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What is Gothic Horror?


So what exactly is Gothic fiction/horror? Most often, the term brings to mind the works of Edgar Allen Poe, Mary Shelley, or even Ann Radcliffe. But while the Victorian era birthed the genre and gave us the most well-known stories, there are quite a few literary works that fit, including modern examples. So what makes a story Gothic?

There are plenty of resources out there, but for simplicity purposes, the general consensus is that Gothic fiction contains several themes. Most, if not all, of the following themes are included in historical and modern Gothic literature. 


Historical Examples

  • Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto

  • Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho

  • Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

  • Edgar Allen Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher

  • Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

  • Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray

  • Bram Stoker’s Dracula


Modern Adaptations

  • Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

  • The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

  • Beloved by Toni Morrison

  • The Witching Hour by Anne Rice

  • The Shining by Stephen King

  • Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

  • Twilight (yes, Twilight) by Stephanie Meyer

  • And many, many more. 


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