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I would also be interested in knowing what some of your favorite gothic writers, novels, stories, and books are. I have some good books on the subject that I will include in a later post. I consider some of Ligotti's work to be very gothic, especially his early works. Yet, there are some distinct alterations that occur in TL's themes and styles over time. To me, much of what's in the Teatro Grottesco collection and all of the Corporate Horror stories are not gothic, or at least not in the powerful sense his earlier tales are.

On a side note, what's up with the author dates from the table of contents? I thought Tom was born in , not ? Thanks for mentioning that edition! I'll look for it and continue reading soon. For now, I can tell you that one of the works that I found striking from what I read was Bowles' "Allal". The intro for the first collection might help in defining "gothic horror. I'll have to find my copy of Crypt of Cthulhu 68 and reread those early stories.

I have come across three different dates for Ligotti's birth over the years, but I think you are correct in that it is I'm not sure if I would catagorize it as particularly gothic, as Oates has, but it has been years since I read it and I could be wrong. My library has a copy and I think I am going to give that intro a look. I have read more than a few definitions of "gothic" and they vary somewhat. For me the below cover pretty much sums it up. Although it is missing the fleeing damsel in distress.

I picked up an interesting nonfiction book many years ago at a Goodwill bookstore. It had no title on the spine, but I bothered to pull it off the shelf and I was pleasantly surprised. I wish there were a few more books like this; perhaps on Dracula, Frankenstein, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. This book looks to have been published in France in , but it is in the English language.

Gothic fiction

I occasionally check for it on the net, but I have never seen another copy for sale. To give you a feeling of what it is covers, I typed up the Contents page. What was happening in 2. Influence of German poetry and fiction in 3. The two plots 5. The poetry of The Monk 6. The burlesque ballads and The New Monk 7. The Monk on the stage 8. The Monk in chap-book form 9. Ambiguity of contemporary feeling about The Monk: horror and fascination The moral and religious controversy in an age of changing standards Lewis, Esq.

The Monk and the Bible The Bible in Mathias and The Pursuits of Literature The charge of blasphemy Lewis and the Law The Proclamation Society The new version of The Monk Advocates for The Monk Our own findings The political undertones of the controversy A writer with a bad name: M. Lewis Was Lewis's developement thwarted by persecution? Sophia Griffith , novelist, wrote the Gothic parody, She would be a heroine. By Sophia At the climax of the novel, she gets lost in the family crypt and re-emerges a reformed de-Gothified character, who repents of her Gothic follies.

The main Gothic interest concerns the ghostly sightings of the white lady of Avenel, a spectre who waylays Father Phillip, the protector of her daughter Mary, as he approaches the Monastery of St Mary. Carl Grosse , novelist, who was the self-styled Marquis of Pharnusa, published romances between These included The Dagger and his most well-known work, Horrid Mysteries. Shelley [q. The story tells of the quest of the hero, Don Carlos, to hunt down the ungodly Illuminati , a secret society that had fascinated Shelley see Peacock [q.

Fisher and T. Hurst of London. The latter was set in Tenerife and based allegedly on a true story. Susannah Gunning ? Gunning declared that she had regretted twenty-two out of twenty-three years of marriage and fictionalised her private life in some of her fiction.

She wrote 13 novels, six of which were epistolary. Her fiction includes Barford Abbey and Coombe Wood , where she satirises marriage. For The Astrologer , the author imitates T. Horsley Curties for its horror and Ann Radcliffe for its terror but falls short of achieving any true Radcliffean suspense. The astrologer is a monk called Osmia, who draws up a doom-laden horoscope for the hero Sebastian. Alongside his beloved Elvira, Sebastian encounters an apparition, which, by promising to be his guide, fulfils the astrological prophecy. Not surprisingly, the spectre turns out to be none other than the monk Osmia, who had mysteriously disappeared.

Ann Mary Hamilton , novelist, blurs the boundaries between domestic fiction and Gothic horror in her novels, which include Montalva: or, The Annals of Guilt The hallmark of her writing is the reform of a villainous character into a paradigm of goodness and compassion. As her hero Stephano Montalva demonstrates, these transformations are not entirely convincing and detract from the Gothic momentum.

After his conversion, horror interest is revived when a demonic apparition tempts him to kill a young girl. But he refrains when the ghost of Valeria appears to inform him that it is their child. In , she married a bigamist and then earned her living by lecturing for James Graham, the quack doctor. Attempting suicide in Westminster Abbey, she was accidentally shot in the face in a brothel. Hatton wrote 14 novels between and mainly for Minerva Press, which included the exceedingly gory Cesario Rosalba: or the Oath of Vengeance Elizabeth Helme fl.

She was an established sentimental and Gothic novelist connected with the Minerva Press whose first novel of this kind was Louisa: or the Cottage on the Moor which ran to five editions. This was followed by Clara and Emmeline then Duncan and Peggy So popular was her writing that her work was reprinted late into the 19th century. Hernon , novelist, of whom little is known, wrote Louisa: or, The Black Tower , set in a gloomy forest in Lancashire where Mr Gerrard, a widower, resides with his daughter, Louisa. She is captured by bandits headed by Captain Rifle an alias for Mr Hodge whose wife wanders around at night robed as a white phantom hunting for victims for her own malevolent designs.

Anthony Frederick Holstein , fl. Sir Francis Errol is the arch seducer of Rosalia Sutherland, who is imprisoned in a Gothic castle because of an undisclosed inheritance where she encounters the aforementioned spectre. William Henry Ireland , miscellaneous writer, was the son of Samuel Ireland, a rare book dealer. William passed on to his father documents he had forged including an original version of King Lear, portions of Hamlet and two undiscovered Shakespeare plays. The plagiarism was eventually uncovered and William disgraced.

His first romance The Abbess is written in the style of Matthew Lewis [q. Rimualdo: or, The Castle of Badajos is another Gothic extravaganza, exulting in a plethora of murder and of ghosts. The valiant hero Rimualdo out-does the average Gothic heroine by instantly dropping into a swoon on witnessing a terrifying vision. Unlike most Gothic parodies, which concentrate on the Gothic heroine, Ircastrensis focuses on a Gothic hero with the prosaic name of Thomas Baily. He has fallen in love with a portrait of the beautiful Ethelinda Tit, who died two hundred years before.

Determined to reincarnate her, he persuades his relation Annabella to impersonate her in a series of Gothic encounters. The absurdities are summed up when Annabella continues to converse with the spectre even after she has fainted. Mrs Fl. Isaacs fl. Ariel is about a preternatural, moralising male voice, which penetrates the dungeons and funereal cell into which Rosalie is thrust.

The voice guides her through a mine-field of seducers. Glenmore Abbey published by Minerva Press is a Radcliffean imitation replete with secret passages, a swooning heroine, Ellen and a terrifying secret within a forbidden enclosure. It opens with a Gothic touch telling of how Sir Gregory Belmont used to give his villagers their own tombstone in order to inculcate virtue.

The First Gothics , p. The bewildering plot coagulates beyond comprehension, consisting of a jumble of violent episodes yoked together by shocking supernatural effects. The Teutonic Black Forest setting, into which Hermann and Helfried venture, is over-run by deserted castles, bleeding shadows and other ghoulish phenomena.

The necromancer is the sinister magician, Volkert, who has been executed. Isabella Kelly , fl. Her first novel was the mildly Gothic Madeleine or the Castle of Montgomery Its creaking plot draws on the Gothic machinery of crumbling cloisters, mysterious apparitions and skeletons in a family closet.

Violent emotion and improbable plots, along with a moralising tendency, were the hallmark of her writing. Caroline Lamb , novelist and poet, born Ponsonby, was the only daughter of the third Earl of Bessborough and Lady Henrietta Frances Spencer and was brought up by the celebrated Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. It was published anonymously in , the same year that her family tried to have her certified insane and was reprinted as The Fatal Passion The title reappeared the following year, but under the name of Robert Huish and set in the fifteenth century The hero is Sir George Ferney, who is both bad and dangerous to know, having been physically abused by his father for forgetting the names of the horses in the stables.

He surpasses himself in sadism when he takes a poor girl, Mary, to a crypt and forces her into a coffin where he plans to rape then murder her. Eventually, after a series of family reunions, Sir George is shot and is buried vampire-style at a cross-roads. The stake through his body is struck with a mighty blow from his own son.

The hyperbolic plot involves one of two sisters, Augusta, who turns up mad as Lady Woldemar, while seeking the ghost of her husband, whom she allegedly murdered. Francis Lathom fl. He wrote comedies and romances starting with The Castle of Ollada The bell is rung by a madwoman in a deserted castle, obsessed with the dead body of her husband. Other novels such as Mystery and Astonishment!!! Thomas Pike Lathy fl. In , he plagiarised a poem on angling of by Dr Thomas Scott of Ipswich. His novels include Usurpation , a Minerva Press best-seller, telling of a wicked uncle and hysterical niece.

The invisible enemy is Lafranco who steals children and corpses. After miscalculating a seduction scene, he plunges to his death from a cliff. Sophia Lee was the eldest child of two actors. When her mother died, she brought up her siblings including her novelist sister, Harriet, with whom she collaborated on Canterbury Tales Her comedy called The Chapter of Accidents proved so successful that she was able to set up a school in Bath on the proceeds. In accordance with a certain literary convention, Lee pretended that she was an editor rather than the inventor of the plot.

Gothic Horror

She died in Clifton, Bristol. Thomas Leland D. The title hero has returned from the Gascoigne wars, disguised as a pilgrim. He narrowly escapes being poisoned by the brother of the villainous Reginhald. Matthew Gregory Lewis , novelist and politician, launched Ambrosio or The Monk on an unsuspecting public in This lurid, sadistic and dissolute tale of monastic corruption was the English debut of the German Schauerroman and the progenitor of the horror branch of Gothic fiction.

The Monk was written as a palliative to the boredoms of The Hague where Lewis is staying as a young man. Charles Lucas miscellaneous writer and clergyman, became the curate at Avebury, Wiltshire in where he wrote a poem about the stone circles. The title anti-hero is the Lord James Marauder who, as a freethinker, is cast as son of Satan. Marauder satanically brings about the Irish rebellion of and corrupts women with Godwinian ideas of free love. Anna Maria Mackenzie fl. She married a Mr Cox who died after losing money, leaving her with four children.

She earned her living through writing and became a leading Minerva Press novelist. Monmouth , which is set in the Restoration, is considered to be her finest work. In Slavery, or The Times , she romanticises a half-African slave while Dusseldorf: or The Fratricide is a pot-pourri of a maiden in distress, menacing riders, and a wicked master. Charles Maturin novelist, dramatist and clergyman, was born in Dublin of Huguenot descent. He graduated from Trinity College in as a Classics scholar and was ordained a minister in Melmoth the Wanderer is a series of tales in a Chinese box arrangement permeated by the sinister and suffering figure of Melmoth, who is a cross between Faust and the Wandering Jew.

Mary Meeke fl. She specialised in catchy titles such as Which is the Man? He murders a sleeping young woman Julia in Rovado Castle and is about to kill the child in her arms when the ghost of his murder victim intervenes. On reaching freedom, she is reunited with her former lover Montmorenci and then learns that her evil husband has died after falling off a battlement.

The inevitable marriage assures a happy ending for the breathless reader. Its Radcliffian terrors delineate the torments of the Maserini family over two generations as revealed by the hermit, Father Peter at Grasville Abbey. Here Percival Maserini takes refuge with the hapless Clementina, who, he rescued from a convent where she had been confined by her hateful father. John Moore , novelist, wrote Zeluco. Zeluco shows an early aptitude for evil by mashing a pet sparrow to pieces in his hand. His later exploits include having a West Indian slave flogged to death and strangling a child to death, which drives its mother mad.

Gothic Fiction - Biographies

Lady Morgan Sydney Owenson , , novelist and Irish nationalist, was born on board ship while crossing the Irish Sea. Appropriately, she became a travel writer and advocate for Ireland to the English. She started writing her first novel St Clair while working as a governess for the Featherstones at Bracklin Castle, Westmeath and wrote her second, The Novice of St Dominick while teaching the children of the Crawford family in Co.

Agnes Musgrave , novelist, was a best-selling author for Minerva Press. In the introduction to her first novel, Cicely: or the Rose of Raby. An Historical Novel , she mentions visiting places described in the novel after a severe illness. Her next novel, Edmund of the Forest. The Solemn Injunction appearing in , has a similarly complicated plot, this time replete with bloody secret chambers, faked ghosts and allegations of incest.


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It was printed for Thomas Tegg and has sometimes been published under its subtitle. John Palmer , junior , actor and novelist, was the eldest son of the famous actor, John Palmer, who dropped dead on stage in Mrs Eliza D. Parsons ? She married a turpentine distiller with whom she had eight children. A fire destroyed their property in and her husband died less than five years later. To support her family, Parsons turned to writing sentimental and didactic novels warning against the dangers of violent passion.

Thomas Love Peacock , satirist, essayist and poet was brought up by his mother. He published two volumes of poetry before meeting P. Shelley in His most well known work is Nightmare Abbey where he satirises the Lake poets and parodies the Gothic novel genre. Scythrop Glowry, whose servant is called Diggory Deathshead, is a caricature of Shelley. While pretending to be a member of the Bavarian Illuminati, Scythrop flings off his calico dressing gown and accidentally exposes himself to a lady.

He disembarks at Palermo and returns to the Castle Roviego, which contains some supernatural surprises though these hardly compensate for the lack of villainy in the novel. When the lovers are reunited, Father Anselmo fatally sabotages the Gothic milieu by reminding them of the beneficence of the creator of the universe.

Authors who wrote partially or entirely in the Gothic fiction genre include:

One of the three brothers is forced to sit on a torture chair while subjected to the erotic titillation of Lady Laurina, the mistress of his brother Julian while his other brother, Arnaud, has diabolically exchanged his mutilated and deformed body for a new improved model. He had early success as a playwright but became better known for his fiction particularly Les Barons de Felsheim and Monsieur Botte The plot explores the painful separation of the two lovers, Eugenio and Virginia. When her husband deserted her to become a naval surgeon, she supported her family as a governess.

This gave her the grounding to write books for children, which she sought to make morally edifying. Her Gothic writing is imbued with moralistic ideals often at the cost of their Gothic effects, as in the case of The Novice or The Heir of Montgomery Castle The Accusing Spirit: or, De Courcy and Eglantine shows the triumph of Calvinistic principles over Catholic indoctrination, despite being anachronistically set the century before the birth of John Calvin.

John William Polidori , physician and novelist, participated in the ghost-story competition at Villa Diodati in along with Mary Shelley [q. It was the first vampire tale in English and tells the story of the Byronic figure, Lord Ruthven, who drinks the blood of a woman he seduces.


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  • Polidori went on to write a melancholy Gothic novel called Ernestus Berchtold: or The Modern Oedipus concerning incest. Anna Maria Porter novelist, starting writing at 13 with a series of Artless Tales Porter also wrote the Gothic novel, The Fast of St Magdalen , where she proves herself to be a connoisseur of the slaughter scene. Set in Italy at the time of Cesare Borgia, the heroine Ippolita seeks refuse in a monastery swarming with apparitions.

    Jane Porter , novelist, was so studious as a girl that she would begin her studies at 4. For her first romance, Thaddeus of Warsaw about a Polish exile, she modelled some of the characters on her friends. William Maginn regarded the novel, which ran into many editions, as the best and most enduring of her works. Nicknamed by S. She died at the house of her eldest brother in Portland Square, Bristol and is commemorated with her novelist sister Anna, in the Cathedral.

    During the s, the family moved to Bath where Ann met William Radcliffe whom she married in Mary Ann Radcliffe ? It is ambiguous whether this is the same author, who published the Radcliffean Manfrome or The Monk The novel opens at fever-pitch, which continues unabated throughout the narrative, with Rosalia being sexually ambushed in her bedchamber by a mysterious assailant who leaves his severed hand behind.

    Rudolph Erich Raspe , novelist and polymath, is best known as the flamboyant author of the surreal Baron Munchausen which is a collection of the fantastical tales of an army officer. While working for Count Hesse in connection with his collection of antiques, Raspe stole valuable coins, selling them for huge sums. He was detected and fled to the Hartz mountains, where he was captured by police.

    On escaping, he fled to England where he wrote a chapbook, doubtless inspired by his own experience as a thief entitled Koenigsmark the Robber, or The Terror of Bohemia in which is introduced Stella, or The Maniac of the Wood. An Affecting Tale published sometime during the first decade of the nineteenth century. Clara Reeve , novelist, poet and critic, was educated by her father, who proscribed advanced reading at an early age. After his death in , Reeve started writing poetry, which was published in It was so popular that it was reprinted 13 times up to In her epistolary novel, The School for Widows , her main character is Frances Darnford, who gathers together a group of widows in sisterly solidarity.

    She also became an actress, attracting the attentions of the young Prince of Wales. When their love affair floundered, she tried blackmailing him. These sentimental melodramas are underpinned by a polemic highlighting the male abuse of women as articulated in her treatise Thoughts on the Condition of Women, and on the Injustice of Mental Subordination Regina Maria Roche ? She moved to England following her marriage to Ambrose Roche in By contrast, Nocturnal Visit suffers from a torpid plot dragged out over 4 volumes. John Russell , novelist and statesman, who led the Whigs in , became Prime Minister in The sentimental story tells of the love affair between a nun Sister Catherine and an army officer Edward Pembroke, who has been fighting in the Peninsular campaign against Napoleon.

    These ill-starred lovers, being unable to consummate their passion, decide to separate. Dissatisfied, Pembroke goes in search of his lost love. After many years, he finds her but is so shocked by her emaciated and lustreless appearance that he falls ill and dies. The Pauper Boy, or The Ups and Downs of Life begins with a first-person account of the workhouse and puts Jewish characters in a fairly sympathetic light.

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    Catherine Selden , novelist, wrote seven novels most of which were published by Minerva Press. Less predictable is Villa Santelle, or The Curious Impertinent , where the hero loses his dignity when he falls over while hiding in a suit of armour and has to be rescued by his lady. Mary Shelley , novelist and travel writer, the daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin [q. The title hero, Victor, creates a creature out of dead bodies, which turns on his maker, destroying the lives of those close to him. Percy Bysshe Shelley poet, whose juvenilia included two pot-boiler novellas. This was followed by St Irvine: or The Rosicrucian ?

    Perhaps mercifully, his horror tale The Nightmare has never been found. His occult and scientific interests provided Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, his future wife with a model for her hero Victor Frankenstein. Richard Sicklemore , junior , miscellaneous writer and playwright, who like his father, was a printer and publisher in Brighton. Montague Summers suggests that he may have written The New Monk which satirically dismembers the old Monk that Lewis created. Henry Siddons , novelist and actor, was the eldest child of Sarah Siddons, the famous actress, who wanted him to be a clergyman.

    Undeterred, Siddons went on to produce five other novels, wisely leaving his name off the title page of Reginald De Torby and the Twelve Robbers , which was accused of plagiarism. Eleanor Sleath , novelist, the author of five Gothic novels, is most well known for her first, The Orphan of the Rhine