The art of darkness

The history of goth

By John Robb

The art of darkness
Paperback -
  • Price: £14.99
  • ISBN: 9781526176769
  • Publish Date: Oct 2023
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Buy Now £14.99

    Delivery Exc. North and South America


    Delivery to North and South America

    Click Here to Buy from Your Preferred Bookseller
    Paperback +
  • Price: £14.99
  • ISBN: 9781526173201
  • Publish Date: Mar 2023
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Buy Now £14.99

    Delivery Exc. North and South America


    Delivery to North and South America

    Click Here to Buy from Your Preferred Bookseller
    eBook +
  • Price: £14.99
  • ISBN: 9781526173218
  • Publish Date: Mar 2023
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Buy Now £14.99

    Delivery Exc. North and South America


    Delivery to North and South America

    Click Here to Buy from Your Preferred Bookseller

    Book Information

    • Format: Paperback
    • ISBN: 978-1-5261-7676-9
    • Pages: 744
    • Price: £14.99
    • Published Date: October 2023


    This is the first comprehensive history of goth music and culture. 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 goth culture, alongside political and social conditions. Reaching back further into history, he examines key 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 Andrew Eldritch, Killing Joke, Bauhaus, The Cult, The Banshees, The Damned, Einstürzende Neubauten, Johnny Marr, Trent Reznor, Adam Ant, Laibach, The Cure, Nick Cave and many more. It offers a first-hand account of being there at the gigs and clubs that made the scene happen.


    One of Resident Music's Books of the Year 2023

    The Times

    'A treat'

    'This exhaustive book shows why the dark side is not dead and buried.'

    'Gloriously knowledgeable and inclusive, rich with words like crystalline, lysergic, spectral, and stuffed with stories about the bands who changed your life as a teenager.'
    Irish Independent

    'A feast for fans of the subculture'
    Hot Press

    '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


    1 Floorshow: a night out at the heart of 1980s goth
    2 The fall of Rome
    3 Deep in the forest: Europe's Gothic history
    4 'Mad, bad and dangerous to know': the Romantics and the Gothic imagination
    5 Euro visions
    6 The devil has the best tunes
    7 Paint it black: the dark heart of the psychedelic sixties
    8 All the children are insane, or people are strange: the (un)holy trinity: The Doors/Velvets/Stooges
    9 Wham bam thank you glam: the dark side of glam rock
    10 Proto post-punk
    11 The punk wars
    12 'What was once unhealthily fresh is now a clean old hat': post-punk to a very Public Image
    13 Spellbound: Siouxsie and the Banshees
    14 Feel the pain: The Damned
    15 Ridicule is nothing to be scared of: Adam Ant
    16 New dawn fades: Manchester and Joy Division
    17 'The wreckers of western civilisation...': industrial music
    18 'I must fight this sickness... find a cure': The Cure
    19 The naughty north and the sexy south
    20 All we ever wanted was everything: Bauhaus
    21 Lord of chaos: a dark and beautiful playground: Killing Joke
    22 Release the bats! Nick Cave
    23 'I am not avant-garde I am a deserter': Blixa Bargeld, Einstürzende Neubauten and the reinvention of Berlin
    24 Voodoo idols: the ballad of Lux and Ivy
    25 First, last and always: how post-punk Leeds created goth and The Sisters of Mercy
    26 Vagabonds Bradford: New Model Army and Joolz
    27 Flowers in the forest: Southern Death Cult
    28 Wanted dead or alive: how Liverpool opened the doors to a new (North) West Coast sound
    29 Do you believe in the westworld? Theatre of Hate
    30 A new form of beauty: Virgin Prunes, Dublin: how Lypton Village changed a nation
    31 'Good poetry can still resonate louder than a thousand guns': Rammstein for grown-ups: Laibach
    32 At the gates of silent memory: Field of the Nephilim
    33 Darklands: how the dark energy infected indie
    34 'We sing to the gods to be free': American Gothic and the dark art of the American dream
    35 Trans Europe Express
    36 In the flat field, suburbs and satellite towns: the second coming of goth
    37 Apocalypse now! Goth's end days


    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.

    The art of darkness

    By John Robb

    Paperback £14.99 / $24.95

    Paperback £25.00 / $36.95

    Or buy from your preferred bookseller:

    Amazon Waterstones Blackwells Bookshop

    Newsletter Sign Up

    Manchester University Press

    Your cart is empty.

    Select your shipping destination to estimate postage costs

    (Based on standard shipping costs)

    Final cost calculated on checkout
    Promotional codes can be added on Checkout