Seaside Gothic

Fiction | Poetry | Nonfiction

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Seaside Gothic Literature

Seaside Gothic Literature

The nature of seaside gothic as a genre or classification of literature means it overlaps and encompasses other groupings of writing. To celebrate this, but also recognise the best or most notable available within seaside gothic as a label, I am presenting three notable works of seaside gothic literature—fiction, poetry, and nonfiction—along with an example from another form of media each quarter.

Fiction: Julia Armfield, Our Wives Under The Sea

A couple separated by deep sea work are reunited but the cold depths of the ocean remain despite their settling upon land. Emotionally-led and split down the middle in terms of character duality, this strange and evocative novel by Julia Armfield crosses genres in its strangeness and wonder, and is well worth a read.

Poetry: T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land

The seminal poem from a poet who changed poetry, T. S. Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land’ altered how poems could be formed. Exploring various characters in different states, amongst its most famous and often quoted lines there are beaches and estuaries, linking the poem to the seaside in its own unique way.

Nonfiction: David Abulafia, The Boundless Sea

Charting humanity’s history with the sea and covering cartography, exploration, trade, and crime, David Abulafia’s nonfiction account of humankind’s interactions with the oceans features merchants and pirates, missionaries and conquerors as they all traverse the waters as the world shrinks and the great blue is explored.

Film: Don’t Look Now

A strange horror taking place predominantly in the coastal city of Venice, Italy, Nicolas Roeg’s strange and terrifying movie is adapted from a short story by seaside gothic maestro Daphne du Maurier. Following a grieving couple as they attempt to distract themselves from a recent loss, the film is claustrophobic and chaotic yet entirely captivating.