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How do you define 'classic gothics'?
#1
How do you define classic gothics? By that, I mean how do you determine what gothic books qualify as classics?
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#2
As I said in my post under "What is Gothic":

The three key ingredients I would use to describe a gothic romance novel are romance, life threatening suspense, and a puzzle or mystery. Within that broader description, one finds the "classic gothic," which usually takes place in a large mansion where threats are made to the heroine's life while she tries to figure out if her potential love interest(s) is (are) good or evil. Gothic elements such as secret passages, ghosts, mazes, dungeons, etc., are often present in classic gothic romances, which can have either a contemporary or historical setting.
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#3
I would define the Classic Gothics the way we define literature, except in this case, Gothics evolved much later than literature. Therefore, Classic Gothics are pre-20th century. These are the books we would most likely study in a literature class.
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#4
paigenumber Wrote:I would define the Classic Gothics the way we define literature, except in this case, Gothics evolved much later than literature.  Therefore, Classic Gothics are pre-20th century.  These are the books we would most likely study in a literature class.

In my definition, I was speaking from a contemporary perspective, looking back to the gothic romances written in my lifetime, beginning with the books written by Daphne du Maurier, Phyllis Whitney, and Victoria Holt. There are very few of what you call "Classic Gothics" that have survived and available to the modern reader.

The gothic romance genre has evolved considerably since du Maurier's writing, morphing into woman-in-jeopardy, romantic mysteries, vampire romances, paranormal romances, and so on.

I think that what many older current day readers are seeking in terms of a "classic gothic romance," or whatever you want to call it, are the historical (or what are now historicals, being written in the late 1960s) gothic romances written in the style of du Maurier, Holt, and Whitney. These books seem to offer a comfortable style, ambiance, plot, and seriousness that readers whose reading tastes began with the above listed authors now miss savoring.

If one wishes to reserve "classic gothic" for those books written pre-1900, what classification would you suggest for the books I've described in the paragraph above?
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#5
GothicLover Wrote:
paigenumber Wrote:I would define the Classic Gothics the way we define literature, except in this case, Gothics evolved much later than literature.  Therefore, Classic Gothics are pre-20th century.  These are the books we would most likely study in a literature class.

In my definition, I was speaking from a contemporary perspective, looking back to the gothic romances written in my lifetime, beginning with the books written by Daphne du Maurier, Phyllis Whitney, and Victoria Holt. There are very few of what you call "Classic Gothics" that have survived and available to the modern reader.

The gothic romance genre has evolved considerably since du Maurier's writing, morphing into woman-in-jeopardy, romantic mysteries, vampire romances, paranormal romances, and so on.

I think that what many older current day readers are seeking in terms of a "classic gothic romance," or whatever you want to call it, are the historical (or what are now historicals, being written in the late 1960s) gothic romances written in the style of du Maurier, Holt, and Whitney. These books seem to offer a comfortable style, ambiance, plot, and seriousness that readers whose reading tastes began with the above listed authors now miss savoring.

If one wishes to reserve "classic gothic" for those books written pre-1900, what classification would you suggest for the books I've described in the paragraph above?

I think I'd call them "sentimental Gothics" because of the ambience and because most of them are romances. This differentiates them from Horror Gothics, which may contain elements of the ghastly, or Paranormal Gothics, which contain real ghosts or vampires and such. It would be good to have a consistent definition of the terms we are using to describe the books we are discussing. What do you think?
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#6
Calling these wonderful books "Sentimental Gothics" makes me cringe! Since this whole forum is supposedly dedicated to "Gothic Romances," why not call them what they truly are: "Gothic Romances"?

I think going down the path of using terminology like "paranormal gothics" and "horror gothics" will become hopelessly confusing, as there is no guarantee there is a romance in either of them. Romance is a key ingredient (at least I think so) in the books that primarily interest those who are members of this forum.

To me, if a book contains romance, life-threatening suspense, and a puzzle/mystery, it is a gothic romance novel. If any of these three ingredients are missing, it is something else and may not be of particular interest to the majority of members of this fourm. It could be discussed, of course, in the "General Off Topic Discussion" section of this forum.

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.

I think the current sub-forum titles of Classic Gothics and General Gothic Romance Discussion are appropriate for this forum, but the addition of a Horror Gothic subforum is inappropriate and confusing. Judging from the small number of posts and replies in that sub-forum, most members unsurprisingly have little interest in these types of books. It's been my experience that romance lovers do not usually read horror novels. Some of the recent vampire novels add to the confusion, as they often masquerade as romances, but romance is not really a driving force in these novels. They are more often driven by a battle of good vs. evil or posession vs. independence.

I'd like to see this forum remain on topic.
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#7
First, I want to say that I am in complete agreement with you about what makes a Gothic Romance. I only define "Classic" as you would "Classic" literature. If "sentimental" sounds a bit wimpy, how about "Standard", "Prototypical", "Archetypal" to describe the Gothic romances with all the ambiance, etc. When I began reading Gothics, I was reading the typical ones: Holt, Eden, Tattersall, etc. Mostly historical Gothic romances. These became my ideal for Gothic romances.

However, it became increasingly harder to find similar books and I had no resources on Gothic authors. When I went to the library, I'd read the synopsis and if it sounded like it had suspense and romance, I read it. So I turned to romantic suspense for a while. Most of these came from the 60s and 70s. I didn't care for more modern romantic suspense. I later came to find out these books from the 60s and 70s were classified as Gothics. It made for a very confusing view of Gothics. I came to accept them as such, but I wouldn't consider them my standard idea of a Gothic romance.

Now, in more modern times, you have the horror Gothics and paranormal Gothics. I haven't read much horror Gothics, but I would consider Stephen King here. I haven't read V.C. Andrews but I grew up thinking they were horror stories. As for paranormal, I have never read a vampire romance and never had much inclination to do so, so I can't really judge them. (One of our inactive members did make a post regarding one of these.) However, I have read supernatural/ghost stories by Barbara Michaels and she does a very good job with them. However, I do prefer her historical Gothics as these are more in line with my standard ideal.

I'd like to see more discussion regarding straightforward Gothic romances, but our member list is so small, I really don't know what others' viewpoints are. I'd like to see this forum grow to be a good resource for others, new or old to Gothics, to advise on and promote good Gothic literature. As you stated elsewhere, if poorly written Gothics are produced en masse, we could have a decline in the quality of the stories we will be reading.
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#8
It's good to see that someone else likes "atmospheres". But paigenumber is right about how difficult it is to find the right books with the right "atmospheres" and still have a good plot.
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#9
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.  

Having jumped into this discussion, I enjoy some of the older gothic books.  I guess I would like those books with strong heroines instead of frightened victims.  Those can be hard to find although I would appreciate any suggestions.
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#10
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."
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