Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Gothicka: Vampire Heroes, Human Gods, and the New Supernatural” as Want to Read:
Gothicka: Vampire Heroes, Human Gods, and the New Supernatural
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Gothicka: Vampire Heroes, Human Gods, and the New Supernatural

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  91 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
The Gothic, Romanticism's gritty older sibling, has flourished in myriad permutations since the eighteenth century. In "Gothicka, " Victoria Nelson identifies the revolutionary turn it has taken in the twenty-first. Today's Gothic has fashioned its monsters into heroes and its devils into angels. It is actively reviving supernaturalism in popular culture, not as an evil di ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published April 23rd 2012 by Harvard University Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Gothicka, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Gothicka

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Rebecca McNutt
Gothicka was rather interesting but a little more elaborate than it needed to be in my opinion. I'm still not fully certain what it was trying to get at in its messages. O_o
Jan 30, 2017 Fredösphere rated it it was amazing
Nelson has done a great thing. This book includes an erudite history of the Gothic in books and film. It also reviews a great many recent additions (and no other book has inspired me to consume so many books and movies reviewed). Most impressively, Nelson offers a tentative prediction for where the Gothic is heading. It's a bold prediction: that the Gothic will lead to the development of a neo-Gnositc American-based world religion in the 21st century.

Nelson really knows the genre, but what's esp
Joshua Buhs
Mar 21, 2013 Joshua Buhs rated it liked it
Shelves: history, fantasy
This is essentially a sequel to the secret life of puppets, arguing that since around the turn of the 21st century the supernatural has been escaping popular culture and beoming a more active force in america, as well as shedding its association with the demonic and reclaiming a lost (like, for 2000 years) positive association. Like secret life of puppets, the book meanders sometimes, shows off its erudition, and includes chapters that don't really need to be there. But good stuff.

Introduction n
Feb 10, 2013 Mjhancock rated it really liked it
Nelson's basic premise is that the religious spirituality and belief that used to infuse Western society is resurfacing in modern fandom, and the means of that long process is the Gothic. Essentially, when Protestant England and America reaffirmed its separation from Catholicism, it kept the fascination with the supernatural, dark side of the Catholic faith--demons and witches and so forth. That fascination expressed itself in the gothic, and, as time went on, in the supernatural in general, to ...more
Jun 04, 2012 Ann added it
I would like to call Victoria Nelson out on some shit. One of the phenomena discussed in the book is fan formation of spiritual communities out of genre entertainments. Some of these seem to be based on a really boneheaded understanding of the works in question, and VN fails to point this out, and is so weirdly uncritical, so uncritically enthused.

She writes that Michael Aquino, a Satanist disciple of Anton LaVey, "asserts that rites around Lovecraft's monster gods show an egalitarian advance ov
Jun 01, 2013 Rhonda rated it really liked it
I very much wanted to dislike this book for two reasons -- 1. The use of the K -- please. 2. This bit from the preface: "I have made no attempt to survey the present of Gothick scholarship [is there any GothicK scholarship?] and position my own thinking within it, thereby omitting mention of many current key thinking in this vast, rick and exciting field" (xii-xiii).
Um, someone should tell this lady how scholarship usually works. I'm going to go with intellectually arrogant to describe the tone.
Jun 19, 2012 Erika rated it really liked it

Fantastic, in many senses of the word. Picked this up at City Lights in San Francisco, what a great find! Nelson provides a well researched, insightful analysis of the Gothick in today's popular culture. I have added to my "to see" list many movies, and increased my appreciation of comic and fantasy genres.
Oct 14, 2014 Patrick rated it really liked it
This was a birthday present from my sister who (quite correctly) judged it as being relevant to my interests. It’s an extensive non-fictional survey of the general state of affairs in what the author calls the world of ‘Gothick’, a term used to describe the stylistic movement originally defined by the novels of Ann Radcliffe and Horace Walpole, in contrast to the original ‘Gothic’ period in the European middle-ages. Across almost three hundred pages the book takes in a very broad range of source ...more
Catherine Siemann
This book has many merits -- interesting readings on a number of subjects, including a delightfully snarky one of Dan Brown, something about Twilight that had me actually thinking rather than automatically dismissing, a take on Garth Ennis's Preacher, one of the few comics series I actually followed all the way through -- as well as references to a number of texts, films, etc. with which I was unfamiliar and am interested in learning more about. There's a take on Catholicism vs. Protestsantism a ...more
Gothicka is a competent examination of contemporary gothic culture, but it brings little new thinking to the subject. As a primer on gothic (gothick to the author to separate it from Medieval gothic and the goths...but all Victoria Nelson ends up doing is adding to an already noisome lexicon) it is a good entry, but as a deeply engaging work it falls short.

Another weakness is a lack of conclusion:

"I find myself stymied when it drawing a conclusion"

This might not be a problem for so
Lydia Peever
Jan 03, 2014 Lydia Peever rated it liked it
Though I dug into this with massive optimism, I wasn't ready for the dissection and regular return to Dan Brown's work throughout. Enjoyable and interesting reading for authors, horror readers and film fans, Gothika unfolds the 'gothic' lurking under many contemporary fan faves. Even if I liked the idea more than the contents, it will still be lent to a few academics that will also enjoy the ideas that Nelson mulls over.
Oct 17, 2013 Leif rated it it was ok
After reading a mostly positive review of this ages ago, I finally picked it up intrigued by some of the chapter titles. Bland or idiosyncratic – sometimes both – I didn't find a lot that was helpful to me here. The writing was, however, fluid and assured; the topics could have been fascinating on their own rights. It just wasn't what I wanted to read from the review and the topics listed. Ah well.
Rory Gilson
Sep 22, 2016 Rory Gilson rated it it was amazing
Victoria Nelson has done a fantastic job answering the simple question: "Why is our generation so obsessed with vampires?"
Gothicka: Vampire Heroes, Human Gods, and the New Supernatural does a brilliant job theorizing why vampires, monsters, and unearthly beings have become so prominent in our literature and our lives. This is Gothic Literary Criticism at it's finest.
Dec 20, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013-reads
Is horror our new religion? Nelson's fascinating and fabulously erudite work explores the places our urge for the supernatural may be taking us, dancing lightly through points drawn from as delightfully diverse a spread as Walpole, Stephenie Meyer, Dan Brown, and Lovecraft. So good you'll even be reading the footnotes.
Feb 01, 2014 John rated it really liked it
I found this book both engrossing and easy to read. Before I read this book, a colleague and and I were discussing the surge in popularity of "monster-of-the-week" tv shows and the obsession with zombies, etc. I found the author's overview interesting. Highly recommended.
Oct 24, 2014 Taylor rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, fantasy
learning why supernatural and fantastical ideas are so popular and through what tradition was very interesting. i enjoyed this book because it propelled my interest in such genres. there were two chapters i may have been confused by but that is most likely my fault as i read the book on and off.
Steve Wiggins
May 10, 2013 Steve Wiggins rated it it was amazing
For anyone who's entranced by the Gothic spirit. A smart, well-written, and challenging account of supernatural culture. See more at: Sects and Violence in the Ancient World.
Jan 05, 2013 Jane rated it really liked it
A great analysis of the current trend toward all things undead in pop culture.
The point that resonates most with me is that in the loss of institutional religion, audiences are hungry for the supernatural. In their hunger they will devour anything with a hint of forever attached.
Helen Mears
Dec 01, 2013 Helen Mears rated it really liked it
A fascinating book. Victoria Nelson considers the Gothic as a potential location for a new spirituality. A wide ranging study that includes religion, plays, books and films.
Mills College Library
700.415 N431 2012
Randi Kennedy
Cultural criticism is great, because I feel like it validates my pop culture choices. Also, I know want to watch all the foreign horror films.
Michael rated it really liked it
Jan 21, 2014
Shel rated it it was amazing
Dec 22, 2011
Kathleen rated it it was amazing
Oct 21, 2015
Lance Houser
Lance Houser rated it really liked it
Sep 16, 2013
Carolyn Severance
Carolyn Severance rated it liked it
Apr 20, 2014
Leah rated it really liked it
Jun 28, 2012
David rated it really liked it
Oct 28, 2012
Paula Breckenridge
Paula Breckenridge rated it really liked it
May 21, 2014
Minni rated it it was ok
Aug 07, 2012
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Ulysses And Us: The Art Of Everyday Living
  • The Theory of the Novel
  • Vampyres: Lord Byron to Count Dracula
  • Iron Cages: Race and Culture in 19th-Century America
  • The Thoreau You Don't Know: What the Prophet of Environmentalism Really Meant
  • Monsters: A Bestiary of the Bizarre
  • Fantasy: The Literature of Subversion
  • A Reader's Guide to Contemporary Literary Theory
  • Starry Speculative Corpse (Horror of Philosophy, #2)
  • Ancient Greece: A History in Eleven Cities
  • Harmony
  • The Monarchy of England
  • Fantastic Metamorphoses, Other Worlds: Ways of Telling the Self
  • J. M. Coetzee and the Life of Writing: Face-to-face with Time
  • The Black Castle (Don Sebastian Vampire Chronicles #1)
  • The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana
  • How to Interpret Literature: Critical Theory for Literary and Cultural Studies
  • The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre

Share This Book