This book is mainly aimed at readers who are either new to studying the Gothic or who have some basic understanding of the form and want to know more. How to critically read the Gothic is the principal issue addressed in this volume, which examines a range of Gothic texts and non-textual Gothic forms from the eighteenth century to the present day. The approach here is avowedly cultural and historical in emphasis as this helps us to observe the connections between texts and authors, and to appreciate how a Gothic tradition developed.1
In a book of this kind there will inevitably be omissions, and the texts sampled here are representative rather than definitive. The Guide to Further Reading at the end of the book in the Student Resources section lists information on secondary material concerning specific periods, forms (such as film, for example), theoretical approaches, and author-based studies. The Glossary provides a synoptic explanation of some of the key terms, and a sample essay is discussed in a section on advice on essay writing. The book's structure is broadly chronological and each chapter concludes with a specific reading of a Gothic text from the period discussed in that chapter. However, before looking in detail at such texts it is important to consider the historical contexts from which they emerged and the kinds of critical approaches which are available to us.