Gothic Fiction

It all started when Dover had a particular warehouse sale that seemed to include an inordinate amount of Thrift Editions which fell under the catagory of "Gothic Fiction." I really didn't have an exact definition of that term, nor was I sure what differentiated Gothic from plain old horror, supernatural, or paranormal. I began doing research, and found that this is a rather fuzzy term indeed, and depending on the source, it could be very inclusive of many styles.

I decided to take a less broad view, since I already have Index Pages for Horror, Paranormal, and even Science Fiction, many of whose members are included in the Gothic category.

The most succinct definition comes from a web page on literary terms and definitions which gives some specific charateristics that put Gothic literature/fiction/novels into their own category. This includes "wild and desolate landscapes, ancient buildings such as ruined monasteries; cathedrals; castles with dungeons, torture chambers, secret doors, and winding stariways; apparitions, phantoms, demons and necromancers; an atmosphere of brooding gloom; and youthful, handsome heroes and fainting (or screaming!) heroines who face off against corrupt aristocrats, wicked witches, and hideous monsters." Other sources state that an ancient curse or secret is often involved, and so is romance and melodrama. Often humor can play a part, either because melodrama can be silly, or there is deliberate humor, for instance in the form of parody.

Another good definition comes from And Encyclopedia Brittanica provides still more interesting information, and states that the heyday of the Gothic Novel was the 1790s. The general concensus among most articles is that the genre began with Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto of 1765. In fact, the most explicit, perhaps the original definition of Gothic Novel, is found in the introduction of the Dover edition of this book. It is quite detailed and narrowly defines the Gothic Novel as it existed in the 1700s to about 1820. In order to be considered Gothic, a specific plot was employed involving a criminal who has usurped an estate from its rightful heir. Gradually, the Gothic Novel evolved and still exists today in a much broader form, as mentioned above, though some may debate whether these are truly "Gothic."

And finally, Goodreads provides a list of the "Best Gothic Books Of All Time" of which there are (at least at the time of this writing) 310, voted on by members. When I saw how many of these books I either owned and/or had already read, I was convinced that another Index Page needed to be added to my Genres, Styles category. So here they are, to provide you with hours and hours of creepy entertainment. Enjoy!


The Beckoning Fair One
The Castle of Otranto
The Great God Pan and The Hill of Dreams
The Haunted Hotel: A Mystery of Modern Venice
The Haunted House
The House of the Seven Gables
The House on the Borderland
Jamaica Inn
The Jewel of Seven Stars
The Lady of the Shroud
The Lair of the White Worm
The Marble Faun
The Mysteries of Udolpho
The Mystery of Cloomber
The Mystery of the Sea
Northanger Abbey (spoof)
Phantastes: A Faerie Romance
The Phantom of the Opera
The Picture of Dorian Gray
The Return
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
The Three Impostors
The Turn of the Screw

Collections with at least one Gothic Story

The Beast in the Jungle and Other Stories
Best Ghost and Horror Stories (Bram Stoker)
The Canterville Ghost and Other Stories
Classic Ghost Stories by Wilkie Collins. . . and Others
Diary of a Madman and Other Stories
Great Horror Stories:Tales by Stoker, Poe, Lovecraft and Others
Haunted: Tales of the Grotesque
An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge and Other Stories
The Queen of Spades and Other Stories
The Sword of Welleran and Other Stories
Three Tales

Coloring Books

Color Your Own Graphic Novel: Dracula

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