you may well end with all your protagonists dead and the ghost still at large or something.

I don't know, I guess there are many many differences between Japanese lit and English lit but at the same time clearly come gothic tendencies and influences across both. I guess it's hard to generalise completely within any label.

I should really stop posting while working, I barely make sense at the best of times! Not to mention the amount of typos I'm making :(

Editat: abr. 14, 2011, 9:26am

#38 - Making sense to me. And a lot of food for thought. I've now got yet another branch of literature to explore!

ETA - I should have said thank you to both Lola and L&A for the Japanese titles and authors - thanks, both.

Editat: abr. 14, 2011, 10:04am

Yukio Mishima and Soseki Natsume are too Japanese authors I'm currently trying to read through. Not very gothic but VERY Japanese. I find Mishima himself particularly fascinating as he was brought up in the samurai tradition but in the 20th century, which must've been confusing. Right after completing his self-proclaimed masterpiece The Sea of Fertility quartet he then committed Seppuku during a failed political coup in the 1960s (ritual suicide by disembowellment - the kind of thing practiced by old samurai who had lost a battle or had been captured I think. I just find it fascinating that that culture was still going on as late as that.

Another reason I think they differ is obviously religiously, as many gothic novels have hints of christianity throughout (crucifixes, churches, exorcisms, monks, nuns, old abbeys etc). You mostly get more Buddhist/confuscianist stuff (for instance the Sea of Fertility is much about reincarnation) come through in the Japanese novels, or going back further their 'mountain guardians' and shrine gods.

It's a shame there's no way to ever get through all the branches of literature, no matter how hard you try!

Apologies for a slight hijacking of your thread veilofisis...

abr. 14, 2011, 10:27am

It's a shame there's no way to ever get through all the branches of literature, no matter how hard you try!

Nooooo---NEVER GIVE UP! :)

I don't know what you mean by branches exactly, but ten from 500 is 5000 books--You Can Do It, L&A!

Editat: abr. 14, 2011, 10:42am

I don't know what i mean by branches either. Or by gothic. Or by anything, although Japanese is pretty obvious... actually is it? Is Ishiguro Japanese or British? Argh! Words are flawed but still oh so enjoyable.

I think the problem is sometimes more about awareness than quantity, for all I know I haven't found my favourite branch just because I don't know it's there!

I don't think I'll ever stop reading though, so I'll do the best I can :)

abr. 14, 2011, 1:02pm

>42 LipstickAndAviators:

Never stop, LA! Read what you love whenever you can, whenever you want, and it will continually expose you to other things you'll love and people who can show you still more things to love. Reading as an academic excercise has merits, but it speaks to the power of world literature as a whole that a discussion can fairly seamlesly meander through Gothic, bestselling, Janeite, and Japanese genre fiction in less than twenty posts. So good for you! And the least classifiable things are often actually the most accessible, and turn the most people on to good writing: Nineteen Eighty-Four, Lolita, Dorian Gray, The Turn of the Screw, Frankenstein, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Master and Margarita...the list of popular 'curiosities' goes on...

Slightly back on topic, I picked up a copy of Bram Stoker's short fiction yesterday at a used book shop. Thus far, as with The Lair of the White Worm (which, incidentally, they included), I'm underwhelmed and even a little...weirded out...not by his subject matter, but by his style. I had always heard pretentious literary snobs (whom I then, of course, proceeded to parrot until I actually ever read anything!) say, between their sips of espresso, 'Oh, man, it's such a shame he's only know for Dracula these days, he was so diverse and different and blah blah blah...'

I'm beginning to think the man was a one-hit wonder. I still have six stories of his to read, so he still has a chance, but...so far I'm not impressed by anything but Dracula, which, of course, is marvelous...

abr. 14, 2011, 1:03pm

Aquest missatge ha estat suprimit pel seu autor.

abr. 14, 2011, 1:12pm

>43 veilofisis:

I've always been under the impression that The Lair of The White Worm was supposed to be fairly poor? The fact that it's been out of print several times while I imagine Dracula never has for a second says a lot.

I don't know of any of his shorter works though.

Must dash off home now and hopefully finish Otranto, speak later all :)

abr. 14, 2011, 1:25pm

Lair of the White Worm is...many things, LA. Many, many things, and poor is only one of them. The prominent one, though.

Let us know if you succeed!

(I always forget there's a time lag between the UK and me, because I slept in today and woke up an hour ago at 9:30 AM (I'm usually a 6 AM girl), and I was like....dash off home?...until I realized it's like, what, 6:30 PM over there?)

Ta ta!

abr. 14, 2011, 2:17pm

Since the dual entity that is lipstickandaviators happens to be a transatlantic coupling (at least for the next few months), I'm rather painfully aware of timezones.

It's past 7pm now and I'm home with a nice cup of coffee :) To Otranto!

abr. 14, 2011, 8:29pm

I was in a North/South relaitonship (no, not a gang thing, though this IS California...) until he moved up here, so I feel your distance dilemma!

Enjoy Otranto!

abr. 15, 2011, 9:35am

Apparenly Gaston Leroux died on this date. Which reminds me Phantom of the Opera is probably the worst 'gothic' novel I've ever read. I didn't think I'd ever say this before reading it but I actually prefer the Lloyd Webber adaptation. Though I did read in what may well have been a subpar translation.

Still struggling through Otranto, just 20 or so pages left. That man needs to learn how to punctuate. Even ignoring the missing quotation marks and line breaks (which are possibly a product of the time?) there is a ridiculous overuse of commas and colons and whatnot. I'm not sure this is a book I'll ever reread (though I'll keep the lovely edition) but I'll be quite glad to have read it.

abr. 15, 2011, 10:19am

Please don't everyone scream at me, but I've never liked Phantom of the Opera. Not the printed word, the movies, the plays (and I saw it on Broadway). For me, the story line simply "aspirates."

abr. 15, 2011, 10:41am

>49 LipstickAndAviators:, 50

The punctuation, especially the missing quotation marks, is certainly a product of the time; we have to remember that, to a large extent, Walpole was carving out new territory in the way people told stories. That said, start a thread when you're through and let us know what you think!

As for Phantom, I'm pretty much with you guys. I like the silent Lon Chaney flick, and even the Claude Reins musical from the 40s. But they're far from favorites, and the novel is just too much. The themes would be better explored through another narrative, if you ask me...

abr. 15, 2011, 10:43am

Oh LA my home page just notified me you added the EP Aristophanes (Birds/Frogs)! Let me know how you like the translations...they're really something else...

abr. 15, 2011, 10:46am

Last thing: I started a new thread regarding a mini reading group. I thought I'd post here in case anyone's interested and didn't get a chance to see it!

abr. 15, 2011, 11:01am

I just added a ton of books that have sat on my shelf for a while without being added, I doubt I'll get round to reading the Aristophanes for a while but I'll certainly let you know what i think when I do.

I've seen the book reading group thread and I'd certainly join in, I didn't post as I've not got anythign I can say to contribute at this stage!

abr. 15, 2011, 11:07am

We're going to start with an easy one: 'The Fall of the House of Usher.' Poe. Interested? It's a short one, too; like fifteen pages maybe...

Editat: abr. 24, 2011, 5:44pm

Going back to the OP's 'particularly fascinating editions':

I remember being very fond of H. P. Lovecraft when I was much younger (in spite of what I may have written here - http://www.librarything.com/topic/114773) and so, with this group re-awakening my interest in the genre, I decided to put these two books on my Amazon wishlist - The Necronomicon and Eldritch Tales: A Miscellany of the Macabre. As far as I can work out, they make a 'complete' collection of Lovecraft's fiction.

After spotting them a week or so ago, it has finally dawned on me why the second of the two was looking a bit odd to me. Have a look at the cover. My first thought was to look for an alternative 'complete' Lovecraft; but I'm wondering if I've spotted something that's going to be a valuable collector's item!

ETA - Sorry, the touchstone for Eldritch Tales refuses to be beaten into submission - it's here http://www.librarything.com/work/10955528

Edited again - and now the damn thing's working - ignore the previous edit.

abr. 24, 2011, 5:46pm

Oooooh my! This looks lovely! His essay 'Supernatural Horror in Literature' is something I've always needed hardbound anyway, so now I have an exscuse to buy this! Thanks for sharing!

Incidentally, I think Library of America's Lovecraft is a great volume, though it's missing some of my favorites (like 'The Hound,' which is trashy and profound all at once (my favorite)).

abr. 24, 2011, 5:57pm

Hang on, veilofisis - I don't think either of these two have any of his non-fiction.

abr. 24, 2011, 6:03pm

The second, Eldritch Tales, does according to Amazon, contain that essay and some other nonfiction (I didn't even know he wrote anymore of it, actually, unless they mean some of his correspondence or something).

abr. 24, 2011, 6:11pm

Odd. It's mentioned on amazon.com, but there's no mention on amazon.co.uk nor on the publisher's website.

Did you spot the flaw, by the way? As I said, it took me a week to figure out what was troubling me.

abr. 24, 2011, 6:17pm

No I haven't...do tell!

abr. 24, 2011, 6:18pm


abr. 24, 2011, 6:19pm

How can they have misspelled THAT one? My brain refused to process it for some time...huh, verrry interesting...

abr. 24, 2011, 6:21pm

So now let's both of us buy five copies each and wait for the public to discover, and then suddenly value, this error...and then eBay, here we come...


abr. 24, 2011, 6:55pm

Unfortunately, I've just spotted that it's spelled correctly on the publisher's website. I wonder if the amazons/LT one was an actual print run or just a computer image?

abr. 24, 2011, 7:04pm

Probably the latter, if I know publishers...

juny 25, 2011, 3:50pm

Hullo, Goths, what's shakin' & shiverin'?!

My so-called real life is currently overloaded on horror, I've barely had time to read. But I make my mark, here, so:

xX %GGGGtq mhjgSSS

juny 26, 2011, 2:57pm

I'm going to blushingly assume that last line is starting with a little kiss and a big kiss so that I can assume the rest to be something nice. But just in case it isn't, I'm giving you a wave from a safe distance.

Hi Lola! (waves)

Er ... hope the real-life horror eases back a bit for you.

juny 26, 2011, 3:03pm


Hi Lola!

Shakin: I'm reading Uncle Silas with rankamateur, though I'm not being very good at doing it in a timely fashion (sorry rank!). Shiverin: the usual.

juny 27, 2011, 11:51am


Horrid and nice, rankamateur, always!


I think I read Uncle Silas... but my head's in such a whirl these days I'm unsure about the early parts of my own biography... or the middle ones... come to think of it, WHAT did I do yesterday?!

Oh well. I'll check in the Silas thread.

juny 27, 2011, 6:22pm

Oh crap! Maybe I should start one!

maig 22, 2012, 3:40pm

Here's a link to a WSJ article about the future trend in Gothic. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303513404577353653580360744.html?m...

maig 22, 2012, 5:59pm

"Self-deification" (which is a strong way of describing a sort of mystical individualism and/or self-improvement) has been in the air for a long time, in various guises - some of them apparently contradictory. Gary Lachman tracks this as one strand in his book Turn off your mind, which goes from Madame Blavatsky and Crowley, through the Counter-Culture and New-Ageism to certain gurus getting haircuts and becoming business gurus in the Eighties.

I can't decide whether wedding this trend to the hoary old monsters of Victorian three-deckers and Universal Studios (much as we love them) is naive and simple-minded, or an act of populist genius.

maig 23, 2012, 4:20am

#72, #73 - Um ... am I missing something, there - I can't find the title of the book she's reviewing. However, a short hunt gives Gothicka: Vampire Heroes, Human Gods, and the New Supernatural by Victoria Nelson.

Actually, though I'd agree with the reviewer's criticism of Ms Nelson's conclusions (assuming she is representing them accurately), I'm quite intrigued by the book itself and it's going in the wish lists.

My local W. H. Smith having a 'vampire weekend', a couple of years back, started me wondering what might lie behind the present-day popularity of vampires and I started a thread to discuss it. That led, pretty directly, to my joining this group and 're-discovery' of the Gothic genre and my original question got a bit lost in all that; but it's still there, floating round the back of my mind, and this work seems to address it pretty directly.

maig 23, 2012, 4:31am

#74 - It's just occurred to me the vampire question probably got shoved on my back burner because of an instinctive, extreme reluctance to read the Twilight series, etc.

Now I may not have to: if these books are, as Ms Nelson is quoted as saying, "showing signs of outgrowing the dark supernaturalism it inherited from its eighteenth-century ancestor ...", I'd suggest they're 'showing signs' of not being Gothic any more.

Editat: maig 23, 2012, 3:15pm


I'd argue that, despite their woodenness, their appeal mirrors--to a great extent--the appeal Gothic work held during the earlier days of the movement. That said, when it comes to theme, motif, etc...they are decidedly NOT Gothic...

maig 28, 2012, 3:07pm


Is there really a similarity? Surely the traditional Gothic had a wider appeal than to teenage girls (and those with teenage-girl tastes)? Or do you mean they are similar in achieving mass popularity?

Dracula doesn't even have a sexually desirable monster. The romance in the early Gothic was on the sidelines, secondary to the horror, imo.

maig 28, 2012, 5:01pm

>77 LolaWalser:

Undoubtedly traditional Gothic had a wider appeal than to teenage girls, but I'm pretty sure that it had a particularly strong appeal to them (otherwise, where is the satire in Northanger Abbey's Catherine Morland?)

Reading anthologies of vampire stories (The Penguin Book of Vampire Stories, Children of the Night: Classic Vampire Stories) I was struck that there are two separate elements to the "classic" vampire: the cannibalistic revenant of European folklore on one hand, and the Demon Lover on the other. Not surprisingly, these two elements are in tension in Dracula (in those early scenes with Jonathan Harker, he is an incredibly powerful and compelling personality one moment, at the next Harker is recoiling from his disgusting breath). Of course, now these elements have flung apart into "Twilight" lover boys on one hand, and post- George Romero- style Zombies on the other.

Editat: maig 28, 2012, 5:34pm


Excellent point. But I do wonder about the readership of the early Gothic now. I'd expect middle-class (and up) people of leisure--and didn't those typically police what their children would read?

I've heard (or possibly read here on LT) that Twilight was a hit with girls even younger than teens--now THAT is what I call horror.

maig 28, 2012, 6:16pm

> 79

I'm certainly no expert, but I suspect some parents were more easygoing than others; under the influence of Rousseau, perhaps.

Editat: maig 28, 2012, 6:36pm

my ex-boyfriend liked to call that book the Vampire Book of Penguin Stories (in a silly Monty Python high-pitched voice). It's a great collection though. And I'd hesitate to call the new sparkly vampires gothic.

maig 28, 2012, 6:39pm

Stoker's Dracula is probably the book I've read most in my life. I just love it. I once LISTENED to it (Books On Tape) while traveling between NYC and Albany. I declare without shame that this book THRILLS me.

maig 28, 2012, 6:42pm

The end of Dracula is relentless, I love it for that.

Editat: maig 28, 2012, 10:36pm

>79 LolaWalser:

What about the blue books, chap books, Penny Dreadfuls.. I thought those were aimed at the poorer segment of society.

I have a book called Dracula's guest: A Connoisseurs Collection of Victorian Vampire Stories that ranges from early 'factual' accounts of vampires and goes up to Dracula's Guest. It is a pretty interesting collection. I haven't read any recent vampire fiction. It just doesn't seem like my thing.

maig 28, 2012, 11:48pm

Cheap editions appeared relatively late, by the end of 19th century, IIRC. I doubt that first readers of Mrs. Radcliffe (or Jane Austen) and others counted many poor.

Editat: maig 29, 2012, 5:12am

#85 - I think Northanger Abbey (originally written 1798-99) and Sheridan's The Rivals (1775) both allude to the 'problem' - as the more censorious saw it - of young women getting sensational fiction from the new circulating libraries, making it more difficult to keep track of what they were reading.

These were also making this 'unsuitable' stuff available to 'lower' levels of society.

I may be misremembering this, but I'm sure that in one or the other one of the protagonists is sending her maid to get the stuff; but I'm not sure if this implies that it was from a library that the upper classes wouldn't have patronised.

I couldn't find a decent account online, but the Wikipedia entry on public libraries gives a mention to the 'problem'.

Edited ... Touchstones ... sigh ...

maig 29, 2012, 4:47pm

Just some further thoughts:

The theatrical/cinematic Dracula has almost always been played as a Romantic figure. Max Shreck"s Nosferatu being an exception, but Klaus Kinski's perhaps embodying the dichotomy I mentioned above, better than any other version.

I was remembering that John Carradine's Dracula has scenes in House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula where he "corrupts" a young woman within the confines of the Hays Code. Basically, she's at the piano playing what sounds like Chopin. The Count enters the room... when he leaves it she's playing what sounds like Scriabin!

On the subject of the penetration of Gothic literature into the middle and working classes, as well as the circulating libraries, people who were lucky enough to be literate would often read to people who could not read (i.e. in a workshop, one man would read a newspaper aloud to his workmates).

maig 30, 2012, 12:23am

@ Lola

'Surely the traditional Gothic had a wider appeal than to teenage girls (and those with teenage-girl tastes)? Or do you mean they are similar in achieving mass popularity?'

Haha, yes, of course: the latter!

feb. 21, 2013, 7:29pm

Hello! I am a graduate student studying book publishing at NYU, and for my graduate thesis I am proposing a contemporary YA Gothic Literature imprint. Please take my survey (which is completely anonymous) to help me with my market research! Thank you so much!


feb. 22, 2013, 5:03am


You might want to rethink the wording of your survey. I have just tried to take it but am unable to submit because it insists on answrs to irrelevant questions. For example - it asks whether I would be willing to pay for a app, to which I answered 'no', then the next question asks how much I would be willing to pay; obviously the answer to that is 'nothing' but this isn't an option and yet the survey will not allow me to skip the question. Later, you ask whether I am more active on Facebook or Twitter: my reply to this is 'neither' - again, not an option, and no provision for leaving the question blank.

maig 29, 2013, 5:18pm

This is the introductions thread, I presume.

Compared to all of the other posters, I am a mere dabbler in all that is gothic. I have made literature in all its forms my ardent study and so I have only read The Castle of Otranto, The Mysteries of Udolpho, The Monk, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, The Turn of the Screw, Dracula, The Picture of Dorian Gray and Vathek so far. And some Lovecraft, if that counts.

Gothic imagery has been a constant in my life ever since I was a small girl. I'm glad to have run across this group and hope it will aid me in my literary travels. So... Greetings!

maig 29, 2013, 6:31pm

Lovecraft counts! :)

I'd say you're off to a more than adequate start. Uncle Silas and the incomparable Melmoth the Wanderer added to your list would make a wonderful set of course materials on the Gothic, actually, with some Poe.

So welcome, nymith!


maig 30, 2013, 3:44am

Welcome, nymith. You're doing better than I am - I've still to read The Turn of the Screw, The Picture of Dorian Gray and (I think) The Hunchback of Notre-Dame!

maig 30, 2013, 4:58pm

Welcome from me, too. And please don't feel abashed for not having read everything - I still haven't read any Ann Radcliffe, The Turn of the Screw, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Uncle Silas..the list goes on...

juny 1, 2013, 4:55pm

Thank you all for the warm welcome.

Uncle Silas is one I have had a long interest in but somehow the book has never yet fallen into my hands. I do have Melmoth and will have to take a closer look at it.

Poe... Well, I read Murders in the Rue Morgue. Bit of an half and half experience, starting on a very high note and descending at a precipitous rate. It had the odd effect of making me simultaneously more and less interested in him than I had been before.

juny 1, 2013, 5:41pm

> 95

In an essay somewhere, M. R. James, even while praising it, cautioned that Melmoth the Wanderer is "a long, a cruelly long book".

That "cruelly" was well-chosen, I think. A big part of what makes a Gothic work "Gothic" is the agonies (chiefly but not exclusively psychological) that its characters are put through, for hundreds and hundreds of pages, and an empathetic reader will suffer along with them. The experience is not sadistic or prurient so much as masochistic, I think. It's what I struggle most with in trying to read and enjoy (some) Gothic works (and non-Gothic: much of Charles Dickens and, oh God, Clarissa).

With regard to Poe, I found I had to read quite a few of his works before I got his "voice". There's a rhythm to the prose that I didn't get by reading or listening to just one or two stories in isolation.

juny 1, 2013, 7:04pm

96: Well, I know the sense of "suffering" is what I most keenly felt and took away from The Mysteries of Udolpho - I've noticed that people who criticize the book all did so from a basic inability to sympathize with Emily while the people who loved it (like me) could gain a strong sense of what she was going through, the unenviable situation she landed in. And I did love the book, in spite of myriad problems (mostly saved, like The Rue Morgue again, for the final quarter of the story). I recently acquired The Italian and am keen to see if Radcliffe improved on Udolpho with it - I'm really hoping that's the case.

juny 2, 2013, 8:47am

I think I got seduced by The Mysteries of Udolpho.

I read it once; it was hard work in places and took me months, and I really wasn't sure about it. Because it had taken me so long, I felt that I didn't have it all in focus. So I read it again, immediately (it only took me weeks that time!), and rather felt it growing on me.

I still haven't got my thoughts in order on it, but now I find I'm really looking forward to tackling it again.

On Poe: I do urge you to persevere with him. Some of his short stories are such absolute polished gems of tales.

Editat: set. 11, 2018, 2:10pm

>96 housefulofpaper: So glad I read this. It explains a lot about why I love these novels and why I could never desert one. No matter how long it took, or however many rereads or false starts may be in my future, I could not bear the betrayal of abandoning the author or his/her creations. Self-inflicted literary agony ? I'm in !

Also, you've mentioned Clarissa on a few threads now (Lovelace somethingorother) so although it's listed as historical romance, there must be something else to it.

Here is my Poe treat of the week, with the ever-captivating Christopher Lee:

I encountered Poe pre-EngLit/Gothic so had no difficulty with his poems/short stories/essays as Boston is really not that far from my neck of the woods. It washed over me instantly and fully. I knew of Vincent Price by this point (pre-teen) but knew nothing of Cushing or Lee until much later, as I've stated before. Karloff was just a guy who narrated The Grinch. Gotta start someplace!

gen. 18, 2019, 5:09pm

>96 housefulofpaper: I should have taken that warning more seriously. Agony and bristle and hair shirts all rolled into one.