The Gothic genre was born when Horace Walpole penned the 1764 novel, The Castle of Otranto. His novel contains all the elements that went on to define the genre, such as the most obvious - a setting in a castle.
Last year I did a Gothic reading challenge and ranked the books according to 10 Gothic elements on the Walpole-O-Meter*:
[Spoiler (click to open)]
1. Setting Is there an old or ruined castle or mansion? Are there secret hiding places? Is the weather terrible?
2. Suspense Mystery or fear is essential. The Gothic novel is all about #mood.
3. Supernatural or inexplicable Events Ghosts. Strange noises, like clanking chains. Candles suddenly blowing out.
4. High, Overwrought Emotion The characters are especially emotional. Angry. Crying. Lots of screaming.
5. A Woman in Distress Fainting almost always will occur!
6. A Powerful, Tyrannical Male The women characters are a target to the man's intimidation or physical threats.
7. A Hero The brooding, sexy character. There will probably be a question first of whether he can be trusted.
8. Vocabulary Words like: "Diabolical"; "Hastened"; "Shrieks"; "Wretched"; "Wrath"; "Darkness".You get the gist.
The rules of the challenge were to read a book per task, then rank each book accordingly:
1 - 2 elements = Not a Gothic
3 - 5 elements = Wannabe Gothic
6 - 8 elements = Walpole Approved!
( 10 books under the cutCollapse )
SOURCES 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
* The Walpole-O-Meter was created for a challenge by a moderator of The Challenge Factory on Goodreads, and I have her permission to use it in this post.
Graphic made by me, using icons made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com which are licensed under CC 3.0 BY (Creative Commons).