At this point in my life, I am mostly an interior darkling. In my busy life, the idea of spending a lot of time on any type of visual aesthetic is completely foreign to me. Yet, in my heart, I will always be what may most closely be classed as a variety of Romantigoth. If only I had known that there were others like me when this tendency was at its peak (my adolescence)!
Poetry, Music, Art, Darkness, Spirituality, Beauty, Creativity…yeah. When I was in high school I went through a fervent Romantigoth period, wearing vintage Victorian clothes, bustles, hoops, authentic granny boots, and the like. I shopped at antique stores and flea markets the way my classmates did at the mall. I begged my mother to help me make vintage dresses and bustles, from patterns. I had a collection of riding hats. I repeat…riding hats. Of course, this was before the internet, so I didn’t know I was a Romantigoth. I intuitively went that direction on my own. Painfully socially awkward, I spent my time alone, likely reading a Bronte novel and ignoring the other kids.
As a child of domestic violence and sexual abuse, never making the normal types of friendships, I had always been bullied. By high school, I saw most of my peers more as hostile forms of alien life, so my look was probably as much a buffer to keep them at a distance as anything. Again, probably due to my context, I longed desperately to exist in another time and place. I fervently believed that, in that “simpler time,” everything would be okay and I would fit in. I don’t mean to imply that these are the motivations of others with Gothic leanings, but merely mine.
The Romantigoth part of me is now just a deeply inherent, yet not overwhelming, aspect of my identity. Once dressed to the nines in period clothes, I now but rarely even wear a skirt! But as you can see, my love of the culture is very real.
One of the hallmarks of a Romantigoth is love of poetry. Mind you, I enjoy a deliberately “bad,” playful verse as much as I do the classics. But today I want to highlight the veg leanings of some of the old masters.
Percy Bysshe Shelley was a philosopher, a “radical,” and an environmental activist before he discovered vegetarianism in 1813. One of his most ardent biographers was Henry S Salt, who was also a prolific author on vegetarianism, animal rights, and other types of social reform. A website on Salt that references his work on Shelley is here.