Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bookworms Carnival

Edition 16 hosted by: Becky
Deadline for submission: October 10
Theme: classic/literary gothic
To submit a post, email: laney_po at yahoo dot com
For ideas about what to read.

So I'm hosting the Bookworms Carnival in October. And I'm looking for submissions. If you're reading this, that means you. I want you to submit a post (link) to the carnival. While this is a themed carnival, I want to encourage mass participation. (Don't assume that your contribution won't be missed.)

What am I looking for? (Besides folks volunteering posts so I don't have to hunt them down!) I'm looking for posts about classic gothic literature. Of course the meaning of each of those words "classic" "gothic" and "literature" could be debated. But I'm looking for season-appropriate posts. Participants in Carl's R.I.P. III challenge may have a slight advantage. Chances are that they've ventured into gothic even if they may not have gone the classic literature route.

I'm looking for posts--new or old--about those wonderfully delicious and dark books. Books that evoke certain emotions, certain feelings.

Reviews of books. I always love highlighting reviews of books. But I'm also open to those that want to participate in other ways. Say that you're inspired to write a poem--sonnet, haiku, free verse, etc.--or want to write a more general post about your experiences reading this genre (or sub genre). You might want to talk about your first experiences reading "scary" or "spooky" books. You might want to compare and contrast your favorite books with movie versions of those books.
Or you might want to make a post with your favorite quotes from these types of books.

What makes a work Gothic is a combination of at least some of these elements:

  • a castle, ruined or intact, haunted or not,
  • ruined buildings which are sinister or which arouse a pleasing melancholy,
  • dungeons, underground passages, crypts, and catacombs which, in modern houses, become spooky basements or attics,
  • labyrinths, dark corridors, and winding stairs,
  • shadows, a beam of moonlight in the blackness, a flickering candle, or the only source of light failing (a candle blown out or an electric failure),
  • extreme landscapes, like rugged mountains, thick forests, or icy wastes, and extreme weather,
  • omens and ancestral curses,
  • magic, supernatural manifestations, or the suggestion of the supernatural,
  • a passion-driven, wilful villain-hero or villain,
  • a curious heroine with a tendency to faint and a need to be rescued–frequently,
  • a hero whose true identity is revealed by the end of the novel,
  • horrifying (or terrifying) events or the threat of such happenings.

The Gothic creates feelings of gloom, mystery, and suspense and tends to the dramatic and the sensational, like incest, diabolism, and nameless terrors. Most of us immediately recognize the Gothic (even if we don't know the name) when we encounter it in novels, poetry, plays, movies, and TV series. For some of us--and I include myself, the prospect of safely experiencing dread or horror is thrilling and enjoyable.

Elements of the Gothic have made their way into mainstream writing. They are found in Sir Walter Scott's novels, Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, and Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights and in Romantic poetry like Samuel Coleridge's "Christabel," Lord Byron's "The Giaour," and John Keats's "The Eve of St. Agnes." A tendency to the macabre and bizarre which appears in writers like William Faulkner, Truman Capote, and Flannery O'Connor has been called Southern Gothic.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey
  • Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights
  • Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre
  • Anne Bronte's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
  • Mary Braddon's Lady Audley's Secret
  • Samuel Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  • Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White
  • Wilkie Collins' The Haunted Hotel
  • Maria Edgeworth's Castle Rackrent
  • Elizabeth Gaskell's Gothic Tales
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper"
  • Washington Irving's Legend of Sleepy Hollow
  • Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle
  • H.P. Lovecraft...
  • Matthew Lewis' The Castle Spectre
  • Matthew Lewis' The Monk
  • Edgar Allen Poe...
  • John Polidori's The Vampyre
  • Thomas Peacock's Nightmare Abbey
  • Ann Radcliffe's The Italian
  • Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho
  • Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market
  • William Shakespeare's Hamlet
  • William Shakespeare's Macbeth
  • Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
  • Robert Louis Stevenson's The Body Snatcher
  • Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  • Bram Stoker's Dracula
  • Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto
My inspiration was this incredible web site. It provides an author index and a title index. The author link will take you to the page of most popular authors. But the sidebar will reveal that you can search/browse alphabetically. Just because an author appears doesn't mean that every work by that author is gothic...far from it. But at the bottom of each page, they list the gothic elements of that author's bibliography. For the record, your choice doesn't have to come from this list found on the web site.
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Anonymous said...

You should check out Bayard and their series of StoryBoxBooks, AdventureBoxBooks and DiscoveryBoxBooks.
There's lots going on too:
This Month Storybox has guest illustrator Helen Oxenbury featured.

There's a Readathon happening in UK and Ireland -
There's a Ghost Drawing competition in AdventureBoxBooks assiciated with the Polka Theatre ( )

Rebecca Reid said...

Thanks for the clarification! I'd read some authors on the list, but they certainly don't meet the gothic definition! I'll go read something that does!

Colleen said...

I've read everything by the Brontes, Northanger Abbey, the Shakespeare plays, and The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (don't know if that one is exactly gothic). I'd be happy to do a review for you if you want.
By the way, I just love your choices of challenges. 19th century literature is my absolute favorite, and I'm so happy to see you promote it. I'm new to book-blogging, so I am kind of on the tail-end of your mini-challenges. But I definitely am joining the one you have set up for next year.
I really recommemend Middlemarch to you. It is my absoulute favorite novel!

Becky said...

Colleen, I'd love it if you chose to review a book (or two) for the Carnival!

Ana S. said...

I'm so looking forward to this edition! I have both Northanger Abbey and The Castle of Otranto on my RIP list, and I'll make sure I get to one of them in time for the carnival.

raych said...

I AM READING THE TENENT AT WILDFELL HALL RIGHT NOW!!! Guess I'll have to finish it and get a review tossed out in the next 2 days!

Becky said...

The deadline has been extended to October 15th.