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What are the characteristics of the Gothic Romance?
#1
I've only recently become curious enough to dwell a little deeper when it comes to Gothic romances, so pardon my ignorance.

I've read what you would consider your 'typical' Gothic romances, novels by the Bronte sisters, and here's my question:

What makes a Gothic romance? Are there any set pre-requisites? A formula? Why do you find this genre so appealing (i.e It provides 'escape', etc.). Is there a particular style in terms of diction and syntax? Can it be set in modern times, or does it have to be written in a certain time period.
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#2
I think that if you read through the other posts, you'll find that each person defines a Gothic romance slightly differently. However, what we do agree on is that the story must be suspenseful, contain a mystery of some kind that is revealed at the end, and has some romance into it. If you read various Gothics you'll see that the mix is not always equal.

There are obviously subgenres of Gothics, but we need not get into all that now. We could have a very big discussion on that.

Gothics traditionally were set in historical times and if you wanted historical accuracy, the style should reflect that. Nothing irritates me more about reading an historical novel than to hear characters talk in modern language. It would be different if I were to read a history text, using modern language to explain the past, or if the narrator is from the present retelling a legend (but you don't find that kind of book except for children).

The Gothic romance has evolved to the point where it hardly resembles the traditional Gothics you find with the Bronte sisters. More typical modern Gothics are now referred to as romantic suspense. But even there, you'll find a big mix.

What do I like about Gothics? As an avid reader, I like any books that have suspense, mystery and romance. However, I prefer the mystery and suspense over the romance. Therefore, my favorites will always feature stronger mysteries and heavier suspense. I like the feeling of getting goosebumps (as a child, I loved hearing ghost stories), having my heart race. It's like being on a thrill ride. Some may call it 'escape', but it's almost like living vicariously through the characters who experience danger, because most of us never experience any of that. Most of us probably don't care to experience any of it in real life either.

Like several others in this forum, I prefer the historical setting, but there is no real 'formula' for Gothics anymore. If a new author were willing to write historical Gothics again, I'm sure that person would be very popular on this forum.
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#3
MysteryMind Wrote:...Living vicariously through the characters who experience danger, because most of us never experience any of that.

I absolutely adore that sentence!

Thank you for your reply. I simply love reading people's 'in depth' opinions. Especially when they're supported by logical explanations.

I was reading The Witching Hour, by Anne Rice, and I noticed similarities seen in Gothic Romances. I don't know if it would be considered one, but regardless, it amusing.

I'm currently trying to write what i hope to be story fitting the genre, though I'm not completely sure of what it is, exactly. There is mystery involved, romance, and the supernatural, but my main character would be what you call a 'byronic hero', and male.

I'll be looking in previous posts to see which Gothic Romances people recommend the most to acquaint myself more with the genre.
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#4
Epigraph Wrote:I'm currently trying to write what i hope to be story fitting the genre, though I'm not completely sure of what it is, exactly. There is mystery involved, romance, and the supernatural, but my main character would be what you call a 'byronic hero', and male.

Sounds cool. I'd love to hear more as you go through the process!

Personally, I like the Byronic hero, as long as he's not too alpha male. :0)
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#5
Desdemona Wrote:Personally, I like the Byronic hero, as long as he's not too alpha male. :0)

Oh, trust me, he's by no chance an alpha male! Which frustrates me sometimes, since I'm not as submissive as he, so he irritates me sometimes. He's a tormented, tortured romantic suffering one tragedy after another.

The basic story is more or less...

Set in the middle, to late Victorian era, and is basically the 'prologue' to a supernatural romance novel a friend and I started to write a while back. Sheer entertainment, on my part. I really want to have a small volume published for myself with a collection of my incompleted short stories, or plots, as well as poetry and character analysis.

The story focuses on a 21 year old gentleman, Jan, who goes back to England to tend to his sick mother, along with his cousin (and former fiance), Mina. His mother is being cared for by a mysterious woman, Lady Chandelle, who has her eye on him.

First little segment can be found here, if you're interested. I always love hearing what people think!

http://epigraph.deviantart.com/art/Noctu...a-80642248
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#6
Annnd I just found a little more info on the topic, for those who're interested:

http://www.brocku.ca/english/courses/2F55/romance.html

http://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/...elcome.htm
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#7
Epigraph Wrote:Annnd I just found a little more info on the topic, for those who're interested:

http://www.brocku.ca/english/courses/2F55/romance.html

http://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/...elcome.htm

Rolleyes
Hi, i am a new member, i was serching about gothic romance and by chance i found this formum it is so nice because i study English literature and i like this.
So, thank you alot
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#8
Wow, your Byronic hero sounds yummy!
Shades of Mr. Rochester!

The new recent adaptation was good, but pretty much shunned any of the key supernatural elements.

Did anyone watch the Jane Austen adaptations on Masterpiece Theatre this spring? The Northanger Abbey one wasn't bad, but the original BBC one from 1997 was very creepy indeed.

So yes, mystery, suspense, people not being what they seem, or you think one thing is going on, but there is really more to the situation than meets the eye.

Good historical settings--I like Alice Borchardt's novels set in the Dark Ages, very sexy, and I think she did a Viking one too?

And the romance-it does not have to be the erotica that they are passing off as Gothic these days, but a bit of passion and danger involved in falling in love with seemingly the wrong man, or the right man once the heroine gets past the surface, makes for tension and suspense as well.

The only author I've seen who does that consistently is Sorcha MacMurrough. She writes in several different time periods, medieval to Victorian, but The Rakehell Regency series is definitely Gothic, with tiny hints of the supernatural. She is an Irish author, but you can get hold of PDF downloads of her books at http://www.HerStoryBooks.com

If we wanted a lot of supernatural elements, we would read paranormal romances. I just find them dull. The so called suspense romance genre is too much suspense, not enough romance!

Barbara Michaels keeps us guessing as well, woman in peril, is the hero a good guy or isn't he. I got her whole back list from Booksfree.com and really enjoyed the one set in old Williamsburg.

Christine Feehan, the non-carpathian ones, very good-there was one set in Italy where the hero thought he was cursed, and it turned out to be, er, ... won't give too much away there.
she can't really write love scenes, though, which is a problem when they appear so often and for so many pages.
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#9
Something gothic romances tend to have in common is a danger within the domestic setting. Classics such as Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Rebecca all have something for the woman to fear inside her own home or domestic environment.

Gothic romances demonstrate to the reader that it's not what's outside that we need to fear.
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#10
Heathcliffe's girl. Wrote:Something gothic romances tend to have in common is a danger within the domestic setting. Classics such as Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Rebecca all have something for the woman to fear inside her own home or domestic environment.

Gothic romances demonstrate to the reader that it's not what's outside that we need to fear.

Interesting. You could say that some of the turmoil can be inside the heroine as well. Fears of the past, etc.
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