The word Gothic (in Latin “gothicus”) would have struck terror into the hearts of 5th-century Romans, with its dark connotations of barbarians pouring out of Germanic wilderness to destroy their civilisation. Centuries later, Gothic seems to have shaken off its terrifying connotations, so that it could be applied to the new style of church building with awe-inspiring architecture that replaced the rounded Roman style of the first millennium. But the dark associations of Gothic surface again centuries later in the Gothic novel, conventionally set in a sinister castle or a Gothic wilderness, like the bleak, eerie landscape of Wuthering Heights (1847).A writer for the Melbourne Punch (1852) found “the very landscape of Australia was gothic” (1852); and Marcus Clarke made the most of it as backdrop to The term of his natural life (1874), describing the savagery of convict life. “Tasmanian Gothic” lives on as visual art in David Walsh’s Museum of Old and New Art, with its themes of sex and death. The funereal black of Gothic clothing becomes a fashion statement at the online store tragic.beautiful.com, when accompanied by a matching handbag. Still, in Goth music you can expect “dark, dim or haunting tunes” with “spooky or morbid lyrics”, according to a Gothic appreciation website. Gothtronic music then offers a darkly romantic human voice mashed with grisly electronic sounds, for the ultimate Gothic experience.
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