Back by popular demand, our guest today is author Georgina Morales 🙂
Georgina has featured several times on our blog before, sharing her own horror genre writing, as well as her love for all things spooky. You can take a look at two of her previous features here, if you’d like to see her book Perpetual Night or her popular guest post My Letter to Stephen King.
With Halloween fast approaching Georgina has joined us today to talk about – what else – horror!
By Georgina Morales
Come October and 70% of the world’s population is starving for horror consume. During this month, ranks of everything-scary lovers swell with seasonal fans joining in the adoration. Black and orange splash every window display and while stuffing our face with themed candy, we scour the surface of the earth for more horror. More books, more blogs, more movies, more stories…
But the field is growing beyond the bounds of a month. If the amount of shows sprouting on TV were to serve as a measure of the public’s interest in a subject, I’d say it’s fair to assume the spooky genre is en vogue. Maybe even entering a golden age. But really, how far back goes our fascination with the dark side?
These days we think of Horror as a genre that encompasses a wide range of nightmarish scenarios. From the classic haunted house, to the very real human monster that is a serial killer. However, as recently as the 19th century, humanity found the most reason to be scared in death and the deep darkness where demons dwell. And while ghost stories were part of oral tradition centuries before Guttenberg was even born, it was Romance and Drama that held a stronghold on literature.
Then, in 1764 Horace Walpole used the romantic elements of the time to write the story of a haunted castle. Oh, innovation! But he was no fool and fearing the rejection of the literary community—ever the snobs—he published the story in anonymity. Buyers were told THE CASTLE OF ORANTO was an old manuscript found in an abandoned monastery where a man of vision found it and decided to publish it.
And here you thought The Blair Witch Project had been the first.
Three things happened immediately after: 1. The book became a success among critics and readers alike. 2. Walpole could not stand to watch fame and money scape through his fingers and published the second edition with his name attached. 3. Critics realized they’ve been duped and held the story as literary garbage.
One would think that after two centuries the elite would’ve gotten over their spite, but no. Horror is still considered barely above picture books. Talk about holding a grudge.
But no matter what pundits said, the public demanded more and publishers were more that happy to supply. But what do you call these books that don’t fit on the known genres? Walpole offered an answer once more. He had subtitled his first book A GOTHIC STORY and the name caught up. For a century, Gothic literature rocked the world, and when it seemed about to die, Poe appeared and perfected it for our delight.
These are stories of abandoned castles, cemeteries, or monasteries infested with vengeful ghosts where the characters never question the plausibility of the supernatural, they simply know. Heroes have a tendency to madness, damsels faint a lot, and an overcast sky or raging storm betrays the dubious nature of the villain.
Gothic literature is a staple that every Halloween lover should try, even the young ones since, given the Victorian moral standards, most of the classic works could be considered PG13 at most. But, if you like a more modern approach and simply can’t stand fainting women, there’s plenty of modern gothic for you. These stories will feature contemporary characters in traditional settings. The poor souls… After all, how would you react to a haunted castle or a family curse?
So, this Halloween when you are looking for a moody read to set your spirit right, why not turn to Gothic lit, either modern or classic. Just beware of stormy weather and the dark.
From early on Georgina Morales felt fascinated by the horror genre. The stunning covers tantalized her with promises of endless darkness and obscure tales. While other girls dreamed of becoming princesses, her young mind weaved stories of madness to fit those covers. Years later, after settling in New England, she felt perfectly at home surrounded by dark woods and abandoned buildings. It is from those places and memories that she writes, spinning stories from inside the obscure corridors of the mind where not many venture and very few come out alive.
Her debut novel, PERPETUAL NIGHT, was published in 2011 alongside other stories. On Halloween 2013 the anthology GOTHIC BLUE BOOK III: THE GRAVEYARD EDITION by Burial day Books will include her most recent tale, A DIARY OF MADNESS. For more information about her shenanigans, stalk her here:
I always enjoy being part of your blog. Thanks for having me, again!! Happy season everyone!
You’re very welcome – thanks for coming back 🙂 Your post has got me really in the mood for some gothic lit – I might give ‘The Italian’a try this month
Oooh! The Italian, what a read! My 9 yo was flabbergasted when I told her Ann Radcliffe had invented the “Scooby Doo formula” back in the 19th century. LOL History is funny like that.
Really enjoyed the history, Georgina. All women need to faint at least once in a story, it makes the hero feel like a man. LOL
I just downloaded Perpetual Night, on my TBR list but because it’s October and Halloween month, it’s much higher on the list! LOL
You’re right, sometimes there isn’t enough fainting in literature – I wonder how LotR or The Hunger Games would have played out with more fainting less fighting 🙂
I would’ve rather see Katniss fainting than hiding in closets. Now, that’s a sight! And as for LoTR, wasn’t Frodo about to faint several times? I know I was! LOL
Well, thank you so much, Yolanda! You’ve made my day. =) Please, feel free to ask any questions, and do share what you think of it. Good or bad.
Wonderful article! I’m in the mood for some Goth lit now. Any recommendations? Besides The Italian and Perpetual Night…
Thanks! Well, Perpetual Night isn’t gothic, but there is quite a list of great examples. It all depends on what you’re looking for. If you like classic books (I won’t mention the more trite one’s), there’s G.W.M. Reynolds’ Faust (1846), The Wehr-worlf (1847), and The Necromancer (1857). On the less horrific side, there’s the Bronte sisters with Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre (1847); and Gilbert and Gubar’s Madwoman in the Attic (1979). From Ireland, Sheridan LeFanu’s Uncle Silas; and in short fiction, Ambrose Bierce–one of my personal favorites, I must say.
Now, for more modern tastes, you have Peter Straub’s Ghost Story, Stephen King’s The Body (a short piece included in his anthology Changing Seasons), Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire, Robert Dunbar’s Willy, Henry Farrell’s Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, and the queen, Joyce Carol Oats Bellefleur.
Hope this helps. =)
I love reading all kinds of genres, classics and modern. Thanks for the great list. It should keep me busy for awhile.
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