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Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

on 2 December 2001
I bought this book knowing that I'd need some sort of critical analysis for a gothic literature module of my degree course. I bought it on a hunch and by reading the short yet enticingly positive 'blurb'.
On first reading I simply lost a lot of the information due to the excess amounts of difficult terminology. Whilst being an introductory text to the gothic as a genre it definitely does assume a prior knowledge to some elements of history and literature in general.
However, as my course studies developed I found this book increasingly helpful in explaining aspects to what my course had previously covered.
The key to reading this text is definitely to take it in short doses otherwise the sheer amount of (incredibly useful) information will be overwhelming.
Whilst David Punter's 'Literature of Terror' covers more ground with respect to actual textual analysis, Botting's work more than makes up for this with in-depth analysis of 'Gothic' expanding far beyond literary confines.
Once got to grips with, this textbook proves to be essential reading and incredibly useful in explaining difficult concepts and offers a variety of angles to analyze literary texts in the gothic genre.
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VINE VOICEon 1 June 2006
I came to this book as part of my research for teaching Dracula to A-level students, and have found it to be an extremely useful text to have beside me while reading that and other Gothic novels.

The other reviewer of this novel (who sadly has not left their name, which is unfortunate because their thoughts are eminently sensible and insightful), observes correctly that Botting is not preoccupied with close textual analysis, but with general trends in Gothic from its inception to the end of the twentieth Century. That said, the book by no means lacks detail, rather preferring to examine themes and discourses that the reader can then themselves apply to those texts which they have to study.

It seems that this review is becoming a reposte to that already posted, but it is necessary to answer one criticism made by that writer. They are concerned that the book lays on the critical terminology a bit thick in the Introduction, but I found this a refreshing bonus. To be treated as an intelligent reader, but not to be overwhelmed with meaningless critical posturing, was flattering, and Botting knows his subject well enough (and believes sufficiently in its merits) to find no need for hollow rhetoric.

This is at times a challenging book, and it demands commitment and perception from its reader, and it seems squarely aimed at second or third-year undergraduates who have some grounding in the vocabulary of critical theory. Given that caveat, this is a solid and worthwhile book.
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on 19 December 2010
I would love to give this book 5 stars, but for a few faults I know that it would be a more instructive review if I didn't.

Botting is a good writer, but his prose, at least in 'Gothic', is dense and involved, as other reviewers have commented, and this makes the information it contains difficult to retain, especially early on when Botting is speaking in abstract terms while trying to give a condensed, almost psychological account of the Gothic (summarising its effects and critical / theoretical takes on the genre). As others have also suggested, Botting gives an outline of the history and development of the Gothic genre, not a sustained textual analysis of its key texts. On that count, he tells a convincing, well-researched story, but the devil is in the detail, and Botting is a critic of the genre, not a historian, so he inevitably leans toward his own thoughts on the matter, and shouldn't be taken at his word (as other critics and theorists have a different take on things). This is a considered and informative take on the genre however, and I highly recommended it.

Absenting the core text, something has always stuck out for me about this introduction, and that is it's lack of an index - as my studies have progressed I have often wanted to see what Bottings' take on this or that text is ('Wuthering Heights', 'Great Expectations', 'The Bloody Chamber' etc.), but have found that to find some satisfaction on these points, even if that is only to eventually discover that he doesn't mention them at all, I have to skim through the whole book again. That clearly isn't ideal, and an index would therefore be welcome in any new edition or reprint.

Either way, this is a great introduction, a rewarding read, and a worthwhile purchase for anyone studying or interested in the the gothic genre of literature and or its history.
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on 22 November 2015
Botying is a real specialist. the book is written in a very easy and smooth way and it's very easy to read. I recommend you this booj.
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on 26 December 2014
Fairly authoritative cover of Gothic fiction.
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