What is Gothic?

Gothic_themeUsing crowd sourcing, we’re going to develop a working definition of Gothic. In the comments below, I want you a paragraph giving something of a definition / impression or sense of what Gothic means. Use the ‘net and any other books you may want. Cite your sources by putting in links and MLA citations. Sound fun? Hope so. Here’s the catch. Each webpage can only be cited once. So if someone has already put up a link, you need to find a new one. Look at each other’s links and make comments if the spirit moves you. Please make sure you finish putting your links up (you can keep on reading and commenting of course) by 11:59 Thursday, January 16th so we can pull them all together for class on Friday.

Example: The classic definition of Gothic fiction is literature that combines elements of both horror and romance. That’s what I remember most from literature courses. Yet “romance” itself is a style that can take many forms. When I think of Gothic literature I think of British classics like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. I found this definition interesting: “Gothic is a genre that is at once cohesive and divisive, a unification of elements and a paradox. It incorporates themes of eternal conflict and importance to the human condition – relationships, gender, patriarchy, nostalgia, and the sublime. Most importantly, it looks away from the present to the past and from what is obvious and scientific towards an inner world that is at once liberating and imprisoning, and forces the reader to engage it on its own terms, and not those of social and cultural conditioning. It defies categorization and explanation!”

Citation: http://melissaelmes.blogspot.com/2007/07/what-is-gothic-literature.html Melle. “What is Gothic Literature.” Gothic Literature. 2007. Web. 15 Jan. 2014.

(Image credit: Imgion.com)


What is Gothic? — 25 Comments

  1. “ Take – An old castle, half of it ruinous.
    A long gallery, with a great many doors, some secret ones.
    Three murdered bodies, quite fresh.
    As many skeletons, in chests and presses…
    Mix them together, in the form of three volumes, to be taken
    at any of the watering-places before going to bed.
    (Anonymous., ‘ Terrorist Novel Writing ’ , p. 229)

    Other staple gothic ingredients could be added to the recipe offered by an anonymous critic in an essay entitled ‘ Terrorist Novel Writing ’ (1797): dark subterranean vaults, decaying abbeys, gloomy forests, jagged mountains and wild scenery inhabited by bandits, persecuted heroines, orphans and malevolent aristocrats. The atmosphere of gloom and mystery populated by threatening figures was designed to quicken readers ’ pulses in terrified expectation. Shocks, supernatural incidents and superstitious beliefs set out to promote a sense of sublime awe and wonder which entwined with fear and elevated imaginations. “ (Botting 41)

    I felt this author cleverly and effectively demonstrates the elements associated with gothic literature that is why I left the entire quote from chapter 3 of his book titled “Gothic.” As we had discussed in class the Gothic has an element of the supernatural usually present in a dark or ire fashion. As the author writes there really is not one recipe for writing gothic literature. Each author of Gothic work tends to use elements of the gothic to suit his/her writing style. These elements while interchangeable do often become repetitive in the gothic style but when used correctly the never cease to awe and frighten the reader.

    Botting, Fred. New Critical Idiom : Gothic (2nd Edition).
    Florence, KY, USA: Taylor and Francis, 2013. p 52.
    Copyright © 2013. Taylor and Francis. All rights reserved.

  2. “Con­stant threat or air of mys­tery, a mys­te­ri­ous and vir­tu­ous female, a tyrant, a hero…” are the early elements of Gothic literature that Sam Saunders points out. The most famous first story known as “Gothic” is “The Cas­tle of Otranto” written by Horace Walpole, published in 1764. The Romantic era followed in the 1800’s, which influenced Gothic literature. Ideas of “ghosts, ghouls and other monsters” were added. These ideas make the literature more suspenseful. Authors like Mary Shelley, Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Dickens, and Stephen king all contributed to the different genres of this type of writing style. Sam Saunders ends the article saying that these books have “an affin­ity with all things macabre and fright­en­ing”. The difference between this type of literature compared to the others, is that it is perfectly fine to add weird, frightening characters or twists, because after all, readers who enjoy Gothic style like “different” and “scary”.

    Citation: http://dagdapublishing.co.uk/2013/11/08/history-macabre-origins-gothic-literature/
    Saunders, Sam. “Dagda Publishing.” Weblog post. Dagda Publishing. N.p., 2013. Web. 15 Jan. 2014.

  3. “Words like violence
    Break the silence
    Come crashing in
    Into my little world.
    Painful to me
    Pierce right through me,
    Can’t you understand
    Oh my little girl.
    Vows are spoken
    To be broken
    Feelings are intense
    Words are trivial
    Pleasures remain
    So does the pain
    Words are meaningless
    And forgettable.
    All I ever wanted
    All I ever needed
    Is here in my arms
    Words are very unnecessary
    They can only do harm.
    Enjoy the silence. ” (Depeche Mode, “Enjoy the Silence. 1990) This song possesses key elements that are defined or considered as Gothic music. As we discussed in class, Goth (and Goth Music) has a certain darkness to it, and also contains a type of horror romance in which there is a gloomy tone. As Charles Allen Mueller writes” Goth bands purged their music and image of characteristics associated with masculinity, and they composed songs dealing with gyno-centered traumas, domestic abuse, and everyday cruelty” (Mueller). This sense of everyday cruelty is visible in Depeche Mode’s lyrics; “Pleasures remain, so does the pain. Words are meaningless and forgettable,” in this, he is talking about how there is always pain when there is pleasure in his life. Works Cited

  4. The article I came across is entitled: “Discussing What Makes Gothic Literature.” Since the term ‘gothic’ is a vague one, I narrowed it down to gothic literature, though I think the themes are fairly broad and describe gothic effectively. The article describes how gothic literature often takes place within large buildings such as mansions, castles, or abbey which are usually in ruin condition, and hold a certain ‘mystic’ and remind the reader of a society — a world in decay — a grey, cold, dark, with the antagonist having descended from grace into an an evil mindset. Further, the literature will often reflect major fears within society such as rape, murder, and so on, and do so with the protagonist in an isolated, solitary position. Gothic literature also includes elements of the supernatural, as we discussed in class today.

    In all, it is the deep, dark aesthetic and focus of mankind’s deepest fears is what defines this genre of literature — the eerie and uncomfortable twists and plot sequence are characteristic of gothic literature.

    Citation: http://hookofabook.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/discussing-what-makes-gothic-literature-guest-article-by-author-stephanie-carroll/

    Carroll, Stephanie. “Discussing What Makes Gothic Literature: Guest Article by Author Stephanie Carroll.” Oh for the HOOK of a BOOK. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2014.

  5. Although Gothic is a term which has been used to describe creepy, grotesque or nightmarish art from all mediums, for me this genre is best exemplified in the field of literature. The first concept that comes to mind when trying to define this complex style is the issue of “otherness”. This “Other” is born out of latent perversion, oppression or unattained issues. An example of this representation of inner conflict can be found in the famous novella “The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” where the protagonist experiences a severe case of split personality which ultimately causes his evil, animalistic side to consume him. This fantastical story resonated with serious truth during a time when society placed a veil of secrecy over anything that was deemed immoral, different or psychologically disturbed. Victorian propriety favored false sanity over honest emotionality. Consequently, literature was used as a medium to allow these monsters to roam freely while criticizing that negation of expression.

    Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s famous story “The Yellow Wallpaper” also uses gothic elements to deal with the asphyxiating isolation of its protagonist, it allows the sick women to release the part of her psyche that was made ill by her husband’s oppression.

    In “Gothic Fiction Tells us the Truth About Our Divided Nature” Alison Milbank addresses this issue of the double-self and the dark and honest part that is liberated through Gothic stories. Milbank argues that this type of literature, which deals with “the horrors that lurk in our own psyche”, can inspire an examination of our own dual identity and serve as a source of self-knowledge. The author states that beyond dealing with the supernatural, Gothic stories reveal something about our own nature.

    Works Cited:
    Milbank, Alison. “Gothic Fiction Tells Us the Truth about Our Divided Nature.” Theguardian.com. Guardian News and Media, 27 Nov. 2011. Web. 15 Jan. 2014.


  6. We defined the term Gothic in class and like anything, a wide range of definitions and interpretations were examined. The term “gothic” has evolved over time from the Germanic tribe known as the Goths, into a type of architecture during the Middle Ages that were not traditionally structured, as well as a type of Romantic literature. The one common denomination I found within each definition was the fact that the term Gothic has a rebellious quality. Goth means going against the grain of the norm around it.
    I found a definition that encompasses the broad context of the term: “Gothic” has come to mean quite a number of things by this day and age. It could mean a particular style of art, be it in the form of novels, paintings, or architecture; it could mean “medieval” or “uncouth.” It could even refer to a certain type of music and its fans. What it originally meant, of course, is “of, relating to, or resembling the Goths, their civilization, or their language”.
    Citation: http://cai.ucdavis.edu/waters-sites/gothicnovel/155breport.html
    De Vore, David. “The Gothic Novel.” University of California, Davis. n.d. Web. 15 January 2014.

  7. Based off of certain characteristics, books such Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre have been categorized into the Gothic genre. Alma Katsu narrows these characteristics down to four, all of which are used to define the Gothic genre. When put together, three of the characteristics lead to the conclusion—often used as the final definition—that a Gothic novel is a story in which the character undergoes a journey from logic and reason into a dimension of emotion, which is represented by the supernatural in order to evoke strong emotions of dread and terror; yet it serves as a warning about the dangers of the inner psyche. However, while this has become the common definition of classic Gothic, can it still be applied to contemporary Gothic Literature? Are the newest releases in supernatural YA (Young Adult) and Fiction still considered Gothic even if they focus more on the romantic aspect as opposed to the horror?

  8. As we discussed in class, Gothic refers to both an architectural style, literary style and musical genre. The English Gothic novel’s inception began with Horace Walpole’s “The Castle of Otranto” in 1765 and typically contain elements of ruins, dark corridors, madness, omens and curses, villains, the supernatural and the sublime. Emotional themes include nameless terrors and suspense. It also served the purpose of exploring sexual themes, and safely experiencing dread or horror. As Lilia Melani at Brooklyn College writes, “The Gothic creates feelings of gloom, mystery, and suspense and tends to the dramatic and the sensational, like incest, diabolism, and nameless terrors.”
    Southern Gothic literature tends to explore the grotesque and the macabre. Authors such as Flannery O’Connor, William Faulkner and Eudora Welty are good examples of this sub genre. Southern Gothic literature tends to deal with racism and characters who romanticize the Antebellum South. Other common themes are characters with disturbed personalities and mentally unstable women (think Blanche DuBois in “A Streetcar Named Desire”). Southern Gothic literature tends not to have an emphasis on the supernatural, but is focused more on disturbed and/or delusional characters.

    Melani, Lilia. Brooklyn College. 24 October 2002. Web page. 16 January 2014. .

  9. The term ‘gothic’ has long prompted me to think of the subculture, which I was familiar with in my teen years. It is dark and eerie, yet not entirely ugly, there is a sense of beauty, romance and elegance. Within literature it has been both a theme that frightens, either literally or psychologically, and entices. I found Norton’s explanation of “the gothic” particularly interesting because it becomes obvious that the term cannot only be applied to literature, but to all forms of art. “The Gothic featured accounts of terrifying experiences in ancient castles — experiences connected with subterranean dungeons, secret passageways, flickering lamps, screams, moans, bloody hands, ghosts, graveyards, and the rest. By extension, it came to designate the macabre, mysterious, fantastic, supernatural, and, again, the terrifying, especially the pleasurably terrifying, in literature more generally. Closer to the present, one sees the Gothic pervading Victorian literature (for example, in the novels of Dickens and the Brontës), American fiction (from Poe and Hawthorne through Faulkner), and of course the films, television, and videos of our own (in this respect, not-so-modern) culture.”

    Citation: “The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Romantic Age: Topic 2: Overview.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Romantic Age: Topic 2: Overview. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Jan. 2014.

  10. In an article titled “The Word ‘Gothic’ In Eighteenth Century Criticism”, I found that the term gothic has had two meanings. The article states that “the meaning first in both time and scope, is ‘barbarous’. However, the article also states that during the 18th century, the meaning of gothic transformed to “medieval”, inspired by the architecture of that time. The author of this article also stated something similar to the definition I found of the term Chicano. He said “its difference in meaning represents not an unbroken semantic change, but the readapting of an old word in a totally new sense, motivated by a
    change in point of view”. Given this statement, I think the term gothic has many meanings. To some, it my be considered dark and eery, but to others, it may be considered beautiful and elegant. It all depends on the point of view.

    Citation: The Word “Gothic” in Eighteenth Century Criticism
    Alfred E. Longueil
    Modern Language Notes
    Vol. 38, No. 8 (Dec., 1923) , pp. 453-460
    Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
    URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2915232

  11. When i hear the word gothic I first think of the style that some people have involving dark clothes and makeup. However the term can be used to describe others things like architecture and literature. I find it interesting that “the term Gothic was first used during the later Renaissance, and as a term of contempt.” This is because the Gothic style of architecture was barabaric, coming from tribes including vandals, and broke from the traditional style of Roman Architecture. Buildings modeled after the gothic style were “congestions of heavy, dark, melancholy, monkish piles, without any just proportion, use or beauty.” Many people desired to destroy this art form since it was associated with barbarians.

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06665b.htm Cram, Ralph Adams. “Gothic Architecture.” Catholic Encyclopedia. 1909. Web. 16 Jan. 2014.

  12. In researching what a concrete definition of “Gothic” might be, I came across an article giving many succinct and well-explained thoughts about the effects Gothic literature produces. There is a popular assumption, as we discussed in class, that the only characteristics of Gothic lit are haunted castles and the supernatural, and other “ghost-story devices” as Robert Hume expresses. However what the genre aimed to do was to “rouse the reader’s imaginative sympathies.” Additionally, it served to “remove the narrative from the realm of the everyday” by making use of the supernatural to excite and intrigue readers’ imaginations. I learned that Gothic authors tended to want to stir up “psychological interest” in the way of employing complex situations that were heavy in emotion. Gothic literature has the aspect of coercing readers to get involved in the story in new ways by creating suspense as well as plots and atmospheres meant to “shock” and “alarm” readers. As a psychology major, I find it interesting that one of the sole effects of Gothic lit is that it creates “sublime feelings which may be roused by the mixture of pleasure and pain induced by fear.” These powerful emotions are not common for literature of our generation nor what was common in the post-Enlightenment time when the Gothic culture came about. It is understandable that it was met with harsh criticism in that it has the potential to stir people’s emotions in some unsettling ways. The term Gothic is one that summons emotion, rebellion, imagination, suspense, fear, shock, and unique creativity.

    Citation: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1261285
    Hume, Robert D. “Gothic versus Romantic: A Revaluation of the Gothic Novel.” PMLA, Vol. 84, No. 2 (Mar., 1969), pp. 282-290.

  13. While there are numerous definitions for the word Gothic, I will attempt to define it through its various literary tropes. The Gothic literature genre is primarily focused on aspects of the psychological, often focusing on different forms of terror and how this applies to the characters in the work. This terror is often focused on sexuality and the ways in which certain actions are “sexually transgressive.” In many ways, the genre becomes a testing ground for themes that are trangressive, such as sodomy, necrophilia, and so on.
    In addition, these acts, and the terror they cause, are often perceived as horrible in relation to ideals spread by the Catholic church. Walpole’s “The Castle Of Otranto” features acts that are decried both through their dismissal of proper sexual behavior, but also of the sanctity of certain religious systems. In this manner, Gothic literature demonstrates itself as a genre primarily focused on discovering the bounds of human behavior and what terrifies us.

    Haggerty, George. “The Horrors of Catholicism: Religion and Sexuality in Gothic Fiction.” Romanticism on the Net. 36-37. (2004): n. page. Print.

  14. Nigal Mckay describes goth culture as a “way of life”. This broad indication makes me wonder which elements of goth cultre work to create this working definition. McKay proceeds to claim that gothic culture is reflected in “clothes, jewelry, music, and art”. The life of a goth expresses different emotions utilizing the ways in which one can display emotions of independent expression.Mckay emphasises the way in which the gothic subculture stands emotionally independent of others from different traditions or culture categories.


    History and What Is Gothic Culture and Fashion By Nigel May McKay. Ezinearticles.com

  15. In his article “What’s Gothic Now” Alma Katsu describes Gothic as a mixture of horror and romance. It is a dominant genre of American literature that has spilled into popular culture. Although it is evolving Katsu calls attention to the true characteristics of Gothic when comparing it to today’s works. Katsu writes, “What makes a book Gothic? Generally speaking, at its core Gothic fiction has these characteristics:
    (1) the main character is being asked to reject the rational world in order to embrace the primitive world of our emotions;
    (2) this is usually done through a supernatural element that invokes a feeling of dread or terror;
    (3) the supernatural world is represented by a character who has completely rejected the rational world for this primitive world; and
    (4) the story serves to warn the reader of the danger of giving oneself over to the seductive but dangerous world of the inner psyche.”
    When we look at gothic in terms of literature it is important that it is separate from horror. While they do share some similar qualities Gothic has a larger focus on the supernatural and human emotion. It is emotions that drive the narrative. There is struggle between the rational and the primitive worlds that causes tension in the plot. These stories usually teach a lesson possibly to warn against such an embrace of the primitive world. A perfect example of Gothic literature is Frankenstein. It combines the natural with the supernatural, the primitive with the rational, has a primitive character and warns man against playing God.
    Katsu, Alma. “What is Gothic Today?” TOR. Macmillan. 19 June 2012. Web. 16 January 2014.

  16. Because the term Gothic contains within it several elements, I chose to focus on the genre of Gothic literature. The concept of the Gothic novel began in 1765 with Horace Walpole’s Castle of Otranto which quickly gained popularity and began to be imitated by other authors.
    The Gothic genre can be characterized by elements such as extreme landscapes, like rugged mountains, thick forests, or icy wastes, and extreme weather, omens and ancestral curses, and magic, supernatural manifestations, or the suggestion of the supernatural. ” The Gothic creates feelings of gloom, mystery, and suspense and tends to the dramatic and the sensational, like incest, diabolism, and nameless terrors.”

    Citation: http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/english/melani/gothic/gothic.html
    The Gothic Experience. October 2002

  17. As I was talking to my friend about defining “Gothic”, she went on to tell me that the Gothic culture is stereotyped many times. This led me to research more about the different types of Gothic people. I came across a website that lists many types of goths in the Gothic culture. Some of these are, Romantic Goth, cyber goth, J-goth, vampire goth, emo goth, geek goth, etc. With this being said, I will define the “Geek Goth”.
    “The typical Geek Goth tends to place less emphasis on Goth as a fashion, and more on its overtones of dark fantasy. So while they may not look as spectacularly Gothic as other Goth Types, their knowledge of the symbolism and artistic influences behind Goth is very often superior. They are more inclined than most to indulge in role play, read sci-fi, fantasy and horror novels, and watch cult TV shows and films with Gothic appeal. Geek Goths are also more likely to be into computer games and anime than other Goths. You are far more likely to find them in Forbidden Planet than in a goth club.Geek Goths are some of the most intelligent, creative and open-minded Goths you’ll meet. Fittingly, they frequently have diverse and eclectic taste in music, although they may be more attracted to bands who regularly sing about Lord of the Rings, Cthulhu or other subjects with a high Geek interest. ”
    As I looked at all the types of Goths, I learned a lot. It is not good to stereotype a goth without actually knowing what type of Goth they are.

    “Goth [stereo] Types.” Goth [stereo] Types – The Geek Goth. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Jan. 2014.

  18. “David Punter in his seminal study of the Gothic…rightly notes that one of the key terms in the Gothic is that of ambivalence, because the Gothic so often appears to delight in transgression” (Smith, 3). I find this sentiment, found in Gothic Literature by Andrew Smith, telling of both the gothic literary genre as well as the gothic counterculture.
    This “delight in transgression” can be found in many gothic novels. For example, the pieced together, brooding monster and his creation in Frankenstein is a far more interesting than the self-pitying mess that is Dr. Frankenstein. Furthermore, it cannot be denied that the horrific deeds of Dracula far more titillating than the humdrum “hero” Jonathan Harker. In this way, I believe that gothic literature aided in the popularization of the antihero and the marginalized. This is still entirely relevant in all forms of gothic culture today, from the popular-culture goths, who become the antiheros of their own stories, partaking in rebellious activities that are not seen as appealing in mainstream culture, to the history of American gothic and its focus on race and discrimination.
    In light of this, I would define “gothic” as the extreme of the romanticized antihero.

    Smith, Andrew. Gothic Literature.
    Edinburgh, GBR: Edinburgh University Press, 2007. p 30.
    Copyright © 2007. Edinburgh University Press. All rights reserved.

  19. The term gothic can have many meanings depending on the person who is being asked. Gothic can relate to architecture, to literature all the way to music. “The word Gothic primarily describes a style of European architecture which flourished from the twelfth through the sixteenth centuries, though the word seems originally to have referred to any non-classical (Greek or Roman) architecture.” When referred to architecture, Gothic means a style that is darker and over the top out of the norm, not following the regular guidelines of the every day architecture. Another way Gothic is described in the article is through literature. “What makes a work Gothic is a combination of at least some of these elements:a castle, ruined or intact, haunted or not, ruined buildings which are sinister or which arouse a pleasing melancholy,dungeons, underground passages, crypts, and catacombs which, in modern houses, become spooky basements or attics,…” Gothic literature is darker form of writing, that doesn’t have to do with happy fairytales or princess. It is dark and perhaps scary and more daring, such as the novel by Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto or Frankenstein. Again, the word gothic can have many meanings.
    Citation: http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/english/melani/gothic/gothic.html
    “The Gothic.” The Gothic. N.p., 24 Oct. 2002. Web. 16 Jan. 2014.

  20. Gothic architecture changed much of the common style of building after the medieval period. “Gothic architecture developed because of common architectural problems in medieval times.” It tried to solve some of these unpleasant problems, and created light, pleasant and airy buildings. Before gothic, architecture was functional but following gothic it became about beauty and art.
    Some characteristics of gothic architecture includes: “grand, tall designs, the flying buttress, the pointed arch, the vaulted ceiling, light and airy interior, images of gargoyles, and an emphasis upon decorative style and the ornate.” Churches were the first to adopt such architecture with the York Minster in England being the grandest of them all. Castles later adopted gothic architecture and were transformed from dark living quarters to light and pleasant rooms for royalty to reside. “Gothic architecture marked the first time that beauty and aesthetic values had been incorporated into building design.” Gothic builders, unlike the medieval architects, focused highly on small details and made sure that every image and object had a meaning and a purpose for the overall building. The image that, to some, defines the gothic style is gargoyles and they actually have an assuring purpose. They “enable rainwater to drain off the roof and gush through their mouths”. They are creatures whose creepy features encourage many to “seek solace and safety inside the church or cathedral” to protect themselves from demons that roam outside.

    Citation: http://www.exploring-castles.com/characteristics_of_gothic_architecture.html

    Morris, Edd. The Seven Key Characteristics of Gothic Architecture: From the Gargoyle to the Flying Buttress. Web. 17 Jan. 2014

  21. “Gothic as a form of fiction-making has played a major role in western culture since the late eighteenth century” (Hogle). “Even though several long-standing literary forms combined in its initial renderings—from ancient prose and verse romances to Shakespearean tragedy and comedy—the first published work to call itself “A Gothic Story” was a counterfeit medieval tale published long after the Middle Ages: Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, printed under a pseudonym in England in 1764 and reissued in 1765 in a second edition…” (Hogle 1). It is noted that it contained romantic, fantastic, and everyday elements. These elements influenced other genres, such as the Victorian novel. Gothic influences were “flamboyant,” “sensational,” and “satirized for their excess” (1). In addition, there were darker elements, such as monsters or creatures (2). “The readership or audience of all such Gothics began as and remains mostly middle-class and Anglo, though more kinds of audiences (postcolonial, African-American, American Indian, and Latin American, for example) have been drawn in over the years” (3).
    Work Cited:
    Hogle, Jerrold E. The Cambridge Companion to Gothic Fiction. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Print.

  22. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=gothic

    Gothic (adj.) “of the Goths,” Germanic people who lived in Eastern Europe c.100 C.E., “pertaining to the Goths or their language,” 1610s, from Late Latin Gothicus, from Gothi, Greek Gothoi, all from Gothic gutþiuda “Gothic people,” the first element cognate with Old Norse gotar “men.” “The sense ‘men’ is usually taken to be the secondary one, but as the etymology of the word is unknown, this is uncertain” [Gordon]. The unhistorical -th- in English is from Late Latin. 

    Used in sense of “savage despoiler” (1660s) in reference to their fifth-century sacking of Roman cities (cf. vandal, and French gothique, still with a sense of “barbarous, rude, cruel”). Gothic also was used by scholars to mean “Germanic, Teutonic” (1640s), hence its evolution as a 17c. term for the art style that emerged in northern Europe in the Middle Ages, and the early 19c. literary style that used northern European medieval settings to suggest horror and mystery. The word was revived 1983 as the name for a style of music and the associated youth culture; abbreviated form gothis attested from 1986. Gothic revival in reference to architecture and decorating first recorded 1869 in writing of C.L. Eastlake.

    Gothic comes as a description of barbarians in the Latin of Romans. In the preceding prominent culture of Greece, bar Arkansas were seen as literally foreign, as in the other, the unlike the western. Some in this sense gothic arose as a word to denote non Ethnocentric sensibilities in a vastly modernizing time in which what was gothic deviated from what was then the normal, creating its on avant garde genre.

  23. While the term Gothic grants many definitions, it is said that Goths were barbarians that caused distress and misfortune to the Roman Empire. Gothic was also be found the Middle Age, and was utilized in the Renaissance through the gargoyle themed architecture. As time has passed, the meaning behind Gothic has evolved and can be found in “unique music, art, and literature.”

    Although the term Gothic can “incorrectly [be] associated with Satanism [and] violence,” there is without a doubt (according to religioustolerance.org) that Gothic can be associated with dark colors, horror, mystery, eeriness, and death.

    Citation: http://www.religioustolerance.org/goth.htm
    Robinson, B.A. “Part 1: The Goth Culture: Quotations; Why Discuss Goth Culture Here? Description. History.” The Goth Culture: Its History, Practices, Stereotypes, Religious Connections, Etc. N.p., 2014. Web. 1 Mar. 2014.