As well as the typical origins of Gothic which every Gothic guide has, this one has some very interesting essays on different aspects of the Gothic including Queer Gothic by Ellis Hanson as well as Gothic music and subculture, the graphic novel television and parody. Excellent essays on every aspect of the Gothic. Highly recommended.
Every major academic press seems to want its own `guide to Gothic' at the moment. It'll be interesting to see whether anyone can do better than Routledge's - which is pretty good, and marks another step forward in the integration of literary and non-narrative Gothic. A series of chapters examine the history of Gothic in European writing, and then trace the influence of place and setting on the development of the tradition. The third part, `Gothic Concepts', is a delight, and includes the most deft description of Julia Kristeva's theory of `abjection' I've come across within Gothic criticism, immensely enlightening for those of us who haven't tackled the original. The final section, `Gothic media', is more patchy. Emma McEvoy's chapter on theatre and Kamilla Elliott's on film both read like rather rushed and breathless summaries of their subjects (and Dr Pickle & Mr Pryde, p.223, wasn't a `Laurel & Hardy film' since Oliver Hardy wasn't in it); but Dr Fred Botting's apparently recent discovery of the possibilities of `Gothic Culture' results in a stunning, if rather self-congratulatorily clever, bit of work. In fact, I wonder whether this essay, slinkily making its way around the web of representations and re-representations by which Gothic art and Gothic reality interact and affect one another, actually points towards the end of Gothic Studies itself. It certainly depicts a kaleidoscopic phantasmagoria of imagery and play-acting that (as some of us have been saying for a while, and as Catherine Spooner and Paul Hodkinson in their essays keep reminding readers of this book) it's difficult to make any conclusion about.
This is perhaps the best-written and most consistently valuable survey of Gothic yet published. If there is a major weakness, it's the absence of any attention to visual art forms until the last section. It isn't the last word on the subject; but could it mark the beginning of the end?