What is Gothic Horror? 18 Examples of the Genre | Book Riot

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by Annika Barranti Klein

Pinning down what, precisely, makes a story gothic horror is a tricky task. Is it the house? To be certain, I have never seen a gothic horror story that doesn’t have a location as a primary character, and often antagonist. Is it the woman? It seems likely that there are one or two stories that fall under the genre and center a non-female character. Is it the terrifying sense of foreboding? Well, now we are onto something. The New York Public Library traces the roots of gothic fiction to Horace Walpole’s 1764 The Castle of Otranto. They say: “The battle between humanity and unnatural forces of evil (sometimes man-made, sometimes supernatural) within an oppressive, inescapable, and bleak landscape is considered to be the true trademark of a gothic horror novel.” Gothic romance, which can have a happier ending, tends to focus on a relationship in peril (see: Jane Eyre, Rebecca, Dragonwyck), so it follows that gothic horror focus not on a romantic relationship but on other personal (and sometimes external) demons. …”

What is Gothic Horror? 18 Examples of the Genre | Book Riot