1. I am also drawn to the darker side of fiction and have to remind myself as well that there must be light to counter the darkness. But I think the tendency arises from an acute sense of the spiritual war that embattles our lives on earth.

    I believe there is real merit in showing the darkness to be just as hideous as it is and in not pretending that it doesn’t not exist. It SHOULD be hideous, it DOES exist, I can’t get into books that are so family friendly that they don’t have the sharpness and weight of reality. That Hideous Strength (not necessarily Gothic, but with some Gothic elements) scared the bejabbers out of me at one point, but it was a fear that reminded me of God’s opposition to and overcoming of the great darkness we call upon ourselves when we dabble in sin.

    I personally appreciate the classic Gothic atmosphere. Poe’s works run with spiritual undertones and, if you read Nathanial Hawthorne (especially his short stories) there’s a great spiritual and Gothic aura there as well. We can learn a lot by acknowledging the darkness for what it is, then turning toward the light that vanquishes it.

    • Mark Carver says:

      Hawthorne was my jam back in college. He was a lot more connected with nature than many of his contemporaries and it shows in his works. The spiritual vibes I get from his stories are related to paganism as well as Christianity, and that makes him more interesting to read in my opinion. When I want a quick Gothic fix, though, Poe is my dealer.

      • Eric says:

        From what you’re saying about the nature and paganism themes, it sounds like Hawthorne (who I haven’t read) shares some similarities with Arthur Machen (who I have).

  2. Lauren B says:

    Just want to mention that Jane Austen’s writing is far from Gothic. Northanger Abbey was written to gently mock the gothic novels of her day. I wonder if you’re thinking of the Bronte sisters? Wuthering Heights, etc have that brooding atmosphere.

    • Mark Carver says:

      Northanger Abbey was what I was thinking about when I mentioned Austen, and while it is a parody, the whole Gothic menagerie can be a parody at times. You are right that the Bronte sisters would be a better representation of Gothic literature in its serious forms.

  3. HG Ferguson says:

    I really like your post. I read Dracula when I was 12 and its power clings to me still. In a horror tale, any horror tale, whether classically “Gothic” or not, mood and atmosphere rule. Give me The Haunting of Hill House over most of the hit the ground running plot-driven stories written today, period . Torture porn violence and the glorification of evil, so prevalent now are not “Gothic,” they are sin. You are exactly right, the atmosphere of brooding, foreboding, gloom, menace and dread trumps literary “jump scares.” Bravo.

    One other thought; you rightly quote Paul’s admonition in Philippians. But he also said whatever things are “true.” Like Yaasha Moriah comments, darkness is as “true” in that respect as light. Both belong together to get a completely biblical portrait.

    Thank you for escorting us through the cemetery…

    • Eric says:

      I like what you’re saying about darkness being “true” and therefore as necessary as light in order to convey a biblical perspective.

      On that note, “Melmoth the Wanderer,” one of the darkest pieces of gothic fiction I’ve ever come across, was actually written to illustrate a theological point (which the author, a clergyman, had previously made in one of his sermons).

      So, one of the most infamous works in the genre seems to prove your and Yaasha Moriah’s points right.

What do you think?