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Here are some of the most frequent questions I’ve been asked since starting the project. If your query isn’t answered below, feel free to get in touch via the 'Contact' page here

What is a gothic text?

An excellent question. The meaning of ‘gothic’ has changed throughout the centuries, and various scholars (old and new) have asserted different criteria for what makes a text gothic. So, I’m afraid there isn’t a simple answer. I'm currently writing an introductory guide to the gothic for this website, so stay tuned!

What is the purpose of this project? 

For more information on how this project started and its present aims, please see my general ‘About’ page here.  


How do I use the Library?

The Victorian Gothic Library is currently set up to be searchable by author or tropes. This is not a perfect set up, but it provides a basic means of searching for different types of gothic (or related) literature, and one informed by my early understanding of Victorian gothic. I’m in the process of revising this to offer alternative means of searching for texts using tags denoting different themes or understandings of the gothic (e.g. body horror), so stay tuned for updates!

Why do you only use certain types of digital resources in the index?

Most of the index entries are sourced from HathiTrust or the Internet Archive. A few link to the British Newspaper Archive, but I try to avoid this wherever possible as these webpages are behind a paywall. Even less connect to entries from digital libraries such as Gutenberg or the Oxford Text Archive

This is chiefly because one of my aims of the project is to stress the importance of the original formats of these texts. What would a Victorian reader, viewing this story in print for the first time, have seen? Were these stories initially serialised and, if so, how does reading it in instalments affect the narrative? Was it illustrated, or did the illustrations we know and love come later? These questions cannot be answered by viewing Gutenberg’s copies of a text, and so I prioritise digitised versions of archival material. While this is not a perfect substitute for seeing the item in person, the reality is most people will not be granted access to these archives, and I want to offer as many the ability to engage with them as possible.  

I do plan to include my own web versions of these texts in different formats, ensuring accuracy by transcribing the text myself from original archival copies. However, this takes a considerable amount of time. Therefore, if you are not interested in viewing original archival copies, then I encourage you to look for titles I’ve listed but not yet transcribed elsewhere, such as in Gutenberg or the Oxford Text Archive, which are wonderful resources for finding e-books of nineteenth-century texts. 

What about copyright? 

Please see the ‘Copyright’ page here

Why is [insert title] absent from the Library? 

The Victorian Gothic Library is an ongoing project and its progress is largely determined by the digital resources available. I add new entries as and when I find them, but it takes time to hunt down original copies of relevant texts. If you’ve found a text you think should be added, then please let me know via my ‘Contact’ page here

Why is [insert title] included in the Library? 

As mentioned above, the Victorian Gothic Library offers the tools to help you figure out your own understanding of what makes a text gothic. Accordingly, the index offers a broad range of literature, some of which might not fit your present understanding of the gothic (nor mine!), but may help someone else's research. 

How can I follow updates on the project? 

Currently, most my updates are announced on my Twitter/X account, @VictorianGothik. I also have a Mastodon profile, and you can subscribe to this website using the ‘Subscribe’ form at the bottom of this webpage. 

How can I support the project? 

Thank you for your interest! There are three key ways you can support this project:

1) Helping to source digital copies of original texts to add to the index.

2) Giving constructive feedback on how to make the website/content more accessible.

3) Showing appreciation by supporting me via Ko-fi.    

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