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Book Group Discussion
If we want to start an internet discussion on Gothic literature, we need to come up with some books that we should all read and have some theme discussions. We can either start with a few books and have a discussion, then add more books later, or we can come up with a specific number and read all of them before discussing them. We also need to decide how many books to read. Perhaps there are some common books that most of us have already read or would be willing to re-read for the discussion. As I mentioned in a previous post, we can start with the following:

1. The Castle of Otranto
2. Jane Eyre
3. Rebecca
I say we start with those three and as the discussion progresses, we can add more books, probably more modern books to show how these themes gradually developed into the different genres. I'm trying to re-read "Rebecca" now.
I agree. Let's stick with three to start with or else we may get overwhelmed. The three listed are a good mix of 18th, 19th and 20th century gothics.

Also, so I can organize myself, will we read one book at a time and then discuss or be discussing all three at once? I'm one who needs some structure or nothing gets done. Should we read all three by a certain date? I've read Jane Eyre in the last year. I've never read Castle of Otranto and it's been years since I've read Rebecca and I'd like to refresh my memory.

I think all three should be read, then we can discuss the themes as they relate to the three and we can tie them together, etc. Remember, we're not teachers (or, at least, I'm not) so these discussions are informal, and no one should feel like their opinions are worthless. It should be like a brainstorming session. Since it may take a while to read all three (although I'm a fairly fast reader), let's say in about 3-4 weeks we can start discussing these topics. I'm going to try and refresh on Jane Eyre now and keep you all updated on how far I am.
Sounds good, I'm about 1/3 of the way through "Rebecca" right now.
I just got Castle of Otranto and will be starting it.

I hope to reread Rebecca too, but we'll see how I do on time.
Just finished Castle of Otranto. Fast read! It's a record for me.
Anytime you guys want to delve into discussion, I'm ready. Two of my favorite Gothics are represented here, and "Otranto" is important historically (if not a great read by today's standards).
OK. I'll start with a really basic question to start things off, and then we can get into more detail.

Which book resonated with you the most and why?
Well, here's my opinion. Beware, there may be spoilers.

I'm currently re-reading Rebecca and am about half-way through. Once I'm done, I'll know how it stands in relation to Jane Eyre. The one book I can honestly say does not resonate with me is The Castle of Otranto.

It's an interesting book and it was a quick read. But it was definitely a product of its time and not for this modern reader. The heavy emphasis was on religion and the coincidences really strained belief. But that was secondary compared to the depressing servitude of the women, particularly the mother. She would obey her husband no matter what.

As for the good vs. evil theme in the discussion, there was the old wrong by Manfred's family against the rightful heirs to the Castle. However, the real evil genius is Manfred himself who can't bear to lose his castle once his only heir dies. But he doesn't want to just marry Isabella for an heir. He is also driven by sexual lust for a younger woman. So, the villain is a power-hungry man who can't control his sexual urgings.

I would argue that Frederic becomes a temporary villain when he can't control his sexual desire for Matilda (older man, young woman again) and threatens her happiness with Theodore.

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