Tag Archives: Gothic fiction

Book of the Month – February/March: ‘Frankenstein’ by Mary Shelley


Following my visit last October to the British Museum’s fantastic exhibition on Gothic literature (see my post about my experience for all the details: https://thereadinglight.wordpress.com/2014/11/02/terror-and-wonder-the-gothic-imagination-exhibition-at-the-british-library/), in the ensuing months I have found my interest in the genre to be greatly revived and increasingly informed as a result of the myriad of fascinating things I saw and learned. When it came to writing an article recently for my school’s blog, my personal engagement in the topic saw me exploring the worlds of both literature and fashion by linking Gothicism to the eternal popularity of black clothing; come the composition of my Christmas wishlist, I eagerly asked for a collection of Grimms’ Fairy Tales, curious as I was to delve beyond the familiar ‘Disneyfied’ facades of common stories and discover their gritty, gory and gruesome original versions. And of course, a true interest in any area of literature simply would not be complete without reading (or rereading) a number of the corresponding works of fiction: in my case, my most recent of such reads was the gloriously chilling Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Although I had previously read this book a couple of years ago, I feel that upon a second reading I encountered a number of interesting elements which had escaped my notice the first time round, my familiarity with the plot meaning I was able to completely focus on the intricacies of character, language and narrative voice. For this reason, my reading of this book in late-February and early-March really resonated with me. I have therefore decided to forgo separate February and March ‘Book of the Month’ posts, for the simple reason that I honestly do not think anything else that I read during these two months can even compare to Frankenstein. Continue reading


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‘Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination’ Exhibition at the British Library

As the oranges and browns of October make way for increasingly chilly and dark November, it seems that these first days of the year’s penultimate month are characterised by the sense of anticlimax which inevitably results from the build-up to that most ‘frightening’ of seasonal holidays, Halloween (either that or the after-effects of one too many at spooky-themed house parties…). Gone are the days when All Hallows’ Eve was purely a Christian observance of remembering the dead: I have to admit that as Halloween 2014 dawned I found myself taken aback – perhaps even more so than in previous years – at the level of noise disseminating from crowds of young trick-or-treaters and penetrating through my windows, at the sheer number of ‘scary make-up’ selfies being uploaded to social media sites, and even at the unexpected excitement my friends and I felt as we completed our own preparations for this year’s Halloween parties. Continue reading

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‘Northanger Abbey’ by Jane Austen (read 22/4/14 – 27/4/14)


One of my earliest, most fondly nostalgic memories is of sitting in my Grandma’s living room on a wintery evening during a visit up north to see her, my five-year-old self seeming incongruously tiny compared to the old-fashioned, green velvet-upholstered armchair on which I am perched, and the way that my straightened legs barely transcend the mighty cliff-boundary that is the chair’s edge no doubt looking endearingly ridiculous to my older family members sitting around me. The room is filled with the heartening heat radiated by the bars of the aesthetically realistic electric fire, and the ornate carriage clock on the mantelpiece above it ticks and tocks with comforting regularity. On my lap, a chintzy china plate of Marmite on toast; on the old television set, most importantly of all, the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice is playing. Continue reading


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