Bibliography for GURPS Screampunk
Early Gothic (1750-1820)
Austen, Jane. Northanger Abbey (John Murray, 1818). A satire on earlier gothic novels. The innocent heroine becomes fascinated by "horrid" gothic tales, imagining gruesome secrets and melodrama all around her.
Beckford, William. Vathek (Printed for J. Johnson, 1786). A tyrannical caliph is slowly corrupted by a giaour in his quest for power and knowledge.
De Sade, Comte Alphonse Donatien Francois. Justine (1797). It is a story of an innocent who is corrupted by foul villainy, but that's probably not the reason to read it. (The writing style is appalling.)
Hoffmann, E.T.A. Tales of Hoffmann (1817). One of the German Romantics who so influenced the gothic writers, Hoffman writes delightfully dark fairy tales for grown-ups.
Lewis, Matthew. The Monk (J. Bell, 1796). A racy romp though the inevitable corruption of a young monk in a Spanish monastery. Filled with sex, violence, and demon summoning, it was a best seller in its time.
Maturin, Charles. Melmoth, the Wanderer (A. Constable and Company, 1820). A classic antihero, Melmoth is cursed to wander the Earth until he can find someone desperate enough to take over his Faustian pact. Contains many loosely connected sub-stories (quite a difficult read), but impressed Oscar Wilde enough that he adopted the title character's name as a pseudonym.
Radcliffe, Ann. The Secrets of Udolpho (G.G. and J. Robinson, 1794). A seminal book, this is one of the first of the genre to feature a strong, pragmatic female heroine who is imprisoned by an evil guardian. The sense of impending doom has often been mimicked but never surpassed.
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus (Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, and Jones, 1818). Intensely thoughtful novel about a man who creates a monster, and then abandons it. More cerebral than many contemporary gothic works.
Walpole, Horace. The Castle of Otranto (Thomas Lownds, 1765). Often tagged as the first true gothic novel. Walpole also kick-started the gothic revival in architecture with the redesign of his house at Strawberry Hill.
Victorian Era Gothic (1821-1914)
Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre (Smith, Elder, and Company, 1847). The eponymous Jane is cast as the rational heroine, sharing an isolated manse with the saturnine Mr. Rochester. The character of the madwoman in the attic has become a genre staple.
Conan Doyle, Sir Arthur. The Hound of the Baskervilles (George Newnes, 1902). Holmes and Watson are classic Victorian rational heroes; here they investigate a family that is cursed by a dreadful spectral hound.
Corelli, Marie. The Sorrows of Satan (Methuen, 1895). Overwrought Faustian tale of a writer who unwittingly accepts Lucifer's patronage in return for material success. Also a satire on the critics who had blasted Corelli's earlier works. She won her victory; this was a best seller.
Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations (Chapman and Hall, 1861). Many of Dickens' novels use gothic themes. But the character of Miss Havisham, the eccentric spinster who never recovered from being jilted on her wedding day, is a classic.
Haggard, Sir H. Rider. She (Longmans and Green, 1887). An adventurer travels to Africa to learn the terrible secrets of She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed, and her connection to his own ancestors.
Hugo, Victor. Notre-Dame de Paris (Gosselin, 1831). Also known as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, this work is a wonderful historical gothic novel, set in medieval Paris, that tells the story of the gypsy girl Esmeralda, and the men who are doomed to love her.
James, M.R. Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (Edward Arnold, 1904). Hailed as a master of supernatural fiction by Lovecraft. Current reprints of his work such as Collected Ghost Stories (Wordsworth Editions Ltd., 1992) may still form the finest collection of ghost stories in print anywhere.
Leroux, Gaston. The Phantom of the Opera (Bobbs-Merrill, 1911). Classic tale of the solitary, tormented Erik, who lives deep below the Paris Opera House, and the innocent young woman who falls into his clutches.
Poe, Edgar Allan. Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (Lea and Blanchard, 1840). Evocative tales of gothic horror, by a master of the art. The stories are generally better than the poetry. His works are collected in many modern reprints such as The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe (Penguin Books, 1987).
Stoker, Bram. Dracula (Archibald Constable and Company, 1897). Classic vampire tale whose protagonists band together to fight an ancient, supernatural evil.
Thomson, James. The City of Dreadful Night (The National Reformer, 1880). The title verse is a paragon of rich, somber, awe-inspiring gothic atmosphere.
Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Grey (M.J. Ivers, James Sullivan, 1890). The story of a man who is given a license to indulge all imaginable vices, but who pays a terrible price.
Ligotti, Thomas. The Nightmare Factory (Carroll and Graf, 1996). A collection of short stories, by a master of contemporary horror. Ligotti's stories are filled with gloom and despair that evokes earlier gothic writings, and with fantastic leaps of imagination.
Lovecraft, Howard. The Case of Charles Dexter Ward (Victor Gollancz Ltd., 1951). This represents Lovecraft's closest brush with "traditional" gothic story structures and certainly one of his best tales. A young sorceror delves into his forbidden past and resurrects an evil from beyond the grave.
Morrison, Toni. Beloved (Knopf, 1987). Winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize, this book relates the story of Sethe, a black girl who escaped from slavery and is haunted by the vengeful ghost of the daughter that she murdered.
Peake, Mervyn. Titus Groan (Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1946). A gothic fantasy epic, and one of the seminal writings of the 20th century. The first of a trilogy in which the eponymous hero is born and brought up in an impossibly large, old, and stagnant gothic castle.
Rice, Anne. Interview with the Vampire (Knopf, 1976). A journalist sits down at night with his tapes to interview a man who claims to be a vampire, in a darkened room in New Orleans. This book single-handedly resurrected the gothic vampire genre, and influenced many other modern novels, games, and films on the topic.