This is a subject that has greatly grabbed my fascination lately, and I have blogged about this before.
Gothic writing often has people shuddering in horror – incest and familial familiarity really seem to freak people out, but if written well, you aren’t even aware of it. But this isn’t necessarily part of Gothic Writing. It encompasses a large range of different emotions and situations, see the list below:
- dark subjects
- terror (psychological and physical)
- wild and desolate landscapes
- ancient buildings (monasteries, ruins of halls / castles)
- secret doors
- phantoms / ghosts
- handsome heros and screaming heroines (OK, too tacky, perfer strong characters)
- atmosphere of despair, torture and or gloom
Wow, that is a list and a half. Most of the references I have read recently about Gothic Literature spout forth such classics as Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte), Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) and Edgar Allan Poe. I wanted something a little more modern to compare Gothic Literature with, and two writers spring to mind, and you are allowed to debate me on this, but Virginia Andrews and Diane Setterfield.
Because I have only recently read Diane Setterfields, the Thirteenth Tale, I can relate to this one. It contained ghosts (more in the mind than real), despair, terror, tragedy (which isn’t on my list, but would actually be a big part of a gothic tale), secrets, incest, insanity, ruined house, gloom, atmosphere of despair – now I can see this coming together. In The Thirteenth Tale, there is one very strong person, and it was the heroine who held it all together throughout the story, so the heroines don’t have to be fainting cliches, they can be strong characters, but one with dark secrets.
So, would Gothic fall within the context of Speculative Fiction. Reread the list above, then tell me it wouldn’t!