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May 10, 2014 11:17 PM   Subscribe

How to tell if you're reading a gothic novel, in pictures. A guide to terrible weather, castles, scary eyes, and swooning virgins from The Guardian.
posted by betweenthebars (26 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

Does Wuthering Heights not count? WTF?
posted by mr_roboto at 11:38 PM on May 10

You'll find Heathcliff and Catherine within the full list of novels.
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:50 PM on May 10

I should add that the listing of Wuthering Heights includes the note, "Omitted because Gothic elements rather than actual Gothic novel." As does Jane Eyre. Short shrift for the Brontës.
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:52 PM on May 10

I thought that the villains chart seemed incomplete without Count Fosco, but The Woman in White is considered a mystery novel rather than gothic.
posted by betweenthebars at 12:08 AM on May 11

posted by pracowity at 2:54 AM on May 11

There's no virgins at The Grauniad, swooning or otherwise.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 4:26 AM on May 11

"Omitted because Gothic elements rather than actual Gothic novel." As does Jane Eyre. Short shrift for the Brontës.

Pshaw, Jane Eyre has a virginal orphan heroine and not one but two potential ghosts. Not to mention a big ol' tree split by Foreboding Lightning.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:49 AM on May 11 [5 favorites]

Right... Who's up for trying to write a romantic comedy that hits all of these markers?
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 6:05 AM on May 11 [3 favorites]

When I was a youngun' I worked part-time at a used book store. We'd get in boxes of romance books to be shelved, some of which belonged in the "Gothic Romance" section. How did we know which ones were those? Easy, they were the ones where the cover featured a woman running from a house. EVERY ONE OF THEM.
posted by Legomancer at 6:16 AM on May 11 [12 favorites]

I don't think I expected to see A Christmas Carol and The Picture of Dorian Gray on the list, but I guess it goes to show I didn't have much idea what "gothic" meant at all.

& the idea that most of Poe takes place "God knows/could be anywhere" just tickles me because I instantly thought: of course, "The Murders on the Rue Morgue" may as well be Santa Barbara.
posted by psoas at 6:25 AM on May 11 [1 favorite]

When I was reading almost nothing but Margaret Atwood for a couple of months I did not know I was reading "Southern Ontario Gothic". I wish I had. It would have added a special piquancy.
posted by jfuller at 6:51 AM on May 11 [1 favorite]

Shameless gothic parody self link : I am getting really tired of living in this quaint English Village
posted by The Whelk at 7:02 AM on May 11 [7 favorites]

I love Victoria Holt's gothic romances with a fiery passion. crumbling castles! Strange children! Psychic old ladies! Bats in the belfry! She absolutely corners the market on nannies in peril.
posted by Elly Vortex at 7:34 AM on May 11 [2 favorites]

Right... Who's up for trying to write a romantic comedy that hits all of these markers?

The book you are looking for is Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey and it is utter perfection.
posted by moss at 7:39 AM on May 11 [5 favorites]

MetaFilter: I nannies in peril
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:54 AM on May 11 [2 favorites]

Easy, they were the ones where the cover featured a woman running from a house.

Seems to check out.
posted by book 'em dano at 8:57 AM on May 11 [1 favorite]

So, A Christmas Carol counts as Gothic, but Bleak House doesn't?

It has spontaneous human combustion, for Pete's sake! And protracted legal disputes!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:58 AM on May 11

That spreadsheet is a fascinating example of what happens when you try to be prescriptivist instead of descriptivist about genre. I mean, if you want "supernatural," then you have to eliminate all of Radcliffe, whose work explicitly debunks the supernatural every single time. If you don't want satire, then, ironically enough, you have to eliminate Walpole and Beckford, who are poking fun at themselves. If you're trying to distinguish between "Gothic elements" and "Gothic novel," then including Lee's The Recess on the Gothic side is a little bizarre (it's as much an early historical novel/alternate history as it is a Gothic romance). (Might as well include Walter Scott's The Monastery while you're at it--it's about as Gothic as The Recess, and actually has the supernatural prominently featured--or The Bride of Lammermoor.) A lot of Victorianists would say that Jane Eyre is Gothic, never mind "Gothic elements," and...why is there debate about The Picture of Dorian Gray? By the same token, why Arthur Conan Doyle's revisionist Gothic and not Shirley Jackson's? Amazing how the boundaries just fray at the edges all over the place...
posted by thomas j wise at 2:31 PM on May 11

Possibly of related interest today: Everything You Should Know Before Watching Penny Dreadful
posted by homunculus at 5:06 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]

This is all fine but I need a guide to know when I'm reading the inscrutable and unquestionably Gothic Ed Gorey.
posted by Ralph at 6:24 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]

Judging by the description, I thought this would be by Tom Gauld. After getting over my initial disappointment, I thoroughly enjoyed this.
posted by mingo_clambake at 6:32 PM on May 11

I just watched Coppola's Dracula movie, and hoooooly shit, does it ever score highly on the metrics in the FPP.
posted by codacorolla at 4:27 PM on May 14

It's so true to the spirit of the gothic tradition being a archaic early Hollywood fever dream
posted by The Whelk at 4:56 PM on May 14

My favorite part after Dracula's muscle armor / bouffant and Keanu's accent is every single effects shot of an eye ominously staring down from a stormy sky.
posted by codacorolla at 5:34 PM on May 14

Nearly every effect was done in camera which is INSANE
posted by The Whelk at 5:41 PM on May 14

It's incredibly sad how much Coppola has fallen off, although you can already see traces of it in Dracula.
posted by codacorolla at 6:08 PM on May 14

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