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I'm trying to write a Gothic mystery set in hte 1820's and I'm just wondering if anyone knows of any books I can read for inspiration. I am not going for a Victorian Gothic novel with vampires and velvet because I want it to be a little less Bram Stoker and a bit more like Wilkie Collins' "The Woman in White". Does anyone else know of any I can read?
If you like Wilkie Collins, the stories of M. R. James might be good inspiration.
I would think you would have a problem with going further back than the Victorians as they pretty much invented Gothic I thought.
Gothic structure is only about being in a visual representation of the mind anyway, with all the crypts where we hide our repressions and the cloisters and tunnels of our suppressed desires.
1820's was at the start of discovery and adventure through colonisation etc - Gothic was about it all coming back home to roost.
Well, the Victorians were more famous for Gothic but that genre started during the Romantic era. That was the rea when the first novella which included vampires was written. It was called "The Vampyre" but I forget who wrote it. I had to study it in ym Romantic Lit course. Really interesting genre!
The Monk, by Matthew G. Lewis, was one of the first two gothic novels written in English. It was written in the last decade of the 17th century. Good reading and a lot different from the stereotypes of velvet-wrapped vampyrs. Even Jane Austen lauds it in her novel Northanger Abbey.
Though they are not specifically Gothic, I thought I might mention that William Faulkner and Flannery O'Conner are often called Southern Gothic for their dark tone and somber subject matter. A great book to introduce the dark world of Faulkner is "As I Lay Dying."
Probably wont help you much, but 'Northanger Abbey', by Jane Austen. It's a parody of Gothic fiction, though, rather than a serious Gothic tale. Ann Radcliffe, the writer Jane Austen was probably directly parodying, may fall into the area of Gothic fiction that you're not interested in - though, she's also one of the ones that many think created the genre in the first place.
I recommend 'The Yellow Wallpaper' by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. It's only a short story, but it really had an effect on me when I read it a while back. It is quite "creepy," as they say.
The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis is the second known gothic novel that is still in print. I adored it.
Jane Austin's Northanger Abbey is a HILLARIOUS spoof of gothic fiction that any gothic literature lover will enjoy.
The Bronte sisters' novels are also excellent gothic literature.
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