Women Running From Houses: The Gothic Romance Paperback

The Gothic horror tradition can be traced back to any number of sources.

Mathew Lewis’ Monk is probably the best starting point: it has every Gothic convention you can imagine: darkened tombs, black misty forests, haunted hallways, satanic clergy.  It would make one helluva movie, but it’s so nonlinear that I honestly don’t see how you could translate it to a screenplay.


It was Ann Radcliff’s The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) that really serves as the impetus for the “women running from houses” genre. What exactly is the “women running from houses” genre?  I’m glad you asked.  It refers to Gothic romance novels (generally paperback) which WITHOUT EXCEPTION pictured a woman running from a house on the cover.  It’s really a bit insane when you think about it: for several decades an entire genre (a quite popular one at that) featured the exact same cover with very little variation.  It’s mental.

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