Gothic Fiction

Gothic literature is a kind of pseudo-medieval fiction that is filled with mystery and intrigue, characterized by its use of ominous and macabre imagery, melodramatic storytelling techniques, and a general sense of dread and dreadfulness. Gloomy surroundings, grotesque action, supernatural aspects, romance, and exoticism define Gothicism in literature (also known as Gothic fiction or Gothic literature).

Dark Romanticism, which was popular in the United States in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, was a variation on this theme. Emotion and delightful horror are prominent themes, and they helped to shape the Romantic writing of the period. Authors of gothic fiction have also used supernatural themes in their stories, as well as romance, historical figures, and travel and adventure storylines in their works. Romance, horror, and science fiction all collide in the fantastical world of gothic literature.

The genre started during the 18th century with the help of Horace Walpole’s publication of The Castle of Otranto in 1764, credited with helping the founding of Gothic fiction. It primarily arose in England as a branch of Romanticism. In the 19th century, the success of the genre continued with the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlett Letter as a Gothic romance, then later in the 20th century, with Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. Since then, it has been revived several times, most recently in the 1980s and 1990s.

A huge, old home is often the setting of a gothic book or narrative in which a horrible secret is hidden or a particularly dangerous and menacing figure seeks sanctuary. As you read Gothic literature, you’ll come across haunted mansions, cobwebbed castles, abandoned cathedrals, and other crumbling monuments. It tends to emphasize the romantic literature of the period with its emphasis on emotion and delicious horror. Gothic literature is an antidote to formal realism and works in the other direction.

Further Reading

A Guide to Gothic Literature: The Top 10 Books You Have to Read,

29 Best Gothic Novels of All Time, Including Rebecca by Elena Nicolaou, Oprah Daily

A Brief History of Gothic Horror by Amanda Pagan, New York Public Library

Southern Gothic Literature by Thomas Ærvold Bjerre, Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature

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