Gothic Fiction, or as it is sometimes known as Gothic Horror, is a form of literature combining elements of horror and romance. Its origins are attributed to English author Horace Walpole, and his 1794 novel "The Castle of Otranto", subtitled "A Gothic Story". Gothic fiction fed on a captivating sort of horror, as an extension of the Romantic works of the time.
Gothic literature is associated with Gothic Revival architecture, the ruins of Gothic buildings and the emotion represented by the inevitable decay and collapse of humanity. It embodies the joy of extreme emotions, the thrill of the fearful. English Gothic writers often associated these medieval buildings with what they felt was a dark and forboding period, with its harsh laws enforced by torture and superstitious rituals. There was always psychological and physical mystery, with ghosts and haunted houses. For the good of the season, I always try to read a Gothic story, the best being the old ones, including the classic Dracula and Frankenstein. Though those films are a guilty pleasure, they are a far cry from the original plots, their character development, and of course, the moral side of the question: tampering with nature. There is always a price to pay!
This year I am reading "The Woman in Black" by Susan Hill. Though written in 1986, it harkens back to the early 1800's in England, with all the suspense and horror one could wish for when reading alone, on a windswept Autumn evening! As an added incentive to read this particular work, Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame, will play the part of the lead character in the film version, coming out next February 2012. I always try to read the book before the movie.