What ever happened to Gothic Romances?

Randy M.

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2012
Messages
2,010
Jane Eyre as a Gothic paperback:
cover.jpg

I really like this. It's like the product of someone eating a stack of Edward Gorey books while watching an Audrey Hepburn marathon.

Randy M.
 

Randy M.

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2012
Messages
2,010
Now I'm starting to visualize an imaginary Mad magazine cover, with a fleeing form in the foreground showing an Alfred E. Neuman-type gap-toothed face, and some menacing figure in the background in front of the old house with the one light on. We shall imagine the cover as appeaing on an issue published between 1968 and 1972. Your nominations for the menacing figure? I propose Spiro Agnew or Tiny Tim.

Or, a slightly different take: The castle/apartment house in the background, in the lighted window a crib from which peeks Alfred E. Neuman while in the foreground a terrified Mia Farrow is high-tailin' it.


Randy M.
 

Extollager

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2010
Messages
7,806
Thanks for the info. Definitely will keep and eye open for this one. Really would like to find the 60 center Victoria posted.

That's Nicolson's Fingers of fear. I may be able to get hold of an interlibrary loan copy. If I do & if I read it, maybe I can report here.
 

Randy M.

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2012
Messages
2,010
For anyone interested, The Magazine of Science Fiction & Fantasy has a recurring section written by various authors about unusual and little-known books.

Curiosities

Search for Stefen Dziemianowicz for a brief comment on Fingers of Fear.


Randy M.
 

Teresa Edgerton

Goblin Princess
Staff member
Joined
Nov 1, 2004
Messages
14,698
Location
California
(Uncle Silas is an incredible book. One of my favorites. Uncle Silas and the governess Madame de la Rougierre are terrific characters, and certain passages of the prose are very nearly sublime.)

I used to read a lot of books in that genre, forty years or so ago, Victoria. I think what happened to it was that as interest waned those that were still being written (by authors popular enough that they were still being published, like Victoria Holt) were absorbed into the larger category of romantic suspense.

I believe they are both getting a bit of a revival through electronic publishing, but nothing like the popularity they used to have, when I could go into any supermarket or drug store and find the spinner racks full of terrified maidens fleeing brooding mansions.
 

Randy M.

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2012
Messages
2,010
(Uncle Silas is an incredible book. One of my favorites. Uncle Silas and the governess Madame de la Rougierre are terrific characters, and certain passages of the prose are very nearly sublime.)
[...]

Another on Mount TBR. I now want to dig it out, maybe read it this Fall, along with The Moonstone, another I'm woefully behind reading.

Randy M.
 

Extollager

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2010
Messages
7,806
It's 28 years since I read Uncle Silas. Honestly, I don't remember being greatly impressed, but maybe I'd like it more a second time.

Would there be interest in a discussion thread on the book under the Literary Fiction heading? Or the Horror heading?
 

Randy M.

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2012
Messages
2,010
I'd be interested, but can't swear I'll get to it. I have a long habit of compiling lists of books I expect to read the next month (or vacation, or semester, or season, ...), starting a pile of them and then reading stuff from other piles.


Randy M.
 

Extollager

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2010
Messages
7,806
Teresa, what would you recommend -- a discussion of Uncle Silas under Horror or under Literary Fiction (or...)...?
 

crystal haven

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2007
Messages
1,213
I think the genre is still there, but as Teresa said it has become romantic suspense, historical romance by authors such as Amanda Quick, for instance. I also think the women in these novels tend to be stronger now. Gothic romance can be found on Amazon under that heading. My book has been classed as Gothic by quite a few readers.
 

Teresa Edgerton

Goblin Princess
Staff member
Joined
Nov 1, 2004
Messages
14,698
Location
California
Teresa, what would you recommend -- a discussion of Uncle Silas under Horror or under Literary Fiction (or...)...?

Literary fiction, I think. It's not really horror, except by association, since the author is primarily known for his ghost stories. His novels (and I would include Uncle Silas) tend to strike me as the literary equivalent of sensation stories.

I would agree with the gothic classification for Suzanne's book, The Beguiler.
 

Extollager

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2010
Messages
7,806
Nicolson's Fingers of Fear (1937; reprinted 2015) arrived today (interlibrary loan). It seems to be more an old movie-style haunted house story than a distressed-lady-fleeing-dark-house-with-one-lighted-window affair. The narrator and protagonist is a divorced ordinary sensual man who's taken a job for which he isn't qualified, living at the big old country house of an acquaintance and cataloging an enormous library. Big, scary dogs surround the car when the two men arrive. He wakes up after his first night with a big hickey. In the morning he sees a pretty ghost, but first has breakfast and meets the wide-mouthed, interesting sister of his employer. Not sure I will stay with it.
 

Extollager

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2010
Messages
7,806
Yep, decided to drop Fingers of Fear after reading to about page 55. The author seems to want to pour together about as quickly as possible various conventional horror cliches -- ghosts in the library, spectral hands, savage dogs, gory deaths, incest, vampirism, etc etc. Did the author think that if he kept the "shocking" stuff coming rapidly enough, the reader would try to ignore improbabilities even for a story of this type? This was reprinted recently, and there's something to be said for the revival of undeservedly forgotten literary works. But there are also deservedly forgotten literary works...so, onward and elsewhere.
 

Connavar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2007
Messages
8,411
I'd be interested in discussing Uncle Silas. It would give me an excuse to read it again.

Carmilla, In a Glass Darkly i have read of Le Fanu i have enjoyed very much from those kind classic horror, of his era. It would be great to finally read Uncle Silas. Le Fanu i havent read a few years but remember falling for his writing, his atmosphere. Reading Uncle Silas would a good excuse to talk about Le Fanu.
 

Connavar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2007
Messages
8,411
This thread has so many wonderful book covers, titles but i was wondering are there any author, any of these books that can be compared to the quality of classic Gothic novels? Or are they just sensation, gothic romances, more of the quality of books you see are being sold in grocery stores 40 years ago or today? In short are any of these books as good, creepy,weird as the covers?

I mean when i think about gothic horror,the classic novels of that field, i think Radcliffe, Wahpole, Beckford, Le Fanu,Lewis etc
 

Wruter

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2015
Messages
423
This thread has so many wonderful book covers, titles but i was wondering are there any author, any of these books that can be compared to the quality of classic Gothic novels? Or are they just sensation, gothic romances, more of the quality of books you see are being sold in grocery stores 40 years ago or today? In short are any of these books as good, creepy,weird as the covers?

I mean when i think about gothic horror,the classic novels of that field, i think Radcliffe, Wahpole, Beckford, Le Fanu,Lewis etc
Well, these are designed from the ground up to be "pulp" novels. They're created and defined by a preordained set of publisher requirements - style, length, content and very likely how quickly they could be written. I'm not sure the notion of "literary" enters into the equation. Yes, they're formulaic and undemanding - but that's the point. I'm not sure if those precursor classic authors or titles like Rebecca are even part of the same discussion.
 

Similar threads


Top