31 October 2014

Feed Your Gothic - #BookADayUK

It's the end of October. Halloween beckons. Time to feed your Gothic.

But what actually constitues Gothic?

Gothic started its life in medieval religious architecture, a highly decorated style coming out of the Romanesque, even though the term 'Gothic' didn't arrive until the 15th century when in Italy it came to epitomise anything barbaric.

The script itself is truly referred to as Black Letter, and comes in many forms. It was Guttenberg's early presses that brought it to the populace, but not until the 19th century, during both the Gothic Revival in architecture and the explosion of the Industrial Revolution, did it come into its own. Penny Dreadfuls - lurid tales aimed to make the heart race - were often set in ancient decaying buildings or the tenement warrens rural workers found themselves crammed into in the growing cities. Life was both bewildering and dreadful. Reading about worse put their own into managable perspective.

Perhaps it does our own.

The end of the old cultivation year was a time for festivals, for celebration, for divining what life might hold during the dark days of the coming winter season. Pre-Christian peoples believed it was a time when the barriers between this world and the next grew thin enough to breach, and those who dared... or were in the wrong place at the wrong time...

Modern Gothic reflects our own lives, our own wishes, our own fears. We might be more comfortable than our 19th century forebears, but our need to overcome, to make order out of chaos, remains as strong.

How do you feed your Gothic?

Feed it a little more. Fantastic Books Publishing is currently running a short story competition - 666 precise words to chill readers to the bone. Its accompanying promotional video will certainly give you sleepless nights.

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