What is Gothic Literature?

I have recently been reading some Gothic literature, and I thought I would try and write something short about what the genre actually encompasses, and what are some of it’s more popular works. The name Gothic refers to (originally) both an Eastern Germanic language and Goths, the Eastern Germanic people to who the latter language belonged to. The Goths played an important role in the emergence of Medieaval Europe, which will bring me to another point later in this “article” about Gothic architecture, which also plays an important in Gothic literature. Gothic literature (or fiction) is a genre which primarily focuses on death, horror, occasionally romance, and sometimes even combinations of the latter. It is written in stereotypically dark but picturesque scenery, and uses a large variety of styles of narration. Gothic literature plots typically involve people becoming involved in complex and often paranormal schemes, usually against an innocent and helpless heroine.

The primary element, which sticks the most out to me, at least in my small experience, is the ability to convey a certain mood to the reader. Atmosphere. such as the feeling of underlying dread which is almost tangible throughout all of Dracula, by Bram Stoker. This is similar to the melodramatic aura which resonates strongly throughout the genre, the intense emotion which usually accompanies the mysterious plot. Another visible theme throughout Gothic literature is the setting. Gothic architectural structures were often built with abundant carvings, numerous crevices and shadows. This can also create an aura of mystery and darkness and is more often than not the correct setting for works of Gothic literature. Probably the most notable of these, is the notorious Castle of Otranto, and even Count Dracula’s mansion.

So what is Gothic literature?

  1. Horror, often blended with romance.
  2. Written in a narrative form.
  3. Dark and picturesque scenery.
  4. Paranormal schemes.

I think that has more or less summed it up. Any thoughts, feedback, or recommendations, please feel free to reach out to me, either by a comment on this post, or a message on Discord. The list below contains some of the more notable works and authors of Gothic literature (all of which are hyperlinked).

Dracula, by Bram Stoker.
Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley.
The Castle of Otranto, by Horace Walpole.
H.P Lovecraft: Complete Collection.
Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Collection.

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