John William Polidori: The Man Who Wrote ‘The Vampyre’

Bela Lugosi Dracula

John Polidori was a promising writer who died tragically young. His reputation has suffered at the pens of the Byron circle, of which he was briefly a member, and their biographers. He is best known for his story ‘The Vampyre’ (1819), which created the modern myth of the aristocratic undead that endures to this day.… Continue reading John William Polidori: The Man Who Wrote ‘The Vampyre’

A Very Popular Murder: The Narratology of Jack the Ripper

The piece originally appeared in Blot the Skrip and Jar It, September 15, 2014. So, among all the other poignant, pointless and terrifying news stories that broke last week, it was announced in a Daily Mail ‘world exclusive’ that the hunt for the true identity of Jack the Ripper was over (again). Journalists across the… Continue reading A Very Popular Murder: The Narratology of Jack the Ripper

De Quincey and The Gothic

Dore Ancient Mariner

Thomas De Quincey (1785 – 1859) was a prolific periodical writer. He is usually aligned historically with the early English Romantics, and is best known for his remarkable autobiography Confessions of an English Opium Eater (1821), and the satirical treatise ‘On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts’ (1827). De Quincey rarely wrote gothic… Continue reading De Quincey and The Gothic

A Gothic Chronology

This is a resource I initially put together when lecturing Gothic fiction about ten years ago which I’ve now attempted to update. It is relatively straightforward to compile a list of primary sources for the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries but after that it gets tricky, firstly because it becomes more difficult to categorise within the… Continue reading A Gothic Chronology

Things That Walk

In her book on ‘graveyard hunting,’ The London Burial Grounds (1896), Mrs. Isabella Holmes describes All Souls’ Cemetery at Kensal Green as ‘truly awful,’ decrying ‘its catacombs, its huge mausoleums, family vaults, statues, broken pillars, weeping images, and oceans of tombstones’ (Holmes: 1896, 256).

Gothic Film: A Brief History

Gothic films are at once very easy and very difficult to categorise. Within the wider context of the “horror” genre, gothic films are linked directly to the literary gothic of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, often adapting the original novels – for example: F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu (Germany, 1922), Tod Browning’s Dracula and James Whale’s Frankenstein… Continue reading Gothic Film: A Brief History

‘Of Magic and Terror, and Mysterious Symbols’: Batman and the Discourse of the Literary Gothic

‘Of Magic and Terror, and Mysterious Symbols’: Batman and the Discourse of the Literary Gothic Stephen James Carver Ph.D. Previously unpublished, paper originally presented at the American Image/Text Conference, University of East Anglia, Norwich, June, 2011 Copyright © SJ Carver 2011, 2013 Like the reflection of Poe’s House of Usher in the ‘black and lurid… Continue reading ‘Of Magic and Terror, and Mysterious Symbols’: Batman and the Discourse of the Literary Gothic

The ‘Design of Romance’: Rookwood, Scott and the Gothic

In a preface added to Rookwood for the edition of 1849, Ainsworth describes in some detail the construction of his famous romance (1). Like his first novel Sir John Chiverton (1826, written in collaboration with J.P. Aston), the inspiration for Rookwood came initially from the gothic charge which the author associated with an ancient building:… Continue reading The ‘Design of Romance’: Rookwood, Scott and the Gothic