Gothic Beauties Glossary

"The beautiful and menacing gothic beauty of night falls - a black so deep, slowly and silently enhanced by the emergence of shimmering lights: silver, gold, purple, green, blue and finally red. The ebony obscurity keeps its secrets well hidden, only reluctantly revealing tantalizing glimpses of an unnatural brilliance.

Introducing the a-england 'Gothic Beauties' collection, inspired by 5 conflicted literary personages, who all share a common bond: an agonizingly torn dark inner spirit, finally experiencing healing redemption at the end of their lives."

Dorian Gray

Inspired by Oscar Wilde's main character in "The Picture of Dorian Gray" about a man who falls prey to a completely hedonistic way of life, transferring all of his inner "ugliness" to his portrait, all the while presenting the world a facade of surpassing beauty. Ultimately, he realizes that only through his death will he find salvation and atone for all his sins.


Based on the doomed character of Shakespeare's play "Hamlet", young Ophelia who is destined to be the bride of Hamlet, the rightful king of Denmark, is sent conflicting messages by him - a man she has become besotted with. Upon her father's death, she begins to spiral down into a deep madness, finally killing herself by drowning - but not before she takes the herb "rue", a well-known symbol of regret.

Lady of Shalott

From a poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809 - 1892), and loosely based on the Arthurian tale of Elaine, who was deeply in love with Sir Lancelot. The story opens with the Lady of Shalott who is destined to stay locked in a tower and never set eyes upon distant Camelot, lest her curse becomes real. Forced to view the world through a mirror while she sits by her window and weaves, she becomes overcome by Sir Lancelot's beauty as he chances to ride past one day, and upon viewing him she becomes stricken with her curse. Knowing her situation hopeless, she leaves the tower and takes a boat downriver, but tragically dies along the way - only to be finally found by Lancelot himself, who is awed by her serene and graceful beauty as seen in death.

Jane Eyre

From the central character in Charlotte Bronte's novel "Jane Eyre", this is a tale of submerged passions, cruelty, deceit, and ultimately, love. Young orphaned Jane comes to live with abusive relatives, but later winds up in a charitable boarding school. Upon graduation, she becomes employed as a governess to the ward of the "Byronic" master of Thornfield Hall, Edward Rochester, as they come to feel a deep love for one another. After accepting his marriage proposal, events conspire against them, especially when she learns that he is still married to his first wife. Leaving him rather than live in perpetual sin, she eventually learns that his mad wife set fire to the manor and jumped to her death, leaving Edward burned, maimed and blind. Returning back to him, Jane is able to finally find expression in her passions at long last, despite everything.

Tess d'Urbervilles

From Thomas Hardy's title character in "Tess d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented (1891)", this is the story of a young rural woman whose life becomes torn apart by strict Victorian conventions when she becomes the focus of carnal attention by Alec d'Urberville - a man of self-imposed nobility and despicable morals. While Tess's heart is pure, her physical beauty makes her a target and thus dooms her to never finding inner peace due to the rigidly adhered-to womanly ideals she has to live up to. Imprisoned and sentenced to death for Alec's murder, she finds peace at last through death.
Gothic Beauties

Text kindly provided by Eugenia Ragas