Does the Byronic Heroine Exist?

Vanessa IvesLord Byron 1

“Can women have Byronic personalities?”

As seemingly random and specific as it sounds, I’ve actually wondered this on a few occasions. When I went through a big Byron phase a while ago, I was arguably more fascinated with his life and influence on (Gothic) pop-culture than I was by his writings. I found it amazing that an individual could change the landscape of Western culture and media– for centuries to come– almost entirely because of his unique personality. Romantic individualism personified.

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The Bones of the Gothic: Stripping the Gothic to its Core

Gothic Bones 1

Inspired by my past few entries on Gothicism and Minimalism, I’ve decided to take a closer look at what lies at the heart of the Gothic. I tend to immediately and unconsciously label things as “Gothic” based on little more than a subjective “feel” or “mood” that I pick up on.  But I think it is important to establish some kind of objective ground rules for what constitutes the Gothic. What exact characteristics am I picking up on when I recognize a text or piece of art as Gothic?

Let’s take a look back for a second.

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Women in the Gothic Tradition: Two New Exhibits Highlight Women’s roles

Mourning group

Earlier this week, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute opened their first fall exhibition in seven years. The theme that would warrant such a rare event? Mourning Attire. The exhibit, “Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire”,  displays about 30 ensembles dating from 1815 – 1915. It is a reminder of just how much the contemporary Gothic aesthetic owes to Victorian mourning attire and the women who wore it. Continue reading

A Gothic Time Capsule

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My goodness. The British Library is truly a treasure trove for lovers of the Gothic. I’ve already written about their new exhibition (Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination) running from October 3 to January 20. But their treasures are not limited to those who can visit the library in person. The website of the British Library contains scans of early–if not original–editions of Gothic novels, including a 1765 edition of The Castle of Otranto, an 1831 edition of Frankenstein (with a preface written by Mary Shelley on the infamous origins of the novel), and an 1891 edition of The Picture of Dorian Gray. Here is a glimpse at some of the beautiful scans the website has to offer:

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The Orphan’s Arms: Wearable Gothic Ephemera

Today, I wanted to shine a lamplight on a London-based purveyor of subtly Gothic apparel: The Orphan’s Arms. Though they don’t bill themselves as Gothic anywhere in their long-winded about page, their prints tend towards the dark and irreverent. Some of my favorite designs are those that reference iconic works of Gothic literature (anyone who’s studied the Gothic will understand why Villa Diodati deserves to be on the front of a sweatshirt). Others simply seem to be salvaged pieces of Victorian ephemera paired with some cheeky text. All seem give an impression of being a part of an inside joke that only members of some mysterious secret society know. Without further ado, here are some of the best pieces from their affordable outlet store. Enjoy!

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Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination

‘Terror and Wonder’ by Dave McKean, 2014

‘Terror and Wonder’ by Dave McKean, 2014

It seems there has been a resurgence of interest in the Gothic Tradition as of late– and the UK is leading the way. The British Film Institute focused on Gothic film last year (as I wrote about here), and starting today, The British Library opens a massive exhibit on the Gothic Tradition: “Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination“.

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