Dissecting Hannibal Lecter

Essays on the Novels of Thomas Harris

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About the Book

This comprehensive study of author Thomas Harris’ popular works focuses particularly on Harris’s internationally known antihero Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter in the classic novels Red Dragon, Silence of the Lambs, and Hannibal. In 12 scholarly essays, the work examines several themes within Harris’ trilogy, including the author’s artistic exploration of repressed desires, his refinement of neo-noir themes and the serial killer motif, and his developing perceptions of feminine gender roles. Several essays also focus on Harris’ works before and after the popular trilogy, examining themes such as gothic romance in Harris’s first novel Black Sunday and the making of a monster in the trilogy’s 2006 prequel Hannibal Rising.

About the Author(s)

Benjamin Szumskyj, a private high school teacher and qualified library technician, has edited anthologies and essay collections on such authors as Robert E. Howard, Fritz Leiber, Thomas Harris and William Peter Blatty. He is also the editor of Studies in Fantasy Literature and Studies in Australian Weird Fiction. He lives in Melville, Western Australia.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Benjamin Szumskyj
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 239
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3275-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi

Foreword by Daniel O’Brien      1

Preface      7

Introduction      9

1. American Gothic: Liminality and the Gothic in Thomas Harris’s Hannibal Lecter Novels

PETER MESSENT      13

2. Hannibal at the Lectern: A Textual Analysis of Dr. Hannibal Lecter’s Character and Motivations in Thomas Harris’s Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs

JOHN GOODRICH      37

3. Gothic Romance and Killer Couples in Black Sunday and Hannibal

PHILIP L. SIMPSON      49

4. The Butterfly and the Beast: The Imprisoned Soul in Thomas Harris’s Lecter Trilogy

ROBERT H. WAUGH      68

5. This Is the Blind Leading the Blind: Noir, Horror and Reality in Thomas Harris’s Red Dragon

DAVIDE MANA      87

6. From Red Dragon to Manhunter

TONY WILLIAMS      102

7. Suspense vs. Horror: The Case of Thomas Harris

S.T. JOSHI      118

8. Transmogrified Gothic: The Novels of Thomas Harris

TONY MAGISTRALE      133

9. Hannibal Rising: Look Back in Anger

ALI S. KARIM      147

10. Before Her Lambs Were Silent: Reading Gender and the Feminine in Red Dragon

PHILLIP A. ELLIS      160

11. Black Sunday, Black September: Thomas Harris’s Thriller, from Novel to Film, and the Terror of Reality

SCOTT D. BRIGGS      176

12. Morbidity of the Soul: An Appreciation of Hannibal

BENJAMIN SZUMSKYJ      200

Afterword: Mythmaker

CHARLES GRAMLICH      212

About the Contributors      217

Index      223

Book Reviews & Awards

“a fine job”—Dead Reckonings; “a welcome and insightful examination of an important cultural icon”—Journal of American Studies; “an erudite collection of scholarly essays…offers many insights into the literary journey undertaken by Thomas Harris…the book is successful in encouraging the Harris fan to delve deeper into the psyche of the novelist and his creations”—HorrorScope.