Horror Literature from Gothic to Post-Modern

Critical Essays

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About the Book

From shambling zombies to Gothic ghosts, horror has entertained thrill-seeking readers for centuries. A versatile literary genre, it offers commentary on societal issues, fresh insight into the everyday and moral tales disguised in haunting tropes and grotesque acts, with many stories worthy of critical appraisal. This collection of new essays takes in a range of topics, focusing on historic works such as Ann Radcliffe’s Gaston de Blondeville (1826) and modern novels including Max Brooks’ World War Z. Other contributions examine weird fiction, Stephen King, Richard Laymon, Indigenous Australian monster mythology and horror in picture books for young children.

About the Author(s)

Michele Brittany is the book review editor for the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics and is the co-chair of the Ann Radcliffe Conference held in conjunction with Horror Writers Association’s annual Stokercon. She lives in Orange, California.

Nicholas Diak is a pop culture scholar specializing in Italian spy films, post-industrial and synthwave music, and the works of H.P. Lovecraft. He has contributed essays, editorials and reviews to a variety of books, journals, and pop culture websites. He lives in Orange, California.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Michele Brittany and Nicholas Diak

Foreword by Lisa Morton

Afterword by Becky Spratford

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 236
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7488-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3791-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
Foreword: The Truth of Horror: A Brief History of the Genre’s
Nonfiction Works … and Why We Need Them (Lisa Morton) 1
Introduction (Michele Brittany and Nicholas Diak) 9

Section One: Horror Writers Who Forged New Ground
“The mist of death is on me”: Ann Radcliffe’s Unexplained Supernatural in Gaston de Blondeville (Elizabeth Bobbitt) 15
Jekyll and Hyde Everywhere: Inconsistency and Disparity in the Real World (Erica McCrystal) 29
ScatterGories: Class Upheaval, Social Chaos and the Horrors of Category Crisis in World War Z (J. Rocky Colavito) 41

Section Two: Spotlighting
Horror Writers Marjorie Bowen and the Third Fury (John C. Tibbetts) 57
“When the cage came up there was something crouched ­a-top of it”: The Haunted Tales of L.T.C. Rolt (Danny Rhodes) 70
Richard Laymon’s Rhetorical Style: Minimalism, Suspense and Negative Space (Gavin F. Hurley) 86
Four Quadrants of Success: The Metalinguistics of Author Protagonists in the Fiction of Stephen King (James Arthur Anderson) 101

Section Three: Exploring Literary Theory in Horror
“The symptoms of possession”: Gender, Power and Trauma in Late 20th Century Horror Novels (Bridget E. Keown) 115
“Not a Bedtime Story”: Investigating Textual Interactions Between the Horror Genre and Children’s Picture Books (Emily Anctil) 128
Synchronic Horror and the Dreaming: A Theory of Aboriginal Australian Horror and Monstrosity (Naomi Simone Borwein) 141
“Gelatinous green immensity”: Weird Fiction and the Grotesque Sublime (Johnny Murray) 164

Section Four: Disease, Viruses and Death in Horror
Night of the Living Dead, or Endgame: Jan Kott, Samuel Beckett and Zombies (Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr.) 179
Koji Suzuki’s Ring: A World Literary Perspective (Frazer Lee) 188
Mapping Digital ­Dis-Ease: Representations of Movement and Technology in Jim Sonzero’s Pulse and Stephen King’s Cell (Rahel Sixta Schmitz) 201

Afterword: Guardians of the Damned: Horror Scholarship and the Library (Becky Spratford) 215
About the Contributors 219
Index 223