Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination – Review

The always fascinating British Library has an exhibition on at the moment titled Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination.

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As with every other exhibition I’ve been to at the British Library, it was well worth a visit. The exhibition begins with Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, considered to be the first gothic novel, and continues all the way to the present day, discussing gothic influences on everything from Hellraiser to Twilight.

A highlight for me was the handwritten manuscript of Jane Eyre, a particular favourite of mine. I’d never thought of Jane Eyre as particularly gothic (if asked I’d more likely have come up with Dracula or Frankenstein), but, of course, it does have mystery, an isolated gothic mansion, the stern Mr Rochester, and a madwoman in the attic.

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Plenty of original manuscripts and first editions are on display (of course, it is the BL) as well as a nineteenth century vampire staking kit

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Fans of supernatural literature and classic horror will love it.

The exhibition closes on 20 January so if you’re a Londoner, or are going to be in London, get your tickets quick. It was also, unfortunately, fairly crowded. I went in the afternoon though, and usually find the early morning tickets are usually quieter.

Highly recommended!

 

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