Gothic Classics

We all love classics. Whether it’s Pride and Prejudice or it’s the Great Gatsby, it doesn’t quite matter. Gothic Classics are the classics that combines fiction,  horror, death, and even romance at times. Here’s a list of some amazing Gothic Classics that you should read if you enjoy horror!

Jane Austen’s first novel—published posthumously in 1818—tells the story of Catherine Morland and her dangerously sweet nature, innocence, and sometime self-delusion. Though Austen’s fallible heroine is repeatedly drawn into scrapes while vacationing at Bath and during her subsequent visit to Northanger Abbey, Catherine eventually triumphs, blossoming into a discerning woman who learns truths about love, life, and the heady power of literature. The satirical novel pokes fun at the Gothic novel while earnestly emphasizing caution to the female sex.-Goodreads

As a fan of Jane Austen, I was surprised to discover this one! I personally haven’t read Northanger Abbey, but even if it is poking fun at the Gothic novels, it is still considered a Gothic classic!

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .

The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave. –Goodreads

Who hasn’t heard of Daphne Du Maurier?! She is the face of all romantic Gothic classics! So many people prefer Rebecca over all the other classics and if you read it, you’ll discover why!

 

Orphaned as a child, Jane has felt an outcast her whole young life. Her courage is tested once again when she arrives at Thornfield Hall, where she has been hired by the brooding, proud Edward Rochester to care for his ward Adèle. Jane finds herself drawn to his troubled yet kind spirit. She falls in love. Hard.

But there is a terrifying secret inside the gloomy, forbidding Thornfield Hall. Is Rochester hiding from Jane? Will Jane be left heartbroken and exiled once again?-Goodreads

Once again we come across another classic that I didn’t realize would fall into the Gothic classic genre! Though, it has everything needed to be considered a Gothic classic!

Wuthering Heights, first published in 1847, the year before the author’s death at the age of thirty, endures today as perhaps the most powerful and intensely original novel in the English language. The epic story of Catherine and Heathcliff plays out against the dramatic backdrop of the wild English moors, and presents an astonishing metaphysical vision of fate and obsession, passion and revenge. -Goodreads

Another Bronte on the list! I guess they have something in common! Interesting tidbit I wasn’t aware of: this is Emily Bronte‘s only novel.

Enthralled by his own exquisite portrait, Dorian Gray exchanges his soul for eternal youth and beauty. Influenced by his friend Lord Henry Wotton, he is drawn into a corrupt double life, indulging his desires in secret while remaining a gentleman in the eyes of polite society. Only his portrait bears the traces of his decadence. The Picture of Dorian Gray was a succès de scandale. Early readers were shocked by its hints at unspeakable sins, and the book was later used as evidence against Wilde at the Old Bailey in 1895.-Goodreads

Though I’ve never read this book, reading the summary (placed above in italics) makes it go onto my to-be-read shelf!

The scientist Victor Frankenstein, obsessed with possessing the secrets of life, creates a new being from the bodies of the dead. But his creature is a twisted, gruesome parody of a man who, rejected for his monstrous appearance, sets out to destroy his maker.

Mary Shelley‘s chilling Gothic tale, conceived after a nightmare in 1816 when she was only eighteen, became a modern myth. It is a disturbing and dramatic exploration of birth and death, creation and destruction, and one of the most iconic horror stories of all time.-Goodreads

I haven’t read Frankenstein but I knew Mary Shelley‘s story would land her on this list!

First published in 1897, Dracula by Bram Stoker has become the standard against which all other vampire stories are compared and the inspiration for countless film and stage adaptations. Indeed, the name Dracula has been synonymous with the Undead for at least a century, and the original novel still has the power to chill. Come then to Castle Dracula, hidden in the forbidding peaks of the Carpathian Mountains, where an undying creature of evil casts his sights on unsuspecting England. Voyage on the doomed ship Demeter as it carries a monster out of ancient superstition in search of new life and new blood. Tremble as first one woman, then another succumbs to the unholy thirst of the nosferatu, and as a small band of men and women, horrified by the supernatural forces arrayed against them, risk their lives and their very souls to oppose the evil known only as… Dracula.”-Goodreads

As a fan of vampires, I have to say that Bram Stoker‘s story of Dracula is amazing!

A single person—but with two personalities: one that’s noble and kind and another that’s pure, repulsive evil. Robert Louis Stevenson’s engrossing masterpiece about the dual nature of man—and a good doctor whose thirst for knowledge has tragic consequences—serves up all the suspense and satisfying chills one expects from the best horror and science fiction.-Goodreads

This story is amazing and unique in every way! I’m not surprised that this book appears on lists of Gothic classics.

 

All the books listed above are literary masterpieces, which is why they are now known as classics! Though I’ve personally only read a few on this list, I know many people who enjoy them all! They are all available at APLD!

Comment below and let me know what Gothic Classics I missed and which one is your favorite!

 

Carpe Librum!

 

P.S. Thanks to Goodreads for providing the italicized summaries for this blog!

Classic Literature Anniversaries: Persuasion

200 years ago, Jane Austen’s Persuasion was published and became a widely known book throughout the world. Though Jane is known most for her Pride and Prejudice and her Mansfield Park, Persuasion is just another of her many classics.

Just like her others, Jane Austen sticks to her unique heroines. In Persuasion, Anne Elliot is the oldest of all Jane’s heroines at 27. Eight years before the story starts, she’s betrothed to a naval officer, Frederick Wentworth, but she breaks off the engagement due to the persuasion by her friend, Lady Russell, that such a match is unworthy. The breakup leaves Anne with a deep and long-lasting regret. When Wentworth later returns from sea a rich and successful captain, he finds Anne’s family on the brink of financial ruin and his own sister a tenant on the Elliot estate. The novel centers around one question: Will Ann and Wentworth be reunited in their love?

As always, Jane Austen fills our hearts with love for her characters.

Source: Goodreads

 

Jane Austen’s 200th Death Day

One of the pioneers of women’s authorship, Jane Austen’s 200th death day will be celebrated on July 18, 2017. One of the most renown authors of all time, Austen did not gain fame until after her death in 1817, at 41 years of age.

Born on December 16, 1775 in Steventon, Hampshire, England, Jane Austen was the seventh child and second daughter of well-respected Cassandra and George Austen. Jane was close with all of her siblings, but especially her only sister, Cassandra, and grew up in a home where creativity and learning were cherished. Jane and Cassandra were eventually sent to boarding school for a formal education, but were sent home when both of them caught typhus and Jane nearly died. The rest of her education came from her father and reading whatever she could, including books that belonged to the boys her father tutored.

Jane began writing poems and stories for herself and her family when she was around eleven years old. Twenty-nine works written from 1787 to 1793 are referred to as the Juvenelia of Jane Austen. Many of the works are written as parodies and satire of popular novels of the time. Most of the works were accompanied by watercolors done by Cassandra. Jane also attended church regularly and social functions, where she became an excellent dancer.

Jane’s first publication was Sense and Sensibility, which was published in 1811 by “A Lady” and was well-received. Pride and Prejudice was then published in 1813, followed by Mansfield Park in 1814. By now, Jane was earning enough money to support herself as a professional writer although she never revealed herself except to those in her immediate family. Emma was published in 1815 and Jane dedicated the novel to the Prince Regent, George IV, who admired her novels. Jane completed the first draft of Persuasion in July 1816. Jane was also able to repurchase her copyright to an earlier novel, Lady Susan, an epistolary novella that differs greatly from her other work, for publication.

In 1816, Jane’s health began deteriorating slowly and irregularly with which most scholars have determined to be Addison’s disease and Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She continued to write when she could through her decline, finishing the drafts of novels. Jane died on July 18, 1817 at the age of 41 and is buried at Winchester Cathedral.

After her death, Jane’s siblings and publisher arranged for the publication of Persuasion and Northanger Abbey, revealing that she was the author all along. She was known for her critique of novels from the Regency period, often parodying or mocking plots and characters. She is also known for her strong female characters in a time when girls were meant to be meek. It was not until after her death that her novels became popular and appreciated for how progressive they are.

Join the Aurora Public Library District during the week of July 18 as we celebrate Jane Austen and the great contribution she made to literature. Look for a display during the week of July 18! What is your favorite novel by Jane Austen? How has she impacted how you read or write?

Happy Reading!

Coming Up: Jane Austen’s 200th Death Day

Did you know Jane Austen’s 200th death day is coming up? Check the website for a blog about one of the most influential writers of all time, as well as the Library for a special Jane Austen book display. Here a few books by Jane Austen you can check out from the Aurora Public Library District today to celebrate her life and death:

Pride and Prejudice                       Persuasion

Sense and Sensibility                    Lady Susan

      Emma                                             Mansfield Park

Northanger Abbey

We also have several movies based on the novels of Jane Austen that you can check out as well.