The Gothic Romance

Publication year

The term ‘gothic romance’, when applied to twentieth-century texts, predominantly refers to a specific and narrowly defined subgenre of romance from the 1950s–1970s, popularly known as ‘gothics’, whose popularity reached its heyday after the genre-reviving publication of Victoria Holt’s Mistress of Mellyn (1960). This conception of the gothic romance allies with a specific formula, which contrasts with those of other popular romance subgenres such as the family saga or the Regency romance. The supposed ur-plot of this gothic romance is Jane Eyre (1847) or a ‘crossbreed’ of the aforementioned with Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca (1938). Such a praxis of categorisation arguably developed from the practice of publishing and commissioning entities. (357)


I will seek here to outline and question our current conception of the gothic romance and ultimately offer a new definitional model and explore its application to the study of the intersection between romance and the gothic. (357-358)