Gothic literature is vast and wide ranging, encompassing books written during the heyday of Goth, books by Goth authors, books with Goth characters, and books with a hefty dose of Gothic atmosphere to them too. There is certainly no shortage of reading material for Goths of all persuasions, and a blog article on all of the essential reading for Goths would likely be the length of a reasonable novel in itself.
So, to get you started with your essential Goth reading list, I’m going to cover five classics with a strong Gothic theme or element to them that every Goth worth their eyeliner should read. Many of you will have already have read most of these, but they are definitely worth revisiting anyway!
Bram Stoker: Dracula
This one is perhaps so obvious that it barely warrants a mention, but nevertheless, it is so ubiquitous that a hearty proportion of modern Goths haven’t actually read it, or at least, not since it was the set text for their GCSE’s!
The formula is simple and perfect; vampires, naïve bloke, wolves, horror: Read it.
Mary Shelley: Frankenstein
Frankenstein is another essential read, and while everyone is at least peripherally aware of the story’s horror basics and the numerous take-offs and film versions of the original, not everyone has cracked the dust off the original tome and taken it for a spin. If you haven’t read the original, you’re missing all of the dark beauty and subtlety of the tale that later take-offs have widely failed to encompass.
Robert Louis Stevenson: The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
A classic tale of good versus evil, bad science, madness and the darkness of the heart. An intricately woven and more than clever tale that speaks to the hidden mad scientist and natural darkness that resides within all of us.
Oscar Wilde: The picture of Dorian Grey
Anything by Oscar Wilde is guaranteed to be intricately clever, entertaining, and highly readable, and this worldwide classic is no exception. The story tells the tale of a vain young man who sells his immortal soul for the gift of eternal beauty and youth, and as you might expect, things don’t exactly go the way he planned. As an added bonus, the original release of the book caused a massive scandal during the 19th century, which firmly brought it onto the world stage for good.
Emily Bronte: Wuthering Heights
I can’t quite manage to say the title without hearing Kate Bush in my head, which gives you some idea of how impactful and wide ranging the tale itself has become, and how relevant it is even in the modern day. Despite being one of the essential cornerstones of every bookshelf, not everyone has actually read the tale itself: forbidden love, corseted posh ladies, and a wild, passionate long haired dude. Go!