Book Angel Booktopia is delighted to welcome Bethany Griffin today to talk about the resurgence of Gothic Literature. I would like to further thank Bethany for the post as it makes a terrific resource for Year 9 to go alongside their Gothic module.
The Resurgence of Gothic Literature
Elements of Gothic Literature
–a creeping sense of impending doom
–females in peril (but not too much screaming and fainting—not for modern audiences)
–ruined architecture/ancient moldering ruins
–ghosts or the suggestion of the supernatural
–secret passages or tunnels, or possibly both!
(OMG, I love every one of those elements, let Gothic literature never go away)
Historically Gothic literature was a response to realism, it was a return to the fanciful, and in many ways as young adult literature opens up to the Gothic sensibility, I guess it’s the same sort of thing. The big trends in Young Adult have run the gamut from vampires to dystopian, and while Gothic literature has never been the super hot trend, the other hot trends have perhaps created readers who are open to elements of fantasy and supernatural, and who doesn’t like a brooding hero, or secret passages, or mystery? And Gothic very often overlapped with horror, and though horror itself isn’t a huge subgenre it seems to be finding more popularity with readers.
Personally, I prefer my Gothic to have historical or ambiguously historical settings, but we’re seeing Gothic stories with all sorts of settings. I mean, as long as there are moors, it’s okay, right?
I do feel that I should comment on the females-in-peril trope. In many of the original Gothic stories, female characters were really only props in the stories, including Madeline in Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher. I think it’s important in modern stories that female characters have equal voices and equal roles with male characters, which isn’t to say that they can NEVER scream or faint, but it’s also possible for male characters to scream and/or faint. All characters must have motivations and minds of their own, particularly the females in Gothic lit.