I like Goth—my main interest is the real Goth, as in Gothic Literature, which began as long ago as the early 1700’s. That’s when it all began . . .
The first acknowledged author of Gothic Literature was Horace Walpole, born in England in 1717. He was a sickly child and the adults around him often expressed their thoughts about his dying . . . I suppose that could account for his development of a creative slant to the dark side.
Later as a man he remained slight, pale and often thought of as a ghost-like version of a man.
When Horace was 30 he bought a house in the suburbs, a plain box style of a house he referred to as a cottage in Twickenham, and he took on the project of doing the place over, adding stained glass windows, and additions of small crevices which he used to nestled suits of armor.
Horry, a nickname as he was often referred to, renovated one room at a time. Limited by the original houses size, he eventually added a huge addition to the house, adding to the architecture design of the house with huge arches, stained windows with saints, a large staircase, and the exact gloomy effect he inspired to create.
Horace had Gothic features added such as towers and battlements on the outside and elaborate decorative embellishments on inside to create “gloomth” his coined description of his style. This was all done to compliment Walpole’s collection of antiquarian objects.
His land originated with 5 acres and he added more sprawl until it realized as a 46 acre estate. Back then it was fashionable for those who wanted to establish a country seat to own a family castle.
Horace Walpole transformed his home into a neo-Gothic castle which he named Strawberry Hill.
Gothic Literature was born.
He wrote a notable piece of Gothic literature one night in his library , The Castle of Otranto, thought to be the first Gothic novel penned 254 years ago in 1764. Horace Walpole combined his fiction with elements of horror, death, and romance to create the new genre.
The book is still in print and available at Amazon.
Horace’s house, named Strawberry Hill, held his own press to support his creative endeavors, and he published many works under Strawberry Hill Press. It seems good ole’ Horry was an Indie Author!
His legend lives on, and if you want to learn more about the influence Horace Walpole had on the present day goths, please read this post from BBC News Magazine:
The Castle of Otranto: The creepy tale that launched gothic fiction
The exotic aspect of gothic literature that Walpole first introduced in The Castle of Otranto influenced the gothic subculture. Gothic fashion is designed to reflect a particular kind of lifestyle that is synonymous with gothic literature.
Following his father, who was the first prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, Horace also served Parliament. He died in 1797.
Many have followed his footsteps:
Grab a free digital book copy via Project Gutenberg (& donate if you can)
- Dracula by Bram Stoker
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelly
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Many more Indie authors write Gothic literature today . . . too many to list. I like to add a certain flavor of it in my writing, even though my stories so far have been set in the current time period, still the use of gloomy atmosphere, forests and woods, old houses with arches can be used to create an ambiance.
Often newer works that follow the Gothic literature style might be listed under the horror genre, supernatural, or ghost stories.
This style of literature influences the horror romantics of today, not only writers but also music. Goth music rage began in the 1970’s with bands like The Banshees with Siouxsie Sioux leading the way and hit it’s peak in the 1990’s and is still going strong.
Some of us are strangely drawn to the dark side of things. We find romance there in shadows, bleakness speaks to our souls, passionate dark feelings surface that we identify with, and to all like-minded people, I’d like to say, ” happy #WorldGothDay “
Keep reading – Keep writing!
Grab a free digital copy here at Project Gutenberg :
The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole
Visit Strawberry Hill castle visit LondonUnveiled.com
I find Goth to be very mysterious and am attracted to it all the time. Great post today!
Paula, I think you and I are a lot alike.