Before we delve into why The Black Vampire is considered Gothic, let’s first define the term Gothic. We all have a general idea on what the term Gothic means in the sense of literature, but there’s more to the term/style then just supernatural stuff. According to Study.com, the definition of Gothic literature is as follows.
“The term Gothic fiction refers to a style of writing that is characterized by elements of fear, horror, death, and gloom, as well as romantic elements, such as nature, individuality, and very high emotion. These emotions can include fear and suspense.” (Study.com)
So when we think of Gothic literature, we normally think of the “horror” aspect of the definition, but we should also be paying attention to the second part of the definition that includes the romantic elements. If you look back at every Gothic texts you may have read, these types of elements are present and The Black Vampire is no exception. So, instead of focusing on the obvious horror elements found in the text, I will be observing the romantic elements and will be showing examples of when these elements are most prominent.
“The element seemed very familiar to him; and he swam back with much grace and agility; parting the sparkling waves with his jet black members, polished like ebony, but reflecting no single beam of light” (16).
If we observe the referenced text above, we see some references to nature, the added detail to the waves, but more importantly, the part that is comparing skin to polished ebony. This use of nature to further develop detail in a certain aspect of the story pervades the rest of the narrative. For example:
“…and her interesting infant, the first pledge of her pure and perfect love, had been precociously sucked, like an unripe orange, and nothing left but its beautiful and tender skin” (19).
The final aspect of Gothic that I will cover is the portion of romantic elements that cover extreme emotions. The emotion that I will be covering is fear, not the fear within the narrative, but rather the real-world fear found in the “moral.”
“Yet in the figurative sense, and in the moral world, our climate is perhaps more prolific than any other, in enchanters,-Vampyres,-and the whole infernal brood of sorcery and witchcraft.” (41).
The moral then goes onto give examples of the real monsters in society: the fraudulent trafficker, the corrupted and senseless Clerk, Brokers, Country Bank Directors, etc; all Vampyres, and there is one thing that they are after to please their thirst: your money (BUM BUM BUM!).