Top Ten Tuesday: Nineteenth Century Gothic

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke And The Bookish. This week’s theme is all about books I’d include on my syllabus if I taught a literature course of my choice.

I’ve included here a combination of books and short stories I’ve already read as well as ones I’d like to read:

1 Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. This doesn’t need much of an introduction, does it? I know this book fairly well because I read it for A’level English and then again at university. It was a ground-breaking piece of fiction back in 1818 and an important landmark in the development of Gothic literature.

2. The Vampyre by John Polidori. This short story is worth reading alongside Frankenstein since they have similar origins. I’ve always been fascinated by the story of how they came to be written.

3. The Signalman by Charles Dickens. This wouldn’t be the blue bore without one reference to Dickens a week, right? You can find tons of examples of the Gothic in Dickens’ work but this short ghost story has always given me the heebie-jeebies.

4. Dracula by Bram Stoker. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve not yet read this but it’s been on my TBR list for ages. Years ago I went to Whitby, the home of Dracula, with some friends and paid £3 to go on a ‘haunted house’ tour which eventually culminated in the four of us being chased shrieking through a dark cellar by a man in a mask. Absolutely mortifying.

5. The Hound Of The Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle. I was thirteen when I read this and it scared me half to death, until I realised the truth about the hound. If you were being pernickety you’d point out that this was published in 1902 and therefore doesn’t belong on my list. I’d say well, it was probably written in the years before that. I wouldn’t know, I’ve conveniently not checked.

6. The Picture Of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. This has been on my shelf for about ten years and I’ve still not got round to it. I love Oscar Wilde’s short stories and I can well imagine that any Gothic novel he wrote would be bloody brilliant too.

7. The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins. This isn’t just one of my favourite works of Gothic literature, it’s one of my favourite novels in the world ever. It’s got wicked plots, villainous villains, mistaken identity, madhouses, ghostly figures in the woods…. Seriously, what’s not to love about this book?

8. The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James. Aah, Mr James, my old nemesis, we meet again. I haven’t attempted this one yet but it sounds great. I just have to get over my appalling fear of Henry James.

9. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. I’ve never been able to decide whether I really love Wuthering Heights or really hate it! But I do like the way Bronte uses the moors to create that brooding intensity. What is it about the Yorkshire landscape that screams Gothic to so many writers?

10. The Fall Of The House Of Usher by Edgar Allen Poe. I’ve not yet read any books by EAP but I’m told this is a particularly good one. I also quite like the sound of The Pit And The Pendulum.

Doesn’t ‘Nineteenth Century Gothic’ sound like a font?

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16 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Nineteenth Century Gothic

    • There are lots of things I love about Wuthering Heights as well as lots of things I’m unsure about. Maybe I just need to read it again to help me make up my mind! Thanks for the comment.

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  1. I took a class like this in college and would LOVE to take your course. (We studied Frankenstein, Dracula, the Picture of Dorian Gray, The Island of Dr. Moreau, etc in my actual college class senior year and it was so fun) I would 110% sign up for your class!!! I haven’t read some of these gothics and know I’d have so much fun discussing them with the class. 🙂

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  2. I LOVE 19th century Gothic novels. I would totally take this class…though I kind of took something similar last semester. I especially love Frankenstein, which ironically we studied in that class. I’d totally add Jane Eyre to this list—personally I think it’s gothic, but I know some people disagree. If it was just ‘gothic literature’, I’d totally add Daphne du Maurier’s works because that woman could write.

    My list

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  3. I love this list! The Woman in White is fabulous. I remember reading it as a teen. It was the book that peaked my interest in gothic fiction.
    Have you read The Italian? Also a awesome gothic novel. And Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey is a great gothic satire (and I’m not even an Austen fan).

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    • I’m kind of ashamed to say that I’ve not read anything by Ann Radcliffe, despite my love of gothic novels. But on the basis of your comment I’ve just ordered The Italian from Amazon so thanks fort the tip! I’m not a big Austen fan either but I’ll look out for Northanger Abbey too. Cheers!

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