|My first copy was purchased|
at the college bookstore
Nearly everyone has enjoyed a Gothic tinged novel or movie at some point. In this season it is common for people to return to those familiar, and well trod, elements for a little thrill. The classic motifs of the Gothic are well known, from the decrepit castle or manor, the mysterious and tormented hero, to the innocent damsel in distress and the lurking supernatural patina (ghost, legend, or mysterious and unexplained element). Have you ever wondered where those all came from? A short little novel first published in 1764 by Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Oxford. The part time antiquarian attempted to create something new based on the Romanticism of the period and in the process did just that by forging a template of almost all Gothic works for the next three centuries. Even to this day, those elements of the crumbling spooky house, the mysterious threat, the multi-layered leading man, and the poor innocent leading lady are standards of the genre. Minor elements and quirks may emerge but the formula worked well for Walpole and for Gothika (2003). Checking the shelves at the local book stores and the marquee at the theater reveals it is still hard at work as well.