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Women Running From Houses
November 7, 2010 7:31 PM   Subscribe

Women Running From Houses. A celebration of 1960's - 1970's gothic romance paperbacks. via
posted by marxchivist (34 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
I own an original painting of a woman running from a house. She's not exactly running though, just kind of slinking around.
posted by marxchivist at 7:32 PM on November 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


I am sorry, but The Lock is actually a book about a woman who makes house-shaped hats.
posted by Xoebe at 7:40 PM on November 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Excellent. I have long maintained you can and should judge books by their covers. Also, the "genre" description is hugely pleasing.
posted by scratch at 7:42 PM on November 7, 2010


and Sinead O'Conner flees Prince's house!
posted by The Whelk at 8:15 PM on November 7, 2010


I have a picture in my mind of me running away from a house. I wish I had a photograph of it. It would look perfect on the cover of a gothic romance novel.
posted by wv kay in ga at 8:20 PM on November 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


How can the South be 'Gothic', anyways? Stratified aristocratic overclass? Large ancient manors surrounded by serf plantations?
posted by Apocryphon at 8:32 PM on November 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Gothic Genre was a call back to older, more romantic and dramatic times with a heavy influence on grotesque and anicent scenery, traditions, and landscapes. The word Gothic comes in part from Gothic Architecture, a common set piece in these works, representing some faded lost world full of far grander and depraved motives. Bram Stoker has the ruins of Whitby Abby weere the inspiration for Dracula.

Southern Gothic refers to this genre in an American context, substituting decaying castles and moors for grand plantation homes and hazy swamps.
posted by The Whelk at 8:45 PM on November 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


Stratified aristocratic overclass?

Yes. The characters in Southern Gothic lit tend to be remained of an imagined Old South, that is a pre-war aristocracy full of strange rituals and customs so unlike our modern age.
posted by The Whelk at 8:47 PM on November 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


I am sorry, but The Lock is actually a book about a woman who makes house-shaped hats.

Exactly! Misleading title, to be sure.

More running. Less furtive glances.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:13 PM on November 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Missie could not suspect the twisted
torment behind the icy arrogance of her
bridegroom ... nor realize until too late the
horror that awaited her in the hands of a
man bent on making her the victim of
a strange and terrible vengeance ...


Hate to break it to you Missie, but I'm not hearing anything all that out of the norm here. I mean aren't Wedded and Terror synonymous with one another?

Every wife must play her part in her husband's strange and terrible vengeance, it's in the job description. Sure, you marry yourself an older man he's bound to have more baggage, but that is the price you pay for that sweet situation. Remember, a lot of ladies would put up with a lot of shit to have themselves digs like that.


priceless
posted by Ironmouth at 10:58 PM on November 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mk1 MR2 has an epic bodykit.
posted by ryanrs at 11:09 PM on November 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Did these women learn nothing from ZsaZsa Gabor? You keep the house and the jewelry.
posted by Cranberry at 11:35 PM on November 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


At first I parsed it as "Women running from horses", but a stampede didn't sound very romantic.
posted by bwg at 4:22 AM on November 8, 2010


Wow, marxchivist , you have good taste, I would love to have that on my wall too. :)
posted by dabitch at 5:09 AM on November 8, 2010


> How can the South be 'Gothic', anyways?

Decayed mansion = gothic quotient 25. Decayed mansion plus spanish moss in the moonlight = gothic quotient 70-80.
posted by jfuller at 6:04 AM on November 8, 2010


One of my first jobs was working in a used book store/comic book store. When sorting books, that was the rule for Gothic Romance: if there's a woman running from a house, that's where it goes.

Note: everyone sold these books to the shop; nobody bought them.
posted by Legomancer at 6:15 AM on November 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


These covers remind me of summer vacation when I was maybe 10 or eleven. We lived in the middle of nowhere and I didn't have any friends in the neighborhood or transportation out of it, so this is what I did when I wasn't watching television: I read my mom's crappy romance and mystery novels. I'd already worked through all the age appropriate literature, and prior to age ten or so, I had blasted through Great Condensed Works Of Literature, the complete Sherlock Holmes, and all the Barbara Cartland and Georgette Heyer novels we had.

This is partly why I am raising my children two blocks from a public library branch.
posted by padraigin at 6:41 AM on November 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


The model is Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, whose antecedents include Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto and M. G. Lewis’s The Monk.
posted by mistersquid at 6:50 AM on November 8, 2010


As someone who grew up racing home from elementary school to watch "Dark Shadows" and somehow emerged relatively unscathed from a Victoria Holt phase--gothic novels were the antidote of choice among the seventh grade girls enduring the grind through "My Antonia" at school--this collection is an irresistible invitation to embarrassing nostalgia. Unfortunately I must get dressed and run away from my house to go to work.

(Amazing how much better Willa Cather became after the passage of, oh, twenty years' time.)
posted by emhutchinson at 7:19 AM on November 8, 2010


I'd like to be a purveyor of light bulbs in this world. None of these (apparently) affluent dastards have more than one.
posted by cookie-k at 7:23 AM on November 8, 2010


I already knew of the existence of the Southern Gothic genre, but didn't know about the intricacies.

Wouldn't New England be more appropriate for an American gothic setting, anyways?
posted by Apocryphon at 9:44 AM on November 8, 2010


Legomancer - if everyone is selling them but no one is buying, where are they getting them? Are they like clothes hangers - they reproduce by mitosis when no one is looking?
posted by sandraregina at 9:51 AM on November 8, 2010


> Wouldn't New England be more appropriate for an American gothic setting, anyways?

So promising, too. Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, and a thousand more like them all grow up and acquire houses with seven gables and gnarly AskMe relationships and ripped bodices.

It was not to be. The Scarlet Letter helped prepare the barren soil, but New England was killed off as a setting for Romance by Ethan Frome, the single drabest and most depressing love story in human history. For those with eyes to see the Romantic terrain, New England is a lunar crater extending from Delaware to Nova Scotia with Ethan Frome at ground zero. ("Starkfield," forsooth) Such is Ethan Frome's anti-romantic power that it extends backwards fifty years from its publication date; and forward indefinitely. No, sorry, the closest thing to gothic romance from New England is Ahab and that whale.
posted by jfuller at 10:48 AM on November 8, 2010 [8 favorites]


No, sorry, the closest thing to gothic romance from New England is Ahab and that whale.

Not to mention relations between hapless denizens of remote fishing villages and eldritch beings from beneath the sea, right?

Whoa, Herman Melville and H.P. Lovecraft were writing about almost exactly the same thing.
posted by Apocryphon at 1:49 PM on November 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


It is interesting how cover art goes through waves. Today we have the "woman with weapon and tatoo/piercing facing away from the camera looking at a moody cityscape" covers. I wonder what the next wave will be.
posted by sotonohito at 2:37 PM on November 8, 2010


Man, I love these covers.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:59 PM on November 8, 2010


Hey, I actually love these books. I'm always buying them, whenever I can find them. I've rediscovered the second wave of Gothics recently, esp. the work of Virginia Coffman, who wrote the the very entertaining Moura, one of the books-- along with Victoria Holt's Mistress of Mellyn-- which kick-started the Gothic genre's second revival in the '60s-'70s. I'm especially found of her deliciously twisted romance/horror series "The Devil's Mistress." You can read some great reviews of them here, at the excellent "Groovy Age of Horror" blog.

And the really curious can read "The Devil's Mistress" for themselves here.

Interestingly enough, most of Coffman's books, when set in the States, are set around San Francisco, where she's from.

posted by suburbanbeatnik at 3:05 PM on November 8, 2010


I hate it when I don't close the italics tag.
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 3:06 PM on November 8, 2010


Also, Victorian cosplayers are cool and hot at the same time.
posted by jfuller at 3:19 PM on November 8, 2010


Wow, marxchivist , you have good taste, I would love to have that on my wall too.

Thank you. That was one of the "lesser" pieces from a collection this auction site would sell weekly, as opposed to their big deal once or twice a year auctions. Things were a lot cheaper in those weekly auctions, I kind of discovered them late. It seems like most if not all of the collection has been sold, I'm glad I got to get that one. Unknown artist is part of the reason it was cheap. I got this baby in the same deal. I later found out it was the cover for this Nick Carter book.

The person behind the Women Running From Houses blog also is the proprietor of the sadly not updated often blog Gay For Lois Lane.

"So if Superman won't man up and give her the love she deserves, I'll have to do it myself."
posted by marxchivist at 4:16 PM on November 8, 2010


When I was a teenager, I started reading young adult gothic romances, without knowing what they were. At some point I noticed that they were exactly the same novel: The heroine moves to a brooding mansion in [location] owned by her [relative] and all she has from her dead parents is an [object with a secret hiding place]. Next door there is a family with a dark brooding boy. The boy and she discover the [object] in the hiding place and together solve the mystery, and there is a hint of future romance. Too bad it took about 15 of them before I figured this out and stopped reading them. Clearly, however, the important ingredients were the house and the [object], not the boy.
posted by acrasis at 4:27 PM on November 8, 2010


marxchivist, may I ask the dimensions of the painting for the Nick Carter paperback? I've always been curious what size the original art for book covers is. Thanks!
posted by jfuller at 6:28 PM on November 8, 2010


It's 20" x 30". Looks like acrylic, and on illustration board. The Winds of Night I linked to in the first comment is 13" x 22". That one looks like watercolor, and maybe some acrylic in there.
posted by marxchivist at 6:47 PM on November 8, 2010


Great catch, marxchivist. Such descendants of Radcliffe.

One nice New England Gothic is Thomas Tryon's _The Other_.
posted by doctornemo at 12:26 PM on November 9, 2010


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