10 Signs You're Reading a Gothic Novel by Adam Frost, Zhenia Vasiliev

Little did Horace Walpole imagine, when he gave his book The Castle of Otranto the subtitle A Gothic Story, that he would be transforming a perfectly harmless word (meaning ‘in the style of architecture prevalent in western Europe in the 12th–16th centuries’) into one of the most culturally charged adjectives of all time, conjuring up images of castles, damsels in distress, monsters, mad monks and more. Now, 250 years later, we look at the key ingredients of the Gothic novel and ask: are some stories more Gothic than others?