ASMR/Relaxation - The History of Gothic (history/literature/culture)

ASMR/Relaxation – The History of Gothic (history/literature/culture)



hello there today I'd like to take you on an ASMR audio adventure into the dramatic and atmospheric world of Gothic together we are going to explore this alluring and darkly theatrical style which has persisted for centuries through architecture art and literature and which more recently has developed its own subculture through music and fashion we are going to discover the origins of Gothic in the medieval world will look at its development through the Gothic Revival of the 18th and 19th centuries and we'll also look at the reasons for its continuing appeal today as usual there'll be a selection of slideshow images for you to look at if you want to but you don't need to look at these at all if you prefer you can just close your eyes relax and gently drift off while my voice guides you so welcome to the strange and fabulous world of Gothic the term gothic originates in the name for the eastern Germanic tribes the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths and in the second century these two tribes began a war against the mighty Roman Empire and it went on and on there were various wars right through to the fifth century AD and eventually this took its toll on Rome which was beginning to fall into decline anyway and the Roman Empire collapsed as a world power later on in the 15th and 16th centuries historians working in the Renaissance era would look back at this decline and fall of Rome as the end of Western civilization and the beginning of the Dark Ages in reality the dark ages were far from dark in fact but too many Renaissance era Minds the word goth and the word barbarian were completely interchangeable and it was during this time that the term gothic first came to be applied to the art and architecture of the Middle Ages really as a derogatory term meaning barbarous or uncouth in the 1520's the great Renaissance artist Raphael sent a letter to Pope Leo the 10th which is supposed to be a report on the condition of the antiquarian monuments in Rome but which Raphael used as an excuse to have a rant really about gothic art and architecture he comments that the buildings of the time of the Goths are wholly without Grace or any style whatsoever and he complains about the Goths overusing what he considers to be inferior decorative features cramped and poorly constructed small figures for ornament and worse still strange animals figures and leaves out of all reason Raphael also has a theory about how the Goths came to invent the tall pointed arches that he associates with this barbaric style he claims that they would take branches of unpruned trees binding them together and bending them to construct pointed arches and it's clear that Rafael doesn't have much time thought he considers to be Gothic style Rafael's report is one of the first occasions when the medieval style of art that's known today as gothic was actually described and written down in those terms however in reality the phrase was somewhat misplaced because the architecture of the Gothic tribes actually followed many of the design principles of the Romans if you examine the buildings that were constructed by the Ostrogoths and the Visigoths they tend to look quite Romanesque in their design they tend to have rounded arches not pointed once and they feature columns and pediments that are clearly very classically inspired so Raphael actually didn't quite get it right when he described this new type of architecture as belonging to the Goths because this style wasn't invented by the Goths but rather came to prominence in France during the 12th century um in the 10th century a new french leader rose up called hugh copy and he was to found a royal dynasty that would last for the next 350 years and which would usher in a time of greater prosperity and expansion for the french people with this prosperity came a wave of monument building specifically monuments that were Christian and throughout the 12th 13th and 14th centuries many new cathedrals were built one of the first was the Abbey sondini which is in the outskirts of Paris and which had existed for several centuries already but in the eleven forties it was remodeled by the Ebisu girl and the new design for the Basilica was really interesting because it combined some of the traditional principles of Romanesque architecture with some newer and rather novel striking features such as very tall windows pointed and ripp vaulted ceilings and lofty towers that seemed to rise up to heaven itself these new features were the first indications really of the new Gothic style that was beginning to emerge and Santini became a sort of prototype for future Cathedral builders who also incorporated these new Gothic elements and actually began to develop and exaggerate them as the style gradually found its form by the time Raphael was complaining about gothic in the 1520's the architectural style he was referring to was already very much established not only in France but right across northern Europe its primary construction elements included flying buttresses and rib vaulted ceilings which were actually architectural innovations that served a practical purpose because they helped to support the weight of these large and lofty new Cathedral buildings however many of the other features of Gothic design were purely decorative and they were deliberately added for a very specific purpose because in the Middle Ages many people still couldn't read and even those who could would be unlikely to understand the high latin of most church services so the medieval kings and bishops relied on dramatic visuals to inspire awe and faith in their congregations and so they appropriated the very fabric of the new cathedral buildings and used it to create wonder and encourage religious belief as a result of this Cathedral builders were frequently called upon to include lots of highly decorative and theatrical elements within their designs glaze years were commissioned to create beautiful stained glass windows especially large circular Rose windows which are a feature of many gothic cathedrals and stonemasons were set to work to create all sorts of beautiful and intricate carvings some of these carvings were conventionally ecclesiastical such as stone carvings of crucifixes saints and angels but many of them weren't really very religious in the origin and were added purely for dramatic effect such as the high pointed Lancet arches that you see on gothic windows and cloisters and the embattled moldings that quite often top the edges of cathedral facades and make them look a little bit like castles the stone carvers also drew inspiration from the natural world and you often see carved shapes inspired by leaves such as the Katra foil the Crockett and the fleur-de-lis however they were also inspired by supernatural elements and so you quite often see strange and slightly uncanny figures on gothic buildings that seem to be more mythical than biblical weird dark creatures such as gargoyles stretches and chimeras and ancient pagan motifs such as owls bats and the Green Man these carved monsters were theoretically designed to one illiterate churchgoers about the perils of evil that awaited them if they ignored the teachings of God however in reality the artisans who were in charge of making these fantastical beings had a habit of imbuing their creations with a great deal of otherworldly charm and so rather than frightening the congregation back to their Bibles the monsters quite often had the opposite effect they captivated the imagination and created a sense of thrilling adventure that seemed to hark back to an earlier pre-christian time of mysteries and magic this mysterious effect only increased I think as the centuries passed and the medieval buildings that contained all these wildly theatrical gothic details began to age this was particularly the case in Britain because in the 16th century the English King Henry the Eighth had dissolved the monasteries after he broke with the Roman Catholic Church and across the country many religious buildings were pulled down and desecrated the ones that were left standing were then later vandalized in the 17th century by the puritanical troops of Oliver Cromwell during the English Civil War and so by the 18th century the landscape of Britain was dotted about with hundreds of these dark ruined old buildings that had once been magnificent Abbey's and monasteries the crumbling and abandoned edifices became the inspiration for a new generation of 18th century radical young creatives who were known as the romantics and who rejected thee by that time established principles of reason that had informed the Enlightenment and were instead turning to the natural world and of the supernatural world the fact that so many of the ruined gothic buildings that they admired had previously been ecclesiastical in their use only added to the mysterious and spiritual quality that the romantics loved it was easy to imagine that these brooding old Abbey's were haunted by ghosts and monsters or other nightmarish beings and many of them of course were also surrounded by abandoned graveyards that were filled with gothic arched tombstones and looked especially eerie and morbid the romantics were thrilled by this free sauna of dark mortality and other worldliness and they began to use gothic motifs in their work the artists Turner and constable both painted gloomy and Atmospheric scenes of abbey ruins the poets Lord Byron and samuel taylor coleridge wrote dark and supernatural verses and in the newly developing genre of the novel gothic dreamers found their Forte the first self-proclaimed gothic novel was the Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole and it was published in 1764 the book carries the subtitle a gothic story and Walpole was using the term there very much in the same way that Raphael had used it two centuries earlier it was supposed to infer that the novel dealt with ancient and barbaric topics and Walpole himself didn't take the phrase gothic too seriously at the time nevertheless the public was soon gripped by his ghostly tale and a fashion for supernatural gothic novels soon took off writers such as Ann Radcliffe Matthew monk Lewis and Lady Caroline lamb capitalized on the fashion for twisted tales of Gothic terror and the genre became so successful that by 1817 Jane Austen who was a far more rational novelist she favored reason over romanticism was able to satirize the Gothic genre in her novel Northanger Abbey this tells the story of a naive young girl called Catherine Morland whose head has been completely turned by all the gothic novels she's read and who goes to stay in a real Abbey and begins to imagine that she's discovered all kinds of Horrors there although disappointingly for her it turns out that there aren't any ghosts and there haven't been any grisly murders either Catherine Mullins taste for Gothic architecture also extended to many members of georgian high society horace walpole who'd written the first gothic novel also led a revival in gothic buildings and sort of pioneered a new style that was known as Strawberry Hill gothic after the house that he built for himself at Strawberry Hill just outside of London this house is still standing and it's an extraordinary edifice it features all the ornamentation one would expect to find on a medieval cathedral arched lancet windows cut Raphael windows spires pinnacles and embattled awnings to create that cos elated look Strawberry Hill started another fashion and many gentlemen tried to copy or indeed outshine or Paul's creation including William Beckford who had also turned his hand to writing a gothic novel and who built font Hill Abbey which was an enormous Cathedral like gothic house with a huge central tower but which sadly no longer exists because it fell victim to a series of disasters in the nineteenth century there were other enthusiastic gothic builders such as the Countess of Arlington who built such an elaborately gothic house on Arlington Street that it was known as pomfrit Castle and gothic was seen at this time really as a very fashionable but perhaps quite frivolous trend that was enjoyed by high society that changed slightly and gothic took a more serious turn in 1818 when a new young writer called Mary Shelley published her first novel called Frankenstein this book took Gothic to a new level really because unlike previous gothic novels Frankenstein was more than just a sensationalist ghost story or a gloomy romance it's a very dark and compellingly written novel that deals with some very big and kind of terrifying themes of life death and the incredibly creative and at the same time horrifyingly destructive capacities of man Shelley's depiction of the monster that Victor Frankenstein creates who is so sympathetic in many ways and yet at the same time is so uncompromising ly terrifying haunted readers of the novel and continues to do so today Mary Shelley herself was just 20 years old when she published her masterpiece which is extraordinary really and she was inspired to write it by a trip she had taken through Germany and Switzerland which she took with her soon-to-be husband the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and a party of friends that included Lord Byron whilst traveling through central Germany the party stopped off a few miles from burg Frankenstein which is a real castle that still exists today and which is actually just outside the city where I now live the German locals regaled these English tourists with anecdotes about an alchemist who supposedly once lived at Berg Frankenstein and who had conducted strange experiments there and Mary Shelley transmuted these tall tales in her imagination and turned them into a piece of classic literature that kind of gave birth to the modern horror genre and hers gripped and drawn in readers ever since Frankenstein wasn't the only gothic novel to come out of that sue-shaun across Europe because once the party had reached Lord Byron's house in Geneva he suggested that they should hold a competition to write a ghost story and not only did Mary Shelley come up with the idea for Frankenstein as a result of that but also Byron's dr. John Polidori took up the challenge and wrote his own story which was called the vampire this work hasn't become a classic in the same way that Frankenstein has but it went on to have a huge influence on the gothic movement in its own way because it was the first work of fiction to deal with the subject of vampirism and vampires became a key theme in later 19th century gothic fiction in 1845 there was a novel called the feast of blood which was published by James Milk marina and Thomas Becket pressed and which was rather sensational but incredibly popular during its time then in 1872 Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu published his novel Carmilla which was notable for containing the first female vampire and which in turn inspired a writer called Bram Stoker to create his own vampiric tale that tale turned out of course to be Dracula which Stoker wrote in 1897 and Dracula has become perhaps the most well known and popular of all the gothic novels it's the story of a vampiric Transylvanian count who arrives by ship one dark and stormy night at the northern English coastal town of Whitby and who proceeds to prey upon a variety of plucky but hapless middle-class ladies and gentlemen as a literary work Dracula is I think a little bit clunky but its influence has been huge and ongoing and it also contains some really fascinating symbolism and imagery that over the years has come to define the vampire genre not just in books but also on-screen Dracula was one of the very first stories that early pioneers of filmmaking were inspired to adapt for the screen the first film versions of it were created in Russia and Hungary respectively in 1920 and 1921 although sadly both of these early adaptations have since been lost the earliest interpretation that can still be viewed today is nas Farrar – which was made in Germany in 1922 and stars Max Schreck as Count Orlok and Count Orlok is basically a thinly disguised version of Count Dracula but the director couldn't actually use the Dracula name because he'd been denied permission by Bram Stoker's estate so the first official Dracula film that was made didn't come out until 1931 it was made by Universal Studios and it became a huge box-office hit that spawned a whole string of further Dracula sequels and which made a star out of the actor who played Dracula who was a Hungarian called Bela Lugosi Bella Lugosi developed a very distinctive look for his interpretation of Dracula he had jet-black slicked back hair a dead pale face Kohl rimmed eyes and he wore a dashing white tied in a suit that was topped with a red satin lined black cloak this very striking look has influenced every version of vampire culture that's come along since the 1930s and it's also had an immense influence on the modern gothic movement which really developed in the 1980s and which continues to flourish up to this day Martin Gothic rose up out of the alternative music scene of the 1970s and it has its origins in a mixture of underground art house music and punk the punk scene quite self-consciously labeled itself as an anarchic and renegade type of music made for outsiders and similarly the Gothic subculture that followed it was also very much on the periphery of mainstream culture like punk it rejected the conventions of normal society but I would say gothic was less aggressive in some ways than Punk had been it was music that was still quite dark and changing but it was also perhaps a bit more poetic and reveled far more in those otherworldly qualities that had first inspired the romantics a hundred and fifty years earlier it was music that appealed to sensitive creative weirdos like myself and although sadly I was a bit too young to fully participate in the goth movement of the mid 1980s the musicians of that era were drawn to exploring and exposing the dark recesses of the mind and the heart just as the 18th century gothic revivalists had been also like the romantics modern gothic is drawn to the uncanny and the supernatural and a lot of Gotham usek is quite haunting and subversive and occasionally quite sly it's also quite often accompanied by a rather fascinating style of personal adornment which is distinctive and highly theatrical it combines elements of 19th century inspired neo Victoriana which sort of pay tribute to the Bram Stoker era and it mixes these with the vampire elements of Bela Lugosi style elements of punk elements of BDSM and also elements that are inspired by that byron esque 18th century Romanticism signature hallmarks of the Gothic look include heavily made-up Kohl rimmed eyes white skin black hair and imaginative and alternative black clothes that quite often have been picked up by the mainstream and used his inspiration for various Haute Couture and high fashion designers over the years but yet still remains outside the mainstream culture the undisputed although perhaps unwilling queen of golf is Suzie Suh the lead singer of two innovative gothic bands Siouxsie and the Banshees and the creatures many of the original Goths musicians continued to have huge followings ah bands such as the cult the Damned the Sisters of Mercy the mission and the Cure who are my personal favorites and the gothic scene has expanded quite a lot over the last couple of decades to the point where it once again now includes art and literature and various fields of design just as it did in the 18th and 19th centuries one of the things that I enjoy most about goth culture is its eclecticism it can't be narrowly defined or fenced off culturally and it appeals to many different types of people who are drawn to different aspects of the genre the themes and symbols that have been appropriated as gothic over the years can range widely at one end you have the same ecclesiastical imagery of crucifixes angels and gargoyles that were found on original medieval gothic buildings and then at the other end of the spectrum you have visuals that are inspired by the darker elements of mythology and pagan folklore such as ghosts demons fairies witches and otherworldly beings of all kinds including of course vampire bats however there's no one right way to interpret gothic it is at its heart I think simply a focal point for the subversive magical theatrical and poetic aspects of society that bewitched Lord Byron and Mary Shelley in the 19th century bewitched the medieval stonemasons in the Middle Ages and which will probably continue to be which the imaginations of people for many centuries yet to come that brings us to the end of this exploration of gothic history and culture and I do hope you've enjoyed listening to it I hope too that you can join me again soon for another ASMR adventure and until then thank you for your company goodbye

19 thoughts on “ASMR/Relaxation – The History of Gothic (history/literature/culture)

  1. In the very early days there was no significant differences between the Ostrogoths and the Visigoths. They considered themselves "The Goths" and the prefixes Ostro(meaning Eastern) and Visi(meaning Western) were only added later after they had settled in different regions. The Goths were just like any other of 1000 tribes the Roman Empire faced they jus happened to come to prominence at the perfect time to fill in the gaps left behind by the Romans allowing for this specialisation, that other tribes like Batavii, Nervii or Belgii.

  2. The French Whisperer sent me, and I am thoroughly in love with what I've heard. Quite relaxing, thank you. Definitely subscribing for more.

  3. Oh cool, I have been hoping for an ASMR channel that does history/culture kind of stuff for a while. Thought-provoking and relaxing.

  4. Love your narration style! Aside from a few “uhm” and “eeh” you sound like an outright professional. I just wish you could interpose some pauses once in a while, where it’s absolutely quiet for a few seconds. That would intensify the ASMR effect. Looking forward to your next upload.

  5. It is rather annoying how much you say annnd in the first couple minutes if this continues throughout this I don't think I will make it to the end.

  6. Well, thanks to our fine French friend, I too have stumbled upon your works. I have never been to enthralled by the subject matter of an ASMR video, your knowledge and delivery is impressive and captivating respectively. Instant subscription, my sincerest thanks for producing this wonderful content!

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