Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday I'm in Love: The Ladies of Paperback Gothics

Though I've never read a word of these novels, I can't say I'm immune to the darker charms of the vintage cover art of the Gothic-romance novel, so popular in the 1960s and early 1970s. Long after midnight, with their ivory flesh and smoldering eyes, in flowing gowns and shawls, these ladies sweep down castle steps and through foggy moors, flushed with eroticized terror hoping to escape some unnamed threat above. The women evoke Jackie O, Liz Taylor, Barbara Steele, Vampira, Morticia Addams... More, please. If you can't get enough either, see here, here, and here.

10 comments:

Richard of DM said...

These are proof that it's okay for dudes to swoon.

Will Errickson said...

Exactly right, sir!

Luis said...

I would gladly read any one of these novels - great covers! I particularly like the tilted composition on The Girl From Yesterday.

Will Errickson said...

There is a whole series of books from Avon with the same design, Luis...

Kevin said...

II might be misremembering, but I believe under a pseudonym Charles Grant did a couple of these. It's possible that he might have imbued some genuine eerieness into the gothic side of things though I'm not too sure I'd have patience for the romantic bits.

The one Gothic Romance I'd be curious to read is one spotlighted in Bill Pronzini's GUN IN CHEEK books which spotlight so-bad-it's-good examples of crime & pulp fiction.

I forget the name but the Gothic Romance he spotlights has a lengthy subplot about drug dealers using the gothic locale as a hideout that eventually erupts into motorboat chase and running gun battle with our heroine's love interest, which suggests whoever was writing one of these was perhaps a little TOO bored with the formula he had to conform to...

Anonymous said...

Beautiful covers.

Rabid Fox said...

It's when you post stuff like this that I'm reminded how hard it is to find captivating, vivid imagery on book covers these days. They're still out there, but not like this.

Goregirl said...

Love these covers! You almost have a "The Ladies of Paperback Gothic BY The Ladies Of Paperback Gothic" with the exception of Patrick Hamilton and possibly Alix(?).

B Bull said...

I remember paperbacks with covers of anxious looking dark-haired women running away from castles atop storm churned coastlines littering my grandmothers house in the sixties. So "Dark Shadows". One of these days I may just pick one up and skim through it. Nice posts. This is exactly the kind of thing I live about your website.

Will Errickson said...

I have read none of these titles, and the couple that I have that are similar--AMMIE COME HOME by Barbara Michaels and SOMETHING EVIL by Arthur Hoffe--vary in quality. Gothic paperbacks followed a formula and a happy ending I believe was strictly enforced. They seem a bit too mild for my taste. But, as you say, one of these days I may just pick one up...