Famous for introducing the character of the vampire Count Dracula, the novel tells the story of Dracula's attempt to move from Transylvania to England so he may find new blood and spread the undead curse, and the battle between Dracula and a small group of men and women led by Professor Abraham Van Helsing.
Although Stoker did not invent the vampire, he defined its modern form, and the novel has spawned numerous theatrical, film and television interpretations.
Dracula as written by Bram Stoker in 1897 was not the first depiction of vampires and other such creatures, Gothic horror stories had been around since the early part of the century. The story related by Bram Stoker is told in an epistolary fashion utilising the journals and diaries of the main protagonists. The storyline is relatively simple; Dracula the longest living and most evil of vampires comes to England with a view to increasing the vampire population of the country. He is thwarted by five friends and driven back to his castle in Transylvania.It is not the book itself, which by the way is a good horror story, it is the portrayal of Dracula that gripped the imagination of the populous and in particular the entertainment industry. As such “Count Dracula” has become an iconic figure for over 100 years. Numerous world wide interpretations and portrayals both on stage, Cinema, and television have made Dracula synonymous with the undead and all that is evil.
The Picture of Dorian Gray follows the title character as he downspirals due to gaining his wish of eternal youth.
The story centers on the all-encompassing, passionate, but ultimately doomed love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, and how this unresolved passion eventually destroys them and the people around them. There are differing opinions on whether this is the ultimate love story or the ultimate story of revenge.
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
Carmilla is an 1872 Gothic novella by Irish author Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, originally published as a serial in the London-based literary magazine The Dark Blue. It is one of the early works of vampire fiction, predating Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897) by 26 years. The story is narrated by a young woman who falls under the spell of the mysterious Carmilla. The story is often anthologized and has been adapted many times in film, theatre, radio, and television.
(description adapted from Wikipedia by Louise J. Belle)
Charles Brockden Brown
The lives of a prosperous, intellectual family are disrupted when they meet the mysterious Carwin. Set in the period before the Revolutionary War, this is often described as the first American Gothic novel.
The Castle of Otranto is a 1764 novel by Horace Walpole. It is generally held to be the first gothic novel, initiating a literary genre which would become extremely popular in the later 18th century and early 19th century. Thus, Castle, and Walpole by extension is arguably the forerunner to such authors as Ann Radcliffe, Bram Stoker, Daphne du Maurier, and Stephen King.
The Castle of Otranto is regarded as the first Gothic novel, a genre appealing to a taste for terror and set in a remote past when prodigies and magic can be imagined to have existed, with violent contrasts between purity and ungoverned passions. The author represents the tale as having been translated from a black letter Italian volume of the 15th century but describing much earlier events. This fictional antiquity and the depiction of mysterious wonders, dark subterranean passages, fearsome apparitions, marvelous coincidences, and especially a savage threat to spotless innocence are all typical of this genre, which does not assure a reader of a happy ending.
H. P. Lovecraft
In a rundown farmhouse near isolated, rural Dunwich, a bizarre family conjures and nurtures an evil entity from another realm, with the purpose of destroying the world and delivering it to ancient gods to rule, and only an aged university librarian can stop them. The Dunwich Horror was first published in 1929 in Weird Tales.
Le Fanu, Joseph Sheridan
Uncle Silas is a Victorian Gothic mystery/thriller novel by the Anglo-Irish writer J. Sheridan Le Fanu. It is notable as one of the earliest examples of the locked room mystery subgenre. It is not a novel of the supernatural (despite a few creepily ambiguous touches), but does show a strong interest in the occult and in the ideas of Swedenborg.
This is the story of Feodor von Ungern, who, betrayed by his brother Zeno, installs himself with his son and a group of his most trusted men in a dark tower on the island of Dago. Sheltered in this tower, he terrorises the seas, until, one day, his brother falls into his hands...
A gothic, ghost story, you are a jury of one. Is the Governess correct in her assumptions that her charges, two adorable and exemplary children, Miles and Flora are victims of malevolent spirits? As the story unfolds it gets darker and more questions arise than answers. Written by Sandra Cullum
A Sicilian Romance is a Gothic novel by Ann Radcliffe. It was her second published work, and was first published anonymously in 1790. The plot concerns the turbulent history of the fallen aristocrats of the house of Mazzini, on the northern shore of Sicily, as related by a tourist who becomes intrigued by the stories of a monk he meets in the ruins of their doomed castle.
The introduction to the 'Worlds Classics' edition notes that in this novel "Ann Radcliffe began to forge the unique mixture of the psychology of terror and poetic description that would make her the great exemplar of the Gothic novel, and the idol of the Romantics". The novel explores the "cavernous landscapes and labyrinthine passages of Sicily's castles and convents to reveal the shameful secrets of its all-powerful aristocracy"
"The Man-Wolf" is a 38,000 word novella that appears in the English language collection of short stories entitled, The Man-Wolf and Other Tales. The other tales in that collection were not recorded for this project. The Man-Wolf is a gothic tale of lycanthropy authored by the French writing duo of Emile Erckmann and Alexandre Chatrian. Obviously this is an early version of the popular werewolf narrative, but it certainly is not the first. In fact, the lycanthropy mythology go back at least as far as the first century A. D. Listen and compare what you know of the modern-day werewolf story with what Erckmann and Chatrian imagined.
Julian LeVallon, born and raised alone in the Jura Mountains, is referred to psychiatrist Dr. Edward Fillery for care in London. But is LeVallon merely a schizophrenic with a secondary personality, "N.H." (non-human), or is he really an Elemental Being, a "bright messenger" who brings, perhaps, a new age of human evolution? And if so, is the human race ready for a major step forward?
A multitude of very short stories populated with things that lurk in the dark corners of human imagination. Wonderfully crafted and sometimes ending with an unexpected outcome, these stories are well rooted in mythology and speak of things beyond the thin veil of reality.
Five stories and essays about werewolves.
An early example of a psychological mystery and modern crime fiction, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner details the experience of its criminal anti-hero. It is set in Scotland within a world where angels, devils, and demonic possession exist. The book was a response against the antinomian society, or a society that does not believe in laws or moral norms (in a Christian sense one believes that they do not have to follow the Ten Commandments because of the principle of salvation by divine forgiveness), that was growing on the borders of Scotland at the time.
The Marble Faun is Hawthorne's most unusual romance. Writing on the eve of the American Civil War, Hawthorne set his story in a fantastical Italy. The romance mixes elements of a fable, pastoral, gothic novel, and travel guide. In the spring of 1858, Hawthorne was inspired to write his romance when he saw the Faun of Praxiteles in a Roman sculpture gallery. The theme, characteristic of Hawthorne, is guilt and the Fall of Man. The four main characters are Miriam, a beautiful painter who is compared to Eve, Beatrice Cenci, Lady Macbeth, Judith, and Cleopatra, and is being pursued by a mysterious, threatening Model; Hilda, an innocent copyist who is compared to the Virgin Mary; Kenyon, a sculptor, who represents rationalist humanism; and Donatello, the Count of Monti Beni, who is compared to Adam, resembles the Faun of Praxiteles, and is probably only half human.
George W. M. Reynolds
Wagner is a poor, lonely old shepherd living on the edge of the Black Forest. In a devil's pact he gains youth and wealth for the price of transforming into a ravenous wolf once a month. This book contains everything from murder, kidnap, robbery, sadistic nuns and lust to war in sixteenth century Italy. Originally published in a serialised form, this penny dreadful is definitely not a piece of fine literature, but is hopefully entertaining.
This book contains racial and other prejudices that were once commonplace. They are retained, as originally written in this recording, because to do otherwise would be to deny they existed.
Ainsworth, William Harrison
A rich and complex Gothic-Romance centring on the murky deeds of an ancient family. It is a wonderfully atmospheric piece that combines narrative, poetry, song, and descriptive writing to great effect. The character of Dick Turpin that we know today - the dashing highwaymen and unmatched horseman - can be said to stem directly from this novel, as the most famous part of the book (often published on its own in the past), Turpin's Ride To York, is devoted to him. Although seemingly little known to a modern audience, Ainsworth's 'Rookwood' gave the world the image of the highwayman with which we are all so familiar.
William Harrison Ainsworth
If you stumble upon the elixir of life, which provides you with eternal life, youth and health, then it's rather a bad idea to spoil this great gift by signing a pact with the devil on top of it to receive great financial fortune as well. Auriol Darcy, the protagonist of our story, has in fact made this mistake, but soon finds out that the price to pay is much too high to bear. And getting out of a pact with the devil is never easy.
William Harrison Ainsworth's novel is divided into three parts and the final part provides quite a surprise twist ending, which will not be revealed here. The surrealistic plot and setting and especially the psychological elements give this novel quite a modern touch, considering it's been written as early as 1844. The colourful characterization of some shady people from the lower classes of society lend a humouristic touch to the story which provides a nice contrast to the otherwise gloomy gothic atmosphere of the main plot.
Surreal and satirical, these stories by the eighteenth century man of letters, Whig politician, art historian and antiquarian are '"...mere whimsical trifles, written chiefly for private entertainment, and for private amusement... an attempt to vary the stale and beaten class of stories and novels, which, though works of invention, are almost always devoid of imagination...." Horace Walpole
A fantastical story of personal growth and a warning against the dangers of keeping secrets. This novel by George MacDonald is a deceptively easy read aimed to be accessible to teens, but the ideas will remain in your mind long afterwards. Beautifully written in the style of Gothic Novels of the nineteenth century, a story about relationships and redemption, secrets and confessions and an inspiring example of how to live in the light.
José Maria de Eça de Queirós
A ghost story and love story all at once, set in medieval Portugal. Don Ruy is in love with Dona Leonor, but her husband has guessed his feelings and hatches a plan. Don Ruy rides right into a trap, but on the way, a dead man joins him and saves his life.