Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
How do you define 'classic gothics'?
#11
GothicLover Wrote:
Desdemona Wrote:
GothicLover Wrote:There is a confusion regarding the word "gothic" because of its recent adoption by those who call their music gothic and/or those who dress all in black with pale white faces. I would suspect that those groups gravitate more toward horror gothics than gothic romances. I believe the intent of this forum is to discuss gothic romance novels.

Whoa. Hold on there. I listen to gothic music, but I don't walk around in black with a pale face. I'm in auditing! AND, the assumption that certain people only like certain books is stereotyping. So because I like gothic music, I am more likely to only like horror gothic? People with gothic interests read many things, including beach books, literature, nonfiction etc.

Whoa. Hold on there. Note I said "and/or" and "I would suspect" not "are more likely." No offense intended. Thanks for enlightening me about "people with gothic interests."

No offense taken! Thanks! Cool
Reply
#12
I think it might not be fair to distinguish the "classics" as pre-2oth century. It should be those works that stand out in the Gothic genre and/or have influenced later Gothic works. For example, "Rebecca" has long been considerd a "Classic Gothic", yet it is not 20th century.
Reply
#13
whitelady Wrote:I think it might not be fair to distinguish the "classics" as pre-2oth century.  It should be those works that stand out in the Gothic genre and/or have influenced later Gothic works.  For example, "Rebecca" has long been considerd a "Classic Gothic", yet it is not 20th century.

I agree! Those with an academic bent may not, however. I think the point should be to make the distinction meaningful to those seeking good gothic romances to read, rather than classifying them relative to other types and genres of literature from an academic perspective.
Reply
#14
In order to make this forum less confusing, I think we need to start defining what we mean when we refer to different types of Gothics. If everyone has a different idea, we cannot understand each other.

The section on "Classic Gothic" per the administrator states "early and standard works of Gothic". This sounds to me like it is defining it in terms of the more academic Gothic books. Perhaps we should ask for a separate section devoted to discussion of those Gothic books most of us currently on this forum prefer. But we would need to come up with a new subcategory. I've mentioned a few that might not be palatable to some, but any suggestions are welcomed.

(As for "Rebecca", I believe we should have a group discussion of that book. I loved it when I first read it but that was about 20 years ago. I don't know how I would feel about it reading it now. As GothicLover says, some may not consider "Rebecca" a classic, strictly in academic terms.)
Reply
#15
I think the administrator's definition of Classic Gothics as "early and standard works" of (I assume) gothic romance is entirely adequate. What we need to clarify, perhaps, is what "standard works" encompasses.

I've described what I think a "classic gothic romance" contains before. Three key ingredients: romance, life-threatening suspense, and a puzzle/mystery. Classic gothics are typically (but not always) historical and set in a castle or mansion. They usually contain one or more gothic elements: secret passages, dungeons, ghosts (or pseudo ghosts), threats on the heroine's life, etc.

I think it may be important to consider whether the story is character driven or plot driven. Classic gothics are typically character driven. The heroine is typically unsure whether she can trust the hero or, in many cases, has to choose between two potential heroes, one of which may be the villain.

Romantic Suspense is a genre coined by publicists to make gothic novels more saleable. These are typically set in the present day, and the character- plot-driven distinction is not made; you see both types in this genre.

Just some thoughts. What do others think?
Reply
#16
Although I agree with your idea of a "Classic" Gothic, I wanted to make a distinction between the works of Gothic presented in the pre-20th century era and those of the 20th century. I feel there is a lot of difference between the two types, in characterization and plot.

The "formula" for more modern Gothics (such as you mentioned) really started with "Jane Eyre". However, I would still classify "Jane Eyre" as Gothic in literary terms because of the fact that it was the leader in its genre.

As for romantic suspense, I think some can be classified as Gothic, but some are just mystery thrillers with a little romance. The earlier ones (from the 1950s-1970s) are probably more like Gothics. However, more recent ones are harder to distinguish. As an example, I've read some Mary Higgins Clark mysteries that could be classified as Gothic and many others as "romantic suspense" or "romantic mystery". So many mysteries these days contain some element of romance that it would be preposterous to call all of them Gothics. What makes one a Gothic romance and another a mystery with romance? It's hard to define, but I believe hard-core Gothic romance lovers can detect a subtle difference between the two. Modern settings may not provide the "ambiance" or "atmosphere" of more traditional Gothics, yet you can't rule-out a Gothic based on just setting.
Reply
#17
How about calling the pre-20th-century gothic romances you refer to that are different in characterization and plot "Early Gothics" or "Early Gothic Romances" or "Early Classic Gothic Romances"? Then we could call what we now relate to as classic gothic romances "Classic Gothic Romances."

I actually lean more toward calling the early ones "Early Gothics," rather than "Early Gothic Romances" or Early Classic Gothic Romances" because some of the early ones were more horror type novels than gothic romances. Some had unhappy endings, too. There are actually relatively few Early Gothics, so I'd hate to compromise the whole name of our forum by having to add another adjective to it to describe what most of us consider Gothic Romance Novels.

Regarding your take on Romantic Suspense, I agree with most of what you said, Paigenumber, but I encourage you to not get hung up on the spine label "romantic suspense." I learned long ago that spine labels are merely marketing tools for book publishers and publicists. They fall in and out of favor at the whim of marketing departments. That's why I get back to the three key ingredients for a gothic romance: Romance, life-threatening suspense, and a puzzle/mystery. That allows the broadest range of readers to be interested in the forum without sacrificing its main thrust. Some readers will prefer more mystery than romance, but they still enjoy a romance in the book. Some like more romance than mystery. Some value the suspense element, but still want a romance in their books. Some require a happy ending; others don't.

If you just require the three ingredients to call a book a gothic romance, you will widen your audience and allow sub-groups with varying tastes to thrive under that general umbrella. If you try to get picky and say this forum is only for readers of classic gothic romances, you will narrow and confuse your audience and be constantly arguing about whether a book falls within your genre or not.

Under the general Gothic Romance umbrella I've described above, you could allow the following sub-genres:
*Early Gothics
*Classic Gothic Romance
*Romantic Suspense (as long as the suspense is life threatening and there is a puzzle/mystery)
*Romantic Mystery (as long as there is life-threatening suspense and a developing romance)
*Woman-in-jeopardy Romance (as long as there is a puzzle/mystery)
*Paranormal Romance (as long as there is life-threatening suspense and a puzzle/mystery; this includes werewolves, shape shifters, ghosts, vampires, psychics, etc.)

What do others think?
Reply
#18
GothicLover Wrote:Under the general Gothic Romance umbrella I've described above, you could allow the following sub-genres:
*Early Gothics
*Classic Gothic Romance
*Romantic Suspense (as long as the suspense is life threatening and there is a puzzle/mystery)
*Romantic Mystery (as long as there is life-threatening suspense and a developing romance)
*Woman-in-jeopardy Romance (as long as there is a puzzle/mystery)
*Paranormal Romance (as long as there is life-threatening suspense and a puzzle/mystery; this includes werewolves, shape shifters, ghosts, vampires, psychics, etc.)

What do others think?

I think the breakdown may bring in more people, but I think you can lump Romantic Suspense with Romantic Mystery and Woman-in-Jeopardy Romance and call it Romantic Suspense. You'd also have to include horror in the paranormal - not gore, but horror in the sense of possession, the occult, etc.
Reply
#19
Whether this is true or not, I don't know, but I was researching, and this is what Dean Koontz wrote in regards to 'traditional' Gothic Romances:

"A young heroine, alone in the world and often an orphan, goes to an old and isolated house to take a new job as a secretary, governess, nurse, or traveling companion to a motherless child or older woman in a family of some financial means.

Everyone in the house is a stranger to her. At the house, the heroine meets a cast of suspicious characters (servants, the master or lady of the house, usually one or two sons
of the lady, neighbors) and soon finds herself plunged into some mystery—either of supernatural or more mundane origins, most often concerning the death of someone in the house.

Inexplicably, she becomes the target of the supernatural or mundane killer's attacks—or else, because she begins to snoop around in hopes of discovering what's happening, she becomes fair game for the murderer. Concurrent with the development of
this mystery plot is the growth of a romance between the heroine and one of the young men in the household or in the household of a neighbor; or between her and the master, if
he is unmarried or a widower.

Either this man is her only safe haven in the dark events of the story—or he is as much a suspect as any of the other characters. If he is the only character with whom she can have a romantic relationship, he should always turn out to be the good guy she wants to think he is, for the conclusion of a

Gothic must always promise marriage or the development of genuine love between heroine and hero. If the story has two handsome men, you can let her fall in love with one and fear the other—but plot the story so that her favorite turns out to be the killer, while the man she fears becomes the one who really cares for her. This is a popular Gothic gimmick that never
seems to lose its appeal, no matter how often it is used. The only variant on this plot that is commonly used is to have the orphaned heroine go to live in a house with her last living relatives. If you take this tack, remember that the relatives must be distant and all but strangers to the heroine."
Reply
#20
Epigraph Wrote:Whether this is true or not, I don't know, but I was researching, and this is what Dean Koontz wrote in regards to 'traditional' Gothic Romances:

Yes, that is, in a nutshell, a description of a traditional gothic romance plot. Gothic romance lovers who encounter a book like this will probably say to themselves, "Aha! This is a familiar friend. I am greatly looking forward to spending time with this book!"

The description makes the traditional gothic romance sound quite formulaic. What I appreciate in such a book is when the author brings something new and fresh to that formula, such as carefully researched period detail, an unexpected twist to the plot or a plot device, and so on. The allure of these books promises that, at best, and at least a comfortable sojourn in a familiar plot. Either way, the gothic romance lover is usually satisfied.

To get back to the thrust of this thread, perhaps "traditional" is the word we were seeking to describe such books and differentiate them from "classic" gothic romances, which might then refer to the early works that one studies in literature classes.

Thanks for your thoughts and for offering this as a possibility!
Reply


Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  What's your favorite classic gothic book? readertim 22 60,775 08-18-2014, 12:23 PM
Last Post: Ewan Wilson
  Classic Gothics online? Des Esseintes 7 21,695 06-06-2013, 06:51 PM
Last Post: bigred904
  What's the last classic Gothic that you read? readertim 4 15,339 04-28-2012, 02:11 PM
Last Post: romanticdress
  Do many schools have classes about classic Gothics? readertim 10 19,060 05-01-2009, 03:20 PM
Last Post: romanticdress
  Who's your favorite classic author? readertim 11 23,085 02-08-2009, 01:00 AM
Last Post: Valancourt

Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)