Spooner explores the early origins of the gothic, from its roots in medieval architecture and romance, to its literary revival in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century novels of terror and sensation by authors such as Walpole, Radcliffe, and Lewis. These novels established the basics of the form as we still know it, offering readers the experience of being "pleased by what one dreads" (91) in the form of haunted castles and abbeys; terrible secrets hidden in basements and obscure chambers; peril upon peril in the form of predatory monks, ghosts, and monsters. The gothic has survived, resisting aging, by drawing self-referentially on itself, combining sincere nostalgia with a self-aware sense of theatre, even camp. The gothic has persisted most obviously in our horror narratives: Dracula, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (vampires being the gothic's mascot monster), and-in the debased form of "gorenography"-Saw or Hostel. The gothic offers consumers opportunities to experience sublime terror and grotesque horror, to identify with the monstrous Other (especially appealing to teens), or to homeopathically inoculate ourselves against the terrors of modern life by scaring ourselves recreationally.
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