Discussion of my Conversation article on the Australian gothic

Press/Media: Press / Media


The gothic developed as a European architectural phenomenon in 12th-century France, where awe-inspiring cathedrals reflected a world drenched in religious piety and superstition.

Its veneration was revisited in 18th-century English literature, when writers sought to inspire a comparable sense of wonder by setting scenes in ruined abbeys, haunted castlesand spectacular natural landscapes.

Books like Horace Walpole’s Castle of Otranto (1764), Ann Radcliffe’s Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) appealed to a wide readership, but were dismissed as superficial sensationalism by the literary establishment.

The Australian gothic is unique from its northern counterparts. Instead of grand churches and castles, Australian writers dramatised remote towns, evoking a deep sense of malevolence operating beneath the veneer of ordinary life.

Period21 Feb 2020

Media contributions


Media contributions

  • TitleDiscussion of the Oz Gothic on Perth's ABC radio
    Degree of recognitionNational
    Media name/outletABC Perth Radio
    Media typeRadio
    Duration/Length/Size10 minutes
    Producer/AuthorPeter Barr
    PersonsSuzie Gibson


  • Oz Gothic