31 Days of Lit: Day 2: What the heck is the gothic genre, anyway?

So, when we talk about gothic literature, what the heck do we mean?

Gothic literature is any story, poem, play (anything written, really) that involve a mix of  horror and romance, usually in equal measures. In Dracula, Mina falls in love with Dracula, even though she’s married to Jonathan and Dracula killed her best friend, Lucy. In Frankenstein, the monster kills Frankenstein’s bride, Elizabeth, the love of Frankenstein’s life. In Rebecca, the love of “I” and Maxim is overshadowed by the ghost of Rebecca and her demise. The Phantom of the Opera pits the Phantom’s murderous rage against his obsession with Christine–and the love Christine has for him. (It’s very Mina/Dracula, in a way)

But within the gothic genre, there are sub-genres, which we’ll explore in more detail later. Two important ones are female gothic and urban gothic. To give you some idea: the Bronte sisters wrote  female gothic; Jekyll and Hyde, The Picture of Dorian Grey, and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short stories can be considered urban gothic

Also in this series: Other gothic authors and their books, if all this talk makes you want to read them (and since it’s October, and prime gothic season, why wouldn’t you?!)

Next up: Elements of a Gothic Novel–i.e., how to ID one.


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