Going Southern Goth

Image courtesy New York Public Library.

Image courtesy New York Public Library.

When To Kill A Mockingbird was published in 1960, it joined an ongoing literary movement that would later be dubbed “Southern Gothic.” Dark, brooding themes in literature had been popular for decades, and novels like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Edgar Allen Poe’s short stories had become near-instant classics. In the 1920s, William Faulkner put a uniquely American spin on the genre, known as “Gothic Fiction,” setting his novels in Mississippi, where he was born and raised.

After Faulkner helped establish the Southern Gothic tone, many writers who explored similar themes began to grow in popularity – including contemporaries of Harper Lee like Carson McCullers, Flannery O’Connor, Truman Capote and others.

In anticipation of the release of Go Set A Watchman, the New York Public Library has published a list of books, movies and music that will put you in the mood for a summer of sweet tea, Spanish moss and haunting tales. Check it out here, and tune into American Masters: Harper Lee on Friday, July 10 at 9 p.m.