The late 1960s and early 1970s saw the birth of modern feminism, the sexual revolution, and strong growth in the mass-market publishing industry. Women made up a large part of the book market, and Gothic fiction became a higher popular staple. Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart and Phyllis Whitney emerged as prominent authors, while the standardized paperback Gothic sold in the millions. Pitched at middle-class women of all ages, Gothics paved the way for contemporary fiction categories such as urban fantasy, paranormal romance and vampire erotica.
Though not as popular today as they once were, Gothic paperbacks retain a cult following—and the books themselves have become collectors’ items. They were also the first popular novels to present strong heroines as agents of liberation and transformation.
This work offers the missing chapters of the Gothic story, from the imaginative creations of Ann Radcliffe and the Brontë sisters to the bestseller 50 Shades of Grey.