I love the use of mysterious books in Gothic novels and films. One of the greats is El Club Dumas by Arturo Perez Revere on which the film Ninth Gate was based. The Book of the Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows was written by a Renaissance Mage, Aristide de Torchia, in collaboration with the devil. It is full of engraving as arcane as tarot cards, that present a cosmic riddle. Whoever figures it out…goes to Hell.
Be that as it may, its very intriguing, if not captivating, as any good glamour should be.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula, is composed almost entirely of letters and diary entries.
24 September.–I hadn’t the heart to write last night, that terrible record of Jonathan’s upset me so. Poor dear! How he must have suffered, whether it be true or only imagination. I wonder if there is any truth in it at all. Did he get his brain fever, and then write all those terrible things, or had he some cause for it all? I suppose I shall never know, for I dare not open the subject to him. And yet that man we saw yesterday! He seemed quite certain of him, poor fellow! I suppose it was the funeral upset him and sent his mind back on some train of thought.
26 September.–I thought never to write in this diary again, but the time has come..
26 September.–Truly there is no such thing as finality. Not a week since I said “Finis,” and yet here I am starting fresh again, or rather going on with the record….
In a sense all first person narratives are journals. We easily imagine the hero or heroine writing by firelight, with a quill or fountain pen, the story of their life as the remember it. Taking the analogy further, every author os writing a diary of their imagination. We all begin with the blank page, and inscribe our vision upon it.
My own novel The Lady in Yellow, has a couple of strange books. The Book of UnHoly Beasts, The Grande and Petite Alberts, and the journal of the governess who taught the de Grimston twins before Veronica took the post.
My Victorian Romance
Following in the footsteps of Mina Harker and her Victorian sisters of the pen, I thought it would be fun to create a book of blank pages sparked with the magical, sensual poetry of the day, so that readers could curl up on a rainy day with a cup of coffee, and invent their own Romantic tales. I plan to do this myself when I’m either full of ideas. or need to shake some up. You might enjoy it too!
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind…
The works of mid-Victorian artists were soaked in Romance. The Pre-Raphaelite painters and poets, the lush productions of Shakespeare’s plays, the epic poems inspired by the Arthurian Legends, the perception of women as goddesses to be adored, all coalesced to create a rich, erotic culture of torrid love stories acted out in real life. The pages of this journal are sparked with lines of Romantic poetry popular at the time, interspersed with writing prompts to inspire you to explore your own Romantic Fantasies. Remember: This is your book of secrets…
Can you think of any Gothic novels in which books are a central theme? There are quite a few, but I am curious about what you might want to share. If you would like to explore your own Victorian Romance, I have put together a journal that is designed to inspire you. Its comes in paperback, print on demand, through Amazon’s Create Space. Here is the first. I am also putting together a Gothic one called Dark Dreams that should be available soon.