John Robb

The Art Of Darkness
The History of Goth


This is the first comprehensive history of goth music and culture. Across more than 500 pages, John Robb explores the origins and legacy of this enduring scene, which has its roots in the post-punk era.

Drawing on his own experience as a musician and journalist, Robb covers the style, the music and the clubs that spawned the culture, alongside political and social conditions. He also reaches back further to key historic events and movements that frame the ideas of goth, from the fall of Rome to Lord Byron and the romantic poets, European folk tales, Gothic art and the occult. Finally, he considers the current mainstream goth of Instagram influencers, film, literature and music.

The Art of Darkness features interviews with Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cure, The Damned, Nick Cave, Southern Death Cult, Einstürzende Neubauten, Bauhaus, Killing Joke, Throbbing Gristle, Danielle Dax, Lydia Lunch and many more. It offers a first-hand account of being there at the gigs and clubs that made the scene happen.

Editorial Reviews

'John Robb brilliantly illuminates the realm of imagination and dark beauty. Enter the other side of love. The kingdom of goth is within you.'
Johnny Marr

'An encyclopaedia of excitement - thanks to this book goth is undead.'
Chris Packham

'John Robb has written the definitive book on a scene that demands to be celebrated. Fascinating, thoughtful, surprising and freakishly detailed.'
Grace Dent

‘John Robb is an inexhaustible fact finding music sleuth, a sturdy writer and trustworthy guide’
Henry Rollins

'I could not stop reading about the birth, death and ghost of goth as it poured out of this extensively researched panorama of goth music and culture. Connect the dots, do that dance… while wearing black, of course.’
Kid Congo

'This is a glorious book, exploring Gothic from its historical roots to the cliches, caricatures and catcalling of the present age. The music, dance and fashion are sumptuously brought to life, but more than that, Robb manages to take us into the psyche, fantasies and imaginations of a plethora of fascinating Goths. The go-to book on all things Goth.'
Janina Ramirez, author of Femina

About the Author

John Robb is a journalist, broadcaster and musician. He is the author of Punk Rock: An Oral History (2006) and the founder of culture website He plays bass in the post-punk band The Membranes.

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Manchester University Press (March 23, 2023)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 546 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1526173204
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1526173201

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