Gothic culture is an amalgam of aesthetics, fashion, literature, music and media that emphasize the grotesque, the romantic, the mysterious and the desolate. Gothic culture has its origins in the dark and macabre romantic literature of the 18th and 19th centuries. The modern Gothic culture arose out of the post-punk scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Although there is no consensus on which items constitute Gothic culture, in general, Goths have a fascination with history, mythology and the supernatural. Goths find beauty in the macabre and are fascinated with subjects that are considered dark, abnormal or outside the mainstream.
Early exponents of Goth culture adopted the dress and props of classic horror films like Bela Lugosi's portrayal of Dracula. Although the adoption of this style was originally tongue-in-cheek, Goths eventually came to take the dark, horror-inspired appearance seriously.
Groups like Bauhaus, The Cure and The Damned laid the foundation of the Goth musical genre. Like Punk, Gothic culture typically rejects mainstream society. However, Gothic culture takes a less rebellious and a more indifferent attitude toward society.
A common theme running through Gothic culture is a sense of loneliness, alienation and despair. Literary works like Anne Rice's vampire novels, Neil Gaiman's "Sandman" and James O'Barr's "The Crow" express this theme through the portrayal of brooding, tragic characters.