Southern Gothic Literature

According to Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism, Southern Gothic is a genre that covers literature written about the American South and covers works written by authors who are from the South. These novels focus on a variety of subjects concerning a whole branch of Southern issues ranging from politics and racism to religion. Like any genre, it has evolved over time—beginning with the discovery of the great Americas to dealing with current issues such as social class. Southern Gothic fiction focuses largely on themes of terror, death, and social interaction.To me, that sounds like perfect reading for the hot summers in Las Vegas!

Southern Gothic literature often examines questions of innocence, morality and the plight of victims. The richly described characters are compelling and are oddballs or social misfits, which is another reason for the continued popularity of this genre. Everyone can relate to the characters even if they are not familiar with the southern settings. The description of scenes from the American South are extreme in their detail, painting a picture full of history including the war between the states, slavery, and segregation. Southern Gothic allows the reader to step back in time even if the novel is set in the current day. Common themes often include love and loss, which all of us can understand. I hope you will consider checking out one of our Southern Gothic treasures to enjoy. Contact your CSN librarian for a title or two!


Read more about this genre here:

  1. “Southern Gothic Literature.” Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism, edited by Janet Witalec, vol. 142, Gale, 2003. Literature Resource Center, Accessed 12 May 2017.
  2. The evolution of southern gothic. Jamie Kornegay. April 2015.

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