Far-off places, mysterious castles, damsels in distress—these are the classic Gothic tropes we all know and love. But the world of gothic literature is larger than how we often think of it. I recently took a Gothic literature course and I am eager to share some of my new favorite and lesser-known gothic texts with you!

  • The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells—This more underrated novel by Wells follows a psychotic scientist who is obsessed with vivisection, playing God and creating “man.” By the end of the novel, it is not so clear where the boundaries between what is human and what is animal lie.
  • The Turn of the Screw by Henry James—Often referred to as the first ghost story, this novel has all the classic makings for a tale of horror: ghosts, a haunted house and creepy children. However, the slow reveal of the narrator’s unreliability starts to turn the story upside down, making you wonder who the real threat is.
  • Good Lady Ducayne by Mary Elizabeth Braddon—Published 30 years before Dracula, this story is said to have been the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s iconic novel. In this piece, we see how humans can be just as monstrous as the fictional creatures we create—possibly even more so because we often don’t suspect humans of such gruesome schemes.