Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination

Open until Tue 20 Jan 2015
Image of the Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination poster
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Two hundred rare objects trace 250 years of the Gothic tradition, exploring our enduring fascination with the mysterious, the terrifying and the macabre

Watch the video - and enter if you dare!

From Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick and Alexander McQueen, via posters, books, films - and even a vampire-slaying kit - experience the dark shadow the Gothic imagination has cast across film, art, music, fashion, architecture and our daily lives.

Beginning with Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, Gothic literature challenged the moral certainties of the 18th century. By exploring the dark romance of the medieval past with its castles and abbeys, its wild landscapes and fascination with the supernatural, Gothic writers placed imagination firmly at the heart of their work - and our culture.

Iconic works, such as handwritten drafts of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the modern horrors of Clive Barker’s Hellraiser and the popular Twilight series, highlight how contemporary fears have been addressed by generation after generation.

Terror and Wonder presents an intriguing glimpse of a fascinating and mysterious world. Experience 250 years of Gothic’s dark shadow.

Extra late night openings owing to popular demand

Mon 12 Jan – 17.00, 17.30, 18.00, 18.30
Wed 14 Jan – 17.00, 17.30, 18.00, 18.30
Thu 15 Jan – 17.00, 17.30, 18.00, 18.30
Fri 16 Jan – 17.00, 17.30, 18.00, 18.30
Sat 17 Jan – 16.00, 16.30
Mon 19 Jan – 17.00, 17.30, 18.00, 18.30

Curator-led tours

Get more from your visit by booking a curator-led tour at no extra charge. Find out more

Download our free Gothic podcast

To accompany the exhibition, British horror writer Charlie Higson tells the true story of how the vampire and the zombie were born. Along the way, Reece Shearsmith reads extracts to chill the spine and thrill the senses. Download the podcast

Win a holiday in Transylvania

Delve into the history surrounding Vlad the Impaler - the inspiration behind Bram Stoker’s Dracula. To celebrate Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination we have teamed up with Regent Holidays to offer you the chance to win a tour retracing the life of this historical figure. Enter the competition

Free workshops for students

Workshops will support the delivery of English and Art at Key Stages 3- 5. Find out more 

The exhibition also includes treasures from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein manuscript, work by William Blake and a Victorian vampire slaying kit
The Independent
Also on show are gothic-inspired fashion by Alexander McQueen and a series of pictures by photographer Martin Parr taken during the regular gathering of goths in Whitby, in north Yorkshire
Daily Mail
Terror and Wonder: the Gothic Imagination is UK’s largest exhibition devoted to the literature of fear, blood and darkness
The Guardian
The show's curator says amid the gore and the chills, Gothic writing has always had a streak of irony and humour
BBC Entertainment and arts


Name: Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Where: PACCAR Gallery
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546
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