Para 2: But if William Deresiewicz’s withering and dyspeptic description of the education provided by elite American universities applied to Oxford, these teenage “winners” should be pitied, not congratulated. He paints a Gothic picture of Harvard, Yale, the rest of the Ivy league, and many other reputable colleges in the US, where horrible academic neglect, rampant materialism and insufferable smugness combine to leave their students in an educational and moral wasteland. Deresiewicz would have us believe that these world-famous universities churn out spiritually impoverished automatons whose principal task is to proceed to remunerative careers that will in turn secure future donations to perpetuate the institutions they have only just about survived.
I tried Wikipedia's page on Gothic fiction, because the aforesaid work isn't fiction so this doesn't apply?
ODO's Definition 3 = (also pseudo-archaic Gothick) Belonging to or redolent of the Dark Ages; portentously gloomy or horrifying:
Is this the right meaning? The 'horrifying' definition coheres with the quoted context, but a reference fromt the Dark Ages seems far outdated?