Gothic Sexualities: A Reading List

Gothic Sexualities: A Reading List

The following list is merely meant to suggest the range of the Gothic—especially as it reaches across different cultural traditions with themes of sexuality and non-normative family relations, including feminist, queer, and trans issues. In some cases, the contours of the Gothic intersect allied genres such as magical realism or Afro-futurism. When possible, I chose shorter works for pedagogical reasons; I often assign students one longer text to read independently during a course, which they either write on or present to the class.

Eighteenth-century British

Walpole, The Castle of Otranto

Reeve, The Old English Baron

Edgeworth, Castle Rackrent

Beckford, Vathek

Parsons, The Castle of Wolfenbach

Lewis, The Monk

Radcliffe, The Italian

Austen, Northanger Abbey

Nineteenth-century British

Wordsworth, The Borderers

Coleridge, “Christabel”

Scott, The Bride of Lammermoor

Hogg, Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner

Byron, “Manfred”

Keats, “Lamia”

Polidori, The Vampyre

C. Rossetti, “Goblin Market”

Beddoes, Selected Poetry

M. Shelley, Frankenstein

Peacock, Nightmare Abbey

Dickens, Great Expectations

Collins, “A Terribly Strange Bed”

Swinburne, “Anactoria”

Thomson, The City of Dreadful Night

E. Brontë, Wuthering Heights

C. Brontë, Jane Eyre

Le Fanu, “A Chapter in the History of the Tyrone Family”

Darley, Nepenthe

Stoker, Dracula

Ruskin, “The Nature of Gothic”

Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Grey

Gaskell, “The Grey Woman”

Stevenson, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Twentieth-century British

Wells, The Croquet Player

Waugh, The Loved One

Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday

Murdoch, Bruno’s Dream

Woolf, Orlando

Lawrence, The Fox

Peake, Titus Alone

Lovecraft, “The Call of Cthulhu”

O’Brien, Casualties of Peace

Theory and Criticism

Gilbert and Gubar, The Madwomen in the Attic

Sedgwick, “The Character in the Veil: Imagery of the Surface in the Gothic Novel”

Litvak, Strange Gourmets: Sophistication, Theory, and the Novel

Paglia, Sexual Personae

Castle, The Female Thermometer

Ng (Ed.), Asian Gothic: Essays on Literature, Film, and Anime

Punter (Ed.), A New Companion to the Gothic

Baldick (Ed.), The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales

Haggerty, Queer Gothic

Wester, African-American Gothic: Screams from Shadowed Places

Palmer, Lesbian Gothic: Transgressive Fictions

Ontario Gothic

Brown, Wieland

Irving, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”

Hawthorne, “The Minister’s Black Veil”

Frederic, The Damnation of Theron Ware

Gilman,The Yellow Wallpaper

James, The Turn of the Screw

Davies, The Rebel Angels

Atwood, Surfacing

Munro, “Meneseteung”

Updike, The Witches of Eastwick

Oates, Foxfire

Zentner, “Touch”

Southern Gothic

Poe, “The Pit and the Pendulum”

Twain, No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger

Bierce, Ghost and Horror Stories

Chopin, The Awakening

Williams, Suddenly, Last Summer

Faulkner, As I Lay Dying

O’Connor, Wise Blood

Berendt, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Capote, Other Voices, Other Rooms

McCullers, The Member of the Wedding

Dickey, Deliverance

McCarthy, Child of God

Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces

Wilcox, Hunk City

Franklin, Smonk

Letts, Killer Joe

Russell, Swamplandia!

African-American Gothic

Chestnutt, “The Conjure Woman’s Revenge”

Toomer, Cane

Ellison, Invisible Man

Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

Morrison, Beloved

Baraka, The System of Dante’s Hell

Reed, Mumbo Jumbo

Whitehead, The Intuitionist

Wilson, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone

Parks, Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World

Wideman, “Fever”

Moss, Small Congregations

Elkins, Blue Yodel

Native American Gothic

Silko, Almanac of the Dead

Welch, Winter in the Blood

Erdrich, “Fleur”

Alexie, Tonto and the Lone Ranger Fist-Fight in Heaven

King, Green Grass, Running Water

Robinson, Traplines

Condor (Ed.), Windigo: An Anthology of Fact and Fantastic Fiction

Santee Frazier, Dark Thirty

Hispanic Gothic

Bécquer, Legends

Unamuno, “The Madness of Doctor Montarco”

Borges, The Book of Imaginary Beings

Perucho, Natural History

Arenas, Graveyard of Angels

Sarduy, Cobra

Puig, Kiss of the Spider Woman

Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

Postmodern Gothic

West, Day of the Locust

Barthelme, Snow White

Hawkes, Second Skin

Barth, Lost in the Funhouse

Johnson, Jesus’ Son

Roth, Sabbath’s Theater

Rushdie, Midnight’s Children

Lem, The Investigation

Kawabata, The House of the Sleeping Beauties

Abe, The Woman in the Dunes

Mishima, Confessions of a Mask

Murikami, “Super-Frog Saves Tokyo”

Winterson, The Daylight Gate

Crowley, Little, Big

Self, Cock and Bull

Palahniuk, Haunted

Sondheim, Sweeny Todd

Graphic Novels

Karasik and Auster, City of Glass

Bechdel, Fun Home

Moore and Lloyd, V for Vendetta

Gaiman, The Sandman

Sim, Melmoth

Wood, Fluttter


Twilight Zone

Twin Peaks

Buffy the Vampire Slayer


Arrested Development



True Blood

Breaking Bad


Polanski, Rosemary’s Baby

Almodovar, The Skin I Live In

Haneke, Funny Games

Demme, Silence of the Lambs

Cronenberg, eXistenZ

Sholder, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2

Korine, Gummo

Jarman, Jubilee

Waters, Desperate Living

Haynes, Poison

Jenkins, Monster

Coen Brothers, Fargo


Will Cordeiro, Northern Arizona University

Thursday, 06/02/2022 - 17:06

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