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Dogs in Gothic and Horror Literature

Man’s best friend can also be his worst nightmare.… Most of us love dogs. They make great pets, as they can be playful, affectionate, and truly loyal companions. But when you remember that they are descended from wolves, you can’t help recognizing that, somewhere deep inside, even the most precious puppy retains a bit of the wild animal, a bit of the predator. And it is this aspect that makes dogs such a popular subject in horror literature. As we just passed from the Year of the Rooster to the Year of the Dog on Friday, according to the Chinese zodiac, I figured this would be an especially appropriate time to celebrate the creepiest canines in horror. Continue reading Dogs in Gothic and Horror Literature

Female Friendships in Gothic Literature

With Valentine’s Day coming up, it feels like we’re getting constantly hit in the face with commercialized images of heteronormative romantic love. It’s enough to make anyone feel a little disenchanted, but I’ve always loved the holiday. For me, Valentine’s Day is about more than just purchasing materialistic expressions of affection for your significant other. It’s about celebrating love in all its forms. And, personally, some of the most important relationships in my life are my friendships with other women. Growing up, my female friends and I always took this time of year as an opportunity to send each other flowers, give out chocolate, and be extra vocal with our love and support. That’s why this Valentine’s Day, I want to take a moment to celebrate some of my favorite female friendships in Gothic literature. Continue reading Female Friendships in Gothic Literature

African-American Writers of Gothic Literature

February is Black History Month, which we observe in the U.S. by celebrating the lives and achievements of African-Americans throughout the country’s history. In this vein, I wanted to highlight some of the black writers—particularly female writers—who have made significant contributions to the Gothic genre. The Gothic is generally regarded as a Eurocentric genre, created by upper class Englishmen in their extravagant estates and adopted by those who wished to imitate them. But like any good genre, the Gothic is adaptive. Its elements have been co-opted by American writers of urban horror, such as Edgar Allan Poe, and transformed into the unique subgenre of Southern Gothic by the country’s more rural authors. It is no surprise, then, that the black literary community has embraced the Gothic as well, though usually in forms less immediately recognizable than your typical tales of women in nightgowns fleeing from monsters in a castle. Read on for a list of prominent black authors who have incorporated the Gothic into their works. Continue reading African-American Writers of Gothic Literature