Southern Gothic is a goth subgenre encompassing fashion inspired by Southern outfits, locations from the 1800s, and literary works. It originated in works by 19th-20th century Southern authors criticizing their society's racism, sexism, classism, fixation on the past, and decaying economy. Later the aesthetic deviated from literature with the "regional gothic" trend on tumblr in the mid-2010s, which places greater emphasis on Liminal Space, modern American iconography, evangelicalism, and controversially, hillbilly horror. Because of this, this entry is divided into two sections, with one based on the literary movement and the other on the tumblr revival.



The visuals of the literary movement connect with the gothic imagery of decay as a metaphor for the fall of society due to lack of progress. Imagery tended to emphasize the political themes of the work and highlight the differences between the plantation class, poor white people, and black people.

  • American Civil War imagery
  • Daguerreotypes
  • Ghosts and other supernatural beings
  • Plantation houses in states of decay
  • Southern Belle-style dresses

Regional Gothic

  • Abandoned gas stations
  • Animals with cultish undertones, such as deer and rams
  • Bayous and swamps
  • Billboards with evangelical messages meant to inspire fear in the reader
  • Grotesque looking people. This is controversial due to the classism and fatphobia inherent in deeming Southerners "ugly and creepy"
  • Women in white dresses (not necessarily 19th century) resembling ghosts
  • Supernatural and ritualistic objects such as Ouija boards and candles
  • Voodoo

Media (Literary)

For more, see the TVTropes page.

Books, Anthologies, and Short Stories

  • Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
  • A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories by Flannery O'Connor
  • As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  • Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O'Connor
  • Light in August by William Faulkner
  • "The Gold-Bug" by Edgar Allan Poe
  • The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  • The Violent Bear it Away by Flannery O'Connor
  • Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor




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