Definition of American Gothic in English:

American Gothic


  • 1A noted 1930 painting by Grant Wood (1891–1942), depicting a dour-faced farmer and his daughter in front of their house, with a Gothic-style window in the background. It is representative of traditional American rural values, and is widely copied and parodied.

    • ‘Parts of the portrait shared similarities to American Gothic, for example the sharp outline, rural qualities and the interest in pattern.’
    • ‘We look at Grant Wood's American Gothic and imagine a storyline that goes with it.’
    • ‘There are discussions on French and German writing, on Victorian and American Gothic writing up to the end of the last century, on Gothic works as presented in the cinema, and on colonial and postcolonial Gothic fiction.’
    • ‘It's time we paint a new American Gothic for the 21st century.’
    • ‘Wood had recently exhibited his now legendary painting American Gothic at the Art Institute of Chicago to great acclaim.’
    1. 1.1[as modifier]Conservative in moral and social views.
      • ‘As much American Gothic as Japanese horror, it's a demanding, unsettling and memorable film.’
      • ‘Director Marc Forster successfully navigates small-town American Gothic terrain, brilliantly detailing not only the association between grief and self-destruction, but also grief's capacity to engineer profound redemption.’
      • ‘This Puritan idea gave rise to all sorts of conventions, but most notably, the American Gothic tradition, or modern horror.’
      • ‘Yet, nevertheless, it is his more explorative work that highlights American Gothic.’