Friday, June 06, 2008

48 Hour Book Challenge--Book Three

When I go on these study binges what often happens is that I find myself more and more confused as I am exposed to more and more information.

Book Number Three was Gothic! Ten Original Dark Tales edited by Deborah Noyes. Now I don't know a lot about Gothic literature, though I've certainly read some over the years. In her introduction, Noyes raises the question of whether or not a gothic story is a horror story. I had thought they were dark and creepy but within reality--freaky old houses, mysterious older men, damsels in distress, dark secrets. Noyes says that "'s probably more accurate to think of gothic as a room within the larger house of horror...In horror stories, the boundaries between innocence and malevolence are often clearly marked in blood. In the gothic, evil frequently triumphs; beauty certainly fades; monks may be wicked and thrive; murderers can and do claim the moral high ground."

It's almost as if there's more justice and closure in horror than in gothic.

Many of these stories in Gothic! did seem like horror or ghost stories to me. That's not to say they were bad. I had just never thought of gothic stories in terms of that, and now I have to.

Regarding the business of whether or not something happens in these stories that changes the protagonist, which is supposed to be the mark of a short story: Well, if you're alive at the beginning and dead at the end, I guess that's a change. If you have a face at the beginning, and you don't at the end, that's a change I suppose.

We these stories, since they are supposed to be YA (in the introduction Noyes says as much), you have to consider what makes them YA. Is it just a teenage protagonist? Or should a gothic story have something thematically about it that makes it YA?

I don't know. This is what I mean by becoming more confused.

I think the best story in terms of being both what I think of as gothic and what I think of as YA is Gregory Maguires' The Prank.

Reading Time: 4 hours

Number of Pages: 234

Blogging Time: 25 minutes

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