A Classics Club Event in October: Gothic Literature

Where I live it doesn't yet feel like fall.  The heat has downgraded from really hot to pretty hot, and it gets dark earlier, but it's still summer.  However, my kids are planning Halloween costumes, the R. I. P. event is in full swing, and everyone is already announcing their October reading--so I'd better get on the ball and announce a Classics Club event.

In October we'll be celebrating Gothic literature with read-alongs, profiles of famous Gothic novels, and an M. R. James story for every single day of the month!  o at Délaissé is hosting a readalong of The Mysteries of Udolpho and will be doing lots of exciting things, so go check out what she's up to.  

Here at Howling Frog we will be doing the James-a-Day fun.  If you want to participate, run out and find a collection of his stories.  The complete stories are most easily found in a 2-volume Penguin edition, but there are several other editions, and smaller collections like Dover's reprint of Ghost Stories of an Antiquary

For our readalong, we'll be featuring Ann Radcliffe's The Italian: or, the Confessional of the Black Penitents, a wonderful example of early Gothic romance featuring the sinister monk Schedoni.  Ellena Rosalba and Vincentio di Vivaldi are star-crossed lovers--the Marchese di Vivaldi and Father Schedoni are arrayed against them--Ellena disappears mysteriously, Vincentio searches for her, and then he falls into the hands of the Inquisition. 

Halloween is one of my very favorite holidays.  I love autumn and the relief of cooler weather.  I love costumes and trick-or-treating, especially little kids in adorable costumes coming to my door (luckily for me, I live in a good trick-or-treating neighborhood).  I love watching horrible old scary movies that aren't scary, especially when Vincent Price is the star.  My very favorite thing about Halloween is how neighborly it is; everyone is out and friendly and it's just so much fun.  This year will also mark my 39th birthday, so I'd better make it a good one--and I'm really looking forward to celebrating all month long with all of you by reading classic Gothic stories!

I'm going to try to read something from each of the last 3 centuries, so I'm signing up for o's challenge.  I suspect that I'm going to wind up reading a lot of 18th-century literature; some of those titles are very intriguing.

To sign up for The Italian or to read a James story a day, write up a post and link to it below.  Grab the image, available in two sizes for your convenience, and spread the word.  We are going to have lots of spooky fun!


  1. I read about your blog at O's link and I am a new follower! I love all the the events going on for October and Fall -- can't resist! Thank you :-)

  2. I forgot to say that I'm going to do the James a day.

  3. I'm not committing to anything yet, because I've already over-committed myself for the fall... but I think your proposed events sound like fun :) I hope a lot of people join up!

  4. If I hadn't just a few months ago finished a large collection of James stories, I'd participate in that readalong--I really, really enjoyed those stories. Have fun!

  5. What a great idea for a readalong!

    I'd love to join you, but I've already overcommitted myself with October reading.

    I'll still look forward to reading your Gothic posts though. The Gothic is such fun, but with all sorts of interesting stuff going on underneath.

  6. Signing up for the James-a-day which sounds great fun. Don't think I would manage to get through two Radcliffe readalongs.

  7. I have a different Radcliffe lined up, but I love the idea of a James a day.

  8. Hello, I've come across your blog several times, enjoying each visit. I'm a new follower. Will be joining in with Gothic October for The Italian by Ann Radcliffe.

  9. 'The Italian' has been resting in my bookcase for too long now, so this is a perfect time to read it :D

  10. I'm joining you in reading The Italian. I read Mysteries of Udolpho last year and loved it - I'm excited about this one!

  11. Wow, I'm thrilled to see all of you! Yay!


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