Gothic Literature at Large—September 2014


Strawberry Hill built by Gothic writer Horace Walpole. Image found on Wikipedia.
Strawberry Hill built by Gothic writer Horace Walpole. Image found on Wikipedia.

Gothic literature is a genre that, despite it’s quaint and penny dreadful beginnings, has found a firm foundation in the modern world. To properly address the popularity of this genre in its many mainstream manifestations, I have created Gothic Literature at Large. This is a new addition to Writer vs. the World. Every so often, I will post links to articles and library/museum exhibits involving Gothic literature. If you hear about an interesting event or read an interesting article, please feel free to send me the link and I will add it to one of my posts. You can find me on Twitter @writervsworld. I don’t have a set frequency for when these posts appear. Basically, when I have a few articles or exhibit links hanging around, I’ll publish another post in this series.

I love seeing all the places where Gothic literature appears in the world. I hope you enjoy this post (and the ones that come after) as much as I have enjoyed putting it together.

Here’s a look at what’s buzzing around the world involving Gothic literature as we speak:

Articles

In the Blood: Bram Stoker’s great-grandnephew wants to attract visitors to the remote mountaintop the fictional Dracula may—or may not—have called home.

In this recent article, readers can learn about Stoker’s great-grand nephew who is trying to turn a mountaintop into a tourist destination. According to the article, Ducre Stoker and his writing partner Hans de Roos are writing a Dracula travel guide. They claim that Stoker chose Izvorul Calimanului as the home of the world’s most infamous vampire. Izvorul Calimanului, according to the article, is a remote and extinct volcano in Romania.

Lots of literature fanatics go on tours. There are tours for Poe, James Joyce and Hemingway and many other famous writers. Would you go on a tour of Transylvania to check out the mountain where Bram Stoker set Dracula’s castle knowing that you won’t actually find a castle there? If I had the time and the money, I’d be all for it.

The inventive words and worlds of Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft

This is a really fun article from oxforddictionaries.com that talks about the various words that Poe and Lovecraft are credited with inventing or revitalizing due to their appearances in each writer’s respective works. I personally appreciated the list of the words attributed to Poe and was rather surprised about what words were actually attributed to him. Gothic literature isn’t always well received in the mainstream world, but these writers have made important contributions to the world beyond the literature of which they are credited for writing. I highly recommend this entertaining read!

Exhibitions

Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination

Apparently sometime between October and the end of January 2015, I need to find a way to get to London to see this exhibit at the British Library! Unfortunately, I don’t think I can make that happen. But if you can, this seems like it’s going to be an amazing exhibit (also please send me a pamphlet if you think of it)! According to the website, “Terror and Wonder presents an intriguing glimpse of a fascinating and mysterious world. Experience 250 years of Gothic’s dark shadow.” This sounds like an awesome exhibit and it spans the lifetime of the world of the Gothic. They have in their possession hand-written editions of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the exhibit includes pieces from old and modern stories and they even include the original Gothic novel The Castle of Otranto. I might swoon right now.

Dracula exhibition to ‘lift veil’ on vampires

The vampire craze has made it all the way to Taiwan too. According to this article, you can see an exhibit about vampires between July 5 and October 5th at the National Museum of History. According to the article, the exhibition titled Dracula: History of Art and Vampires “will ‘lift the secret veil’ on vampires through history, art, literature, images, design and costumes, according to the museum.” Here is the link to the exhibit itself: http://www.nmh.gov.tw/en-us/Exhibition/Content.aspx?Para=0|21|750&unkey=53

What Makes a Monster

USC Libraries is hosting an event of the monstrous kind in October of 2014. The website doesn’t give a lot of details, but it does claim that this exhibit is “an exploration of everything monstrous in the universe.” That’s a tall order, but if I could make it out there to see the exhibit and judge for myself, I absolutely would!

Television/Film

Dracula Untold

Okay so this forthcoming movie wanders way outside the realm of Bram Stoker’s tale. But I’m up for anything Gothic and I love to see how filmmakers warp and remake these old tales! I don’t usually give a lot of credit to the writers of movies for the titles that end up getting applied to films. But I actually really like this title and find it to be rather intriguing. See the trailer below if you haven’t checked it out yet. And also be on the lookout for a review of this film once it releases in the U.S. in October.

Gone Girl

Gone Girl is not distinctly Gothic, but it comes from the tradition of the detective story which IS inherently of the Gothic. Plus, Gillian Flynn is a native of Kansas City, so I have to pause and pay some props to her. If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it. I’m curious to see how the movie experience will be because it is one of those stories that has a such a surprise ending, you can’t really ever read it again because the twist was the whole point. How many people watched The Sixth Sense more than once? Why would you? I sure didn’t. So maybe recommending that you read the book before you see the movie isn’t such a great idea. Regardless, it’s a fantastic read and I am excited to see what they do with the movie. Here’s a peek at one of the trailers.

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