I thought it might be fun to make a list of favorite Gothic Novels-- say our top 3, 5, 7, 8, or 10. I have chosen a Top 7 to leave room for others I haven't found yet. If you have three or five, that is great, too. A reader commented yesterday that another top list that was begun in the comments was helpful. So, here's my top 7 with a little blurb about why:
1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte-- This novel is the one that made me fall in love with Gothic Novels. The obsessive romance between Cathy and Heathcliff (where I first learned about solipsism) , the symbolism of two houses, and the setting on the moors makes this novel a timeless and daring classic. If you haven't read it, you are missing out. I also recommend the A&E version of this movie; I'm a big Ralph Fiennes/Juliet Binoche fan, and this movie captures the wildness and darkness of the novel.
2. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: This novel has stood the test of time as a ghost story and a cautionary tale about science and progress. The setting of ice and cold as well as the macabre monster and mad scientist make this one a winner. I have taught it dozens of times and will never tire of it. In fact, it ranks above Stoker's Dracula for me. Robert DeNiro, Helena Bonham Carter, and Kenneth Branagh star in a masterful version of this one.
3. Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier: This novel is a masterpiece with its characterization and Gothic Elements. DuMaurier remains unparalleled in creating an atmosphere of eeriness and of injecting twisted love and sexuality into a novel deftly. Also, I think the dead Rebecca is one of the most powerful and present deceased characters I've encountered in a novel.
4. The Man in the Moss by Phil Rickman: I had to include one of these novels in the list. It's part of the Merrily Watkins series by Phil Rickman; all these novels are oh so Gothic with old churches, ghosts galore, murder, peat bogs, demonic possession, and more.
5. Here I Stay by Barbara Michaels: I just reviewed this one, and I decided to include it in my top list. It is near the top of hers for me. Since she is my favorite modern author, it's a tough choice. For a genre subverting Gothic Romance Novel, look no further. I loved the characters so much by the end of this one that I cried the last time I read it.
6. Still Life with Crows by Preston and Child: I love this series with Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast. This novel was the first I read, and it is still my favorite. I love the Southern Pendergast (a man who was raised on a creepy ancestral estate in New Orleans that often makes appearances in the novels), and I love these novels. This one is a Southern Gothic with such an eerie atmosphere as well as caves, crows, murder, and a family secret. If you haven't read any in this series, run to the library. These novels are lengthy and ones I didn't want to end. I recommend any in the series, especially the early ones.
7. Dragonwyck by Anya Seton: Next to Heathcliff, perhaps Seton has created the best Byronic Hero I've ever seen. I found this novel recently, and it has ghosts, a wise old crone, obsessive love, murder, ancestral estate, vivid history and so much more. Seton writes like a dream to top it all off.
For me, these are must read Gothics. There are others that I could add to the list (Stephen King's The Shining or Anne Rivers Siddons' The House Next Door almost made it), but I don't feel as strongly about them. Which novels are on your list, and why do you recommend them?