gothic fiction

genre or mode of literature and film that combines fiction and horror, death, and at times romance

Gothic fiction, sometimes called Gothic horror in the 20th century, is a genre of literature and film that covers horror, death, and at times, romance. It is said to derive from the English author Horace Walpole's 1764 novel The Castle of Otranto, later subtitled "A Gothic Story". Early contributors included Clara Reeve, Ann Radcliffe, William Thomas Beckford and Matthew Lewis. It tends to stress emotion and a pleasurable terror that expands the Romantic literature of the time. The common "pleasures" were the sublime, which indescribably "takes us beyond ourselves." Such extreme Romanticism was popular throughout Europe, especially among English and German-language authors. Its 19th-century success peaked with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and work by E. T. A. Hoffmann, Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Dickens, and in poetry with Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Also prominent was the later Dracula by Bram Stoker, Richard Marsh's The Beetle and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. The name Gothic spread from the Goths to mean "German". It also draws in Gothic architecture of the European Middle Ages, where many of the stories occur. Twentieth-century contributors include Daphne du Maurier, Stephen King, Shirley Jackson, Anne Rice and Toni Morrison.
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