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Gothic Culture: History, Culture and Art

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Cultural Studies
Wordcount: 2304 words Published: 23rd Jul 2018

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To find the influence of Gothic culture was been easy for popular culture. However, to give a clear definition for Gothic culture was been difficult because different connotations and quality of uncertainty was had in the term of Gothic in different social-cultural group.

For examples, industrial or classical music, Goths like that, but it was not gothic. For another examples vampires and interest in death, were gothic, in spit that many Goths disliked. Such as bands like Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails, were thought of as gothic by some people, but they were not gothic. And such bands like Sisters of Mercy and Dead Can Dance, did not call themselves gothic even if they were considered gothic by most people. It was an ambiguous label with many people using it that didn’t understand the meaning. The people who did understand it often had many different definitions.

The background of gothic culture

The term Gothic was used to symbolize forms of art of the Middle-Ages. The Middle-Ages was referred to the period between the Classical era and the Renaissance. For the Italians hated that the Goth destroyed the Roman Empire at that time, it meant barbaric and boorish that they called the period as Gothic.

Around at 1800, the culture of the Middle-Ages and its related things gradually became a kind of fashion in some people’s eyes in the Romantic Movement. The romanticism was the center of this cultural movement. The romanticist was willing to jump up from the limit of history. Some wished they had returned the Middle-Ages, some looked for the ideal from the religion or the mysticism, and some tried to find the answer in the nature. In the whole Romantic Movement, Goth began to be considered it as related to dark, exotic, ghosts.

For example, the romantic and gothic writers such as Byron, Shelley, Baudelaire, as well as Verlaine were engrossed in the expression of the dark side of human beings. At this period, many gothic novelists were constantly emerging. Gothic literature was a challenge to the orthodox thought pattern in the current temporal society.

Gothic sentiment had a very clear manifestation in the visual arts. The dark and the desolation were drawn by the painter such as Caspar David Friedrich. The Gothic style in the realm of architecture had been becoming fashionable.

In the80’s of 20th century, modern Gothic movement started in the UK. The emergence of the Gothic movement might be considered as the continuity of punk movement. The people were shown the influence of Gothic spirit in musical field. It was known that The Gothic music took human gloomy and empty as the theme. Moreover, death was focus on as an intense interest. Slowness, sadness, and even terror, were the characteristics of the music.

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The History of Gothic culture

Generally speaking, the origin of gothic movement was considered as Bauhaus released the song Bela Lugosi’s Dead in 1979. The first generation of the movement emerged in the UK, which was a splinter from the punk movement. Bands, such as the Damned, Bauhaus, the Banshees and Siouxsie who were called so later were the first generation which didn’t consider them as Gothic at that time. In the early 1980s, the gothic movement was flourished with bands like the Sisters of Mercy at the forefront. However, the movement was going off by the middle to late 1980s.

In the late eighties and early nineties, a new and second generation of gothic bands grew to breathe new life into the scene. They regularly called themselves Gothic in contrast with the first. Examples would include The Shroud, Rosetta Stone, and London After Midnight. At the same time the US Goth movement turned up significantly. Gothic became recognized as a distinct subculture. Gothic music and culture grew and branched out into various subsets. The boundaries of gothic what had previously been considered were expanded. It was apparent that widespread mainstream was interested in the gothic subculture in recent time. The behavior was many quirks of gothic culture have filtered into mainstream culture, such as an interest in the supernatural and dark aesthetics.

In the late 1990’s a distinct third generation emerged to shape the future progression of the gothic movement. The third generation stood for an explosion in the number of people referring to themselves as gothic. Many people had learned about gothic culture because the present widespread commercial was available. Shock Rock (Marilyn Manson) became the spotlight onto this subculture. The term of Spooky kids was often used for these youths.

The first and second generations of Goths looked suspiciously upon the new generation, who doubted their authenticity and disliked the exposure they gave to a subculture which would prefer to remain underground. It would be difficult to predict what the future held for the Gothic movement.

Gothic culture and Gothic art

As above exposition on this topic, it was indicated that to give a definition of Gothic culture was difficult. However, Gothic art given birth by Gothic culture included the following parts: the Gothic literature, the Gothic film, the Gothic music, the Gothic painting, the Gothic architecture, the Gothic fashion.

Gothic literature

Gothic fiction as a kind of Gothic literature would be introduced in this paper. It belonged to the English literature faction which generally considered come forth as the novel Ao Telang Fort map written by Horace Hua Er Boer. It was Ann Radcliffe (1764-1823) who established truly the standard style of Gothic fiction. Her novel The Mysteries of Udolpho was published in 1794. The Casles of Athlin and Dunbayne was published in 1789. The Romance of the Forest was published in 1791. The Italian was published in 1797.

Frankenstein was written by Mary Shelley, the wife of England poet Shelley, in 1818, which was considered as the first true sense of science fiction in the world. However, Gothic fiction had waned in U.K. of 1840. It was because that too many cheap writers created cheap horror fictions and over-exposure of sexual description. The works of violence came out to greatly reduce the status of the Gothic fiction.

In spite that Gothic fiction had a deep effect on the literature of Victorian era, it set off a wave of short ghost stories at that period. Moreover, it brought into being Allen Poe’s story with the theme of death. It was called back after the rush of Victorian ghost story. It was in 1880 when the Gothic-style novel was revitalized as a kind of semi-orthodox literature. Stevenson and Wilder were the writers in this period. The most popular villain of Goth was birth in the fiction Dracula written by Bram Stoker. The character often came out in the Gothic film later.

Gothic film

The first influential gothic film was Haxan directed by a Swede Benjamin Christensen in 1921. After a year, Germany director Murnau shot a film Nosferatu which became the first landmark of the Gothic Film in the history of mankind. American director Browning took the story about Vampire Count Dracula on the big screen in accordance with Stoke’s Original novel in 1931. This film is Vampire’s Breakfast that is the first Gothic talkie. French director Georges Franju shot a film Eyes without a Face which is the first classical Gothic film without Vampire image. It is worth mentioning that the Hollywood Desire directed by Tony Scott in 1983 of the whole 80’s.

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Gothic film was truly ushered in a golden period of development until the 90’s of last century. The U. S. director Tim Burton shot a film Edward Scissorhands in 1990. The film Sleepy Hollow was released in 1999. The Hollywood director Coppola shot a film Dracula. And other films such as Interview with the Vampire shot by Irish director Neil Jordan, the Crow shot by U.S. director Provas, and Dellamorte directed by Italian Michele Soavi were worth watching.

A surprising film Brotherhood of The Wolf was shown to the gothic fans all over world by Franch director Gans in 2001. Two years later, another surprising was 3D animation Kaena. At the same time, the topic of Gothic film was more and more extensive instead of the solo theme of epic. Gothic film started to move closer to the traditional type of film, and gradually blend of the characteristics of other traditional types. It made the audience accept them easier. The three American films as Queen of the Damned, Underworld in 2003, and Van Helsing directed by Stephen Sommers in 2004 were the representatives.

Gothic music

It was usually considered that Gothic music is gloomy, icy, and decadent, making an atmosphere with terror. The people were gotten to feel oppressive and hopeless. Full with artistic spirit, the willing to death and black color was often expressed. Its mood was full of being tired of the world. It listened like bone-chilly, with a fine sense of beauty. At the same time, lots of inconsistent tone were deviated from the melody line and were inserted at the range level. Extreme contempt for all the traditional music was shown. In the lyrics and at the performance level, a desolate life and erotic was expressed by the singer. The state of reality was disgusted, and the executed fun of spiritual abyss was pursued.

Nowadays so called Gothic music exactly refers to Goth Rock. This music genre was brought out in the 80s of the 20th century. It had no relation to the original meaning of the term Goth. It was so called Goth just because the elements of horror and darkness were borrowed from Gothic fictions of the 18th or 19th century. The origin of Gothic Rock was affected by two parties. One was post-punk movement at the end of 70s. The other was Gothic fiction of the 18th or 19th century. The inclination of restoring ancient ways was demonstrated clearly in Gothic music that was applied by opera voice.

There were some famous Gothic bands such as Autumn Tear, Bauhaus, Christian Death, Dead Can Dance, Death In June, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, The Cure, Fields of the Nephilim, The Sister Of Mercy, and The Swans.

Gothic Painting &Font

The zenith of Gothic painting was between the 14th and the 15th century. In the end period of the 20th century, a very big effect had been put in the field of painting by the development of computer technology. To draw by computer board was tried by many painters. Gothic painting was driven into a new realm. For example, Linda Bergkvist, born in Sweden, made a lot of Gothic-genre CG cuts.

Gothic Fonts had many different styles with classic and luxuriance. An example was the title of the cover of Death Note.

Gothic Architecture

Gothic architecture was a kind of architectural style, prosperous in the Middle-Ages. It was evolved from Romanesque architecture, and inherited by the Renaissance. It was originated in France in the twelfth century. It was continued until the sixteenth century. Acuminate arches, ribbed vaults and flying buttresses were included in the features. Most of all were seen in the Catholic Church, as well as the secular buildings. An important position was occupies by Gothic architecture with its high degree of technical and artistic achievements in history of the construction.

The most famous Gothic architectures were such as Assumption Cathedral of Russia, Duomo del Mialno of Italy, the Cathedral of Cologne of Germany, Westminster Abbey of England, Notre Dame Cathedral of France were. Duomo Del Mialno of Italy was the biggest one in the world.

Gothic Fashion

The sublime related to fear was considered the foundation of Gothic aesthetics. The well-known England Esthetician Edmund Burk divided calli- beau into the beautiful and the sublime. When he discussed the sublime, he had already talked about the strongest emotion of mankind is fear. And he linked the sublime with the fear.

In the eighties, the Gothic style clothing was evolved from Gothic music. Black-dyed long hair, pale skin, tight black cloth, pointed boots and a large number of silver, mostly used by religious design of early Europe and Egypt . However, these clothing was not accepted by mainstream fashion designers at the time because of its somewhat negative, aggressive and brutal style with the distribution of revolt spirit.

Until nowadays, Gothic clothing style was popular again. Then clothing is not only limited to order superfine cloth by small workshops. It was started to pay attention by the designer of some great dress brands, such as Kenzo, Anna Sui, Issey Miyake and so on.

The Reason for Goth Become a Popular Culture from Subculture

According to the analysis of Goth culture’s history, I think there are some reasons for Goth become a popular culture from the original subculture. Firstly of all, the rich spiritual connotation of Gothic culture was the basis for keeping its sustained vitality. Secondly, a more easily accessible channel was supplied to ordinary people by the popularity of mass media, especially the advances in computer technology. Thirdly, the business value behind the culture was cared by some big commercial companies, such as film studio, record company, clothing company with a great brand. It was invested. The consumption goods of this style were made for market sale. That pushed the development of Goth from subculture into popular culture. Fourthly, the buying ability of young people, with a strong ability to accept popular culture, was obviously enhanced, with the development of the world economy. The promotion of the Goth culture was speeded up.


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