Reading the Gothic in the 21st Century

Reading the GothicDarkness, mystery, eeriness, the supernatural, setting, isolation, and morality – a combination of these components forms the skeleton of the Gothic genre. Whilst its origins are often attributed to Horace Walpole’sThe Castle of Otranto, the genre evolved into famous classic novels such as Dracula and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde subsequently leading to modern works like The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories and The Wasp Factory. With the advancement of technology in the 20thand 21stcenturies, the platform of cinema has embraced the Gothic by spinning existing tales into visual masterpieces and creating original stories inspired by the genre, increasing its accessibility. From reading classic and modern pieces to viewing cinema in the 21stcentury, the Gothic still retains its charm in serving as an escapism into a fantastical world, spooking and prompting questions of morality along the way.

The Allure

Suspense

And she is all the time trying to climb through. But nobody could climb through that pattern—it strangles so; I think that is why it has so many heads

– The Yellow Wallpaper (1892) Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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Essays in the Art of Writing

Essays in the Art of Writing 2This collection, by Robert Louis Stevenson, contains seven essays of which the first two are much longer than the others. They first essay ‘On Some Technical Elements of Style in Literature’ is somewhat boring as there’s nothing really new to learn that other writers haven’t discussed more clearly. Stevenson distinguishes between prose and verse, and then continues by using the following four classifications 1- Choice of Words, 2- The Web, 3- Rhythm of the Phrase, 4- Contents of the Phrase’ to discuss further the elements of style in writing.

It is at the second essay ‘The Morality of the Profession of Letters’ that the collection became alive, with passages like:

A writer can live by his writing. If not so luxuriously as by other trades, then less luxuriously. The nature of the work he does all day will more affect his happiness than the quality of his dinner at night.

– and this was published back in 1912! Even then, successful writers struggled with the question of earning a living as a writer. Another passage: Read More