Friday, December 02, 2011

It was a Dark and Stormy Night

Well, it’s morning and it’s not exactly stormy but it is super gloomy which is perhaps why I woke up thinking about Gothic novels.

Today I would like to encourage you to add a Gothic novel or two to your reading list. Now, I understand you may be wary of diving into a genre that took off in the late 18th Century, but let me remind you that the 1790s were a cRaZy time (lots of French Revolution-related beheadings). Today, you may have noticed an intense fascination in monsters. Zombies are everywhere, even inserted in Jane Austen novels. The Twilight Series, featuring both a werewolf and a vampire is hugely successful. The Sookie Stackhouse series has become a hit television program. But I say none of these hold a candle (candles are kind of ominous) to some of the classic Gothic novels.

Check this out. Matthew Lewis’ The Monk was published in 1796 and caused quite a stir. So much so that Lewis and his publisher were indicted and the novel was essentially banned. No, there are no vampires. But you know what the novel does have? Evil Monks, wicked nuns, cross-dressers, hidden identities, black magic, magic mirrors, romance, duels, secret tombs in secret tunnels, seduction, lasciviousness, murder, ghost stories, the Inquisition, and the Devil himself! This is neither irony or hyperbole on my part. This novel is dark, creepy, and gripping. It has the added benefit of sometimes being so over the top that it is comical which can be a nice break. And here’s a bonus: it’s at the library!

The Monk by Matthew Lewis

Some other titles that are full of their own dark twists and turns:
As you’re reading, keep in mind that the library also has a great set of Literary Databases that can provide extra context and intrigue!

1 comment:

ACLS Reference said...

I got The Monk! It has a racy picture on the cover, too.