Gothic Time-Line

1760 1764 – The Castle of Otranto Credited as the first Gothic novel. Underground tunnels, mysterious giant helmets, that fall from the sky, long lost children and lots of swords and daggers. The age of over-the-top emotions, fantastical storylines and lots of running down deserted corridors has begun!
1780 1782 – Vathek A French addition to the cannon, this is an homage to Orientalism with crazy foreigners doing crazy things in insanely opulent surroundings. Magic, murder and eternal damnation – not as classy as the 19th century novels that will follow but great early Gothic reading.
1790 1790 – A Sicilian Romance

1791 – The Mysteries of the Forest

1794 – The Mysteries of Udolpho

1796 – The Monk

1797 – The Italian

Ann Radcliffe is the master of the traditional Gothic novel. Her books were runaway successes at the time and sneered at by all discerning readers. Beautiful maidens, haunted castles, crazy exotic foreigners, Radcliffe does them all. Oh, and ‘The Monk’ by Matthew Lewis is also a great bit of over-the-top fun.
1810 1818 – Frankenstien

1818 – Northanger Abbey

A Gothic classic and one of the best parodies in literature. Two essential reads.
1840 1840 – Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque

1847 – Wuthering Heights

1847 – Jane Eyre

Edgar Allen Poe in America and the Brontës in England. What a great decade for the Gothic!
1850 1859 – The Woman in White Why beautiful women are a liability
1860 1862 – Lady Audley’s Secret Never trust saintly-looking women
1870 1871 – Carmilla Sexy vampire ladies – Bram Stoker read it here first.
1880 1886 – Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde The Gothic moves to the city. With Victorian fog the urban landscape can be as scary and labyrinthine as any ruined castle.   This is also a welcome return to philosophical Gothic, think Frankenstein rather than Lady A’s Secret.
1890 1891 – The Picture of Dorian Gray

1897 – Dracula

1898 – The Turn of the Screw

Philosophy and horror, the scares here are psychological rather than sensational. Or you can just read Dracula
1930 1938 – Rebecca Isolated mansions are still scary places, even in the 20th century.
1940 1946 – Titus Groan (Gormenghast v. 1) Traumatised, post-war Gothic – escape into a grotesque medieval fantasy world
1950 1950 – Gormenghast (Gormenghast v.2)

1957 – Titus Alone  (Gormenghast v. 3)

– the traumatic, grotesque fantasy continues…
1970 1976 – Interview with a Vampire

1979 – The Bloody Chamber

Southern Gothic – I know I haven’t dealt with this incredible genre and this is only a token cross-over book, but it’s set in New Orleans and does tick the boxes for a good Gothic read.The end of the decade also gives us Feminist Gothic – and the creation of a new text for A level and university students to study for ever.
2000 2005 – Twilight Gothic for the 21st Century!

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