The Gothic Romance Wave

A Critical History of the Mass Market Novels, 1960–1993

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About the Book

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.

About the Author(s)

Lori Paige, an associate professor and chair of the English Department at American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts, teaches courses in British and vampire literature.

Bibliographic Details

Lori A. Paige
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 191
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7565-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3417-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Preface 1
1. The Gathering Mist 9
2. Shadowed Beginnings: The Mass Market Gothic, 1764–1840 23
3. A Dark Blossom: Gothic Novels, 1840–1960 38
4. Gothic Flower Power: The Gothic Explosion, 1960–1970 54
5. Gilded Peak and Gloomy Valley: 1970s Gothic 72
6. Destined for Darkness: The Gothic Heroine 89
7. Melancholy Males and Demon Lovers: The Gothic Hero 105
8. Numinous Melodrama: The Appeal of the Gothic 120
9. Critics on the Gothic: The Flame and the Pitchfork 135
10. Fading Shadows: Where Did the Gothic Go? 150
Chapter Notes 165
Bibliography 179
Index 183