Friday, February 19, 2021


We're not too far away from Valentine's Day to show a little more love. How about a little Gothic love in that case?

Known as the Gothic Romance, this form of tale-telling has been around since Horace Walpole's "The Castle of Otranto" (1764). With a few exceptions (the 1960's "Dark Shadows" series by Marilyn Ross, a pen name for William Edward Daniel, is one example) the modern gothic romance has developed into a style intended exclusively for female readership. I have an acquaintance that has been writing these "bodice rippers" for many years and she unabashedly has explained to me that formula is the key to success in the business, which is not unlike many other fiction genres.

The basic elements of any good gothic romance can contain several or all of the following:
  • A mysterious and suspenseful atmosphere
  • Takes place in a castle or ancestral mansion (sometimes haunted)
  • An ominous prophecy
  • Omens, portents and visions
  • Supernatural or paranormal events
  • Overwrought or high-strung emotions
  • Women in distress
  • Women intimidated by a threatening and fearsome male
  • Unattainable or unrequited love
The example of the gothic romance shown here today is the first issue of GOTHIC TALES OF LOVE (April 1975). With editorial direction by Jean Ramer, it was published under the "Curtis" imprint by Magazine Management, the same company that produced Marvel Comics at the time.

The three stories are written by these authors of the gothic romance:
  • Victoria Holt (Eleanor Alice Hibbert), b. 1906, d. 1993.
  • Dorothy Daniels, b. 1915, d. 2001 (Miss Daniels wrote three adaptations of STRANGE PARADISE, an occult mystery "daytime drama" that attempted unsuccessfully to compete with DARK SHADOWS.
  • Virginia Wells (no biographical data available)
Now, dig in, enjoy, and don't forget to read your horoscope!

Part 2 coming soon!

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