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 there are quite a few literary works that fit this motif, including modern examples. So what makes a story gothic?


There are plenty of resources out there, including solid academic research, but for simplicity purposes, the general consensus is that it contains several themes. Most, if not all, of the following themes are included in historic and modern day 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

  • Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

  • .....and *cough cough* The Ancient Ones by Cassandra L. Thompson *cough cough* 


And if you want to explore gothic horror movies, I wrote a piece on Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Read it HERE. 

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