Going Gothic

No, I said Gothic, not Goth.  While I tend to wear a lot of black T-shirts, that really not my scene.  I must admit, though, that the young lady in the picture I downloaded at random from the internet is quite fetching. Click to enlarge. 

No, not those Goths, either, although they are much more my scene than the previous goth.

Read my lips.  I said goth-ic.  Goth. ic.

Got it?

You know the novels from the late 1700s and early 1800s, not the romance subgenre popular in the 70s where every book cover had a beautiful young woman with great hair fleeing a creepy edifice in the background, usually one that had a single light in a tower window.  I swear, when I was a kid, you couldn’t swing a cat without hitting one of those books.  Uh,,,not I swung cats or anything.

What I’m talking about is a style of early novel filled with menace, usually something supernatural, and all kinds of trouble for the protagonists.  They were the late Eighteenth Century version of pulps.

I’ve had some on my ereader for a while.  One, which made Karl Edward Wagner’s list of 13 Best Supernatural Horror Novels, is Melmoth the Wanderer.  I’d been reading some stuff written in an older style for an article I’m working on for Skelos, and on a whim decided to give Melmoth a try.  Why I did this, I don’t know.  I’ve got several things I need to read and review to fulfill some commitments.

Anyway, I’ve made it about 10%.  I’m absolutely loving it.  It’s filled with lurid, creepy, over the top stuff, and it’s a heck of a lot of fun.  I’ll post a review when I’m done.

Jane Austen

I’m thinking of adding more gothics into the mix.  The Monk will probably be one of them.  Then there are Jane Austen’s Horrid Novels.  Yes, I said Jane Austen.  In her novel Northanger Abby, one of the characters provides another with a list of horrid novels.  In other words entertainment of which Proper People Would Not Approve.  For a number of  years, scholars thought the books were fictitious, because English lit professors didn’t pay attention to Jane Austen until years after she was dead, and no self-respecting  English professor would sully himself by reading (gasp!) popular fiction.  Then someone figured out in the early 1900s that the books were all real.  I had bought them as a bundle on Amazon a while back on a lark.  (Hmm…I’m detecting a trend here.)

So I got on the source of all knowledge (and ultimate bathroom wall), the internet, and did a little research.  These books sound highly entertaining.  And even better, they probably would be met with disapproval by the Scolds of the Perpetually Offended.  I’ll probably give some of them a try at some point.

So there’s going to be some older works you may not have heard of being featured here from time to time.  Just so you know.

2 thoughts on “Going Gothic

  1. Matthew

    I’ve never read any of them, but I know the more supernatural ones were an influence on Mike Mignola’s comic book Hellboy. As were the Weird Tales writers and classic English ghost stories.

    1. Keith West Post author

      You’re quite correct, and I can see the influence of this type of book on later writers just from what I’ve read so far.


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