The Literary Haunted House

Lovecraft, Matheson, King and the Horror in Between


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About the Book

The haunted house of American fiction is an iconic union of setting and theme with an enduring presence in popular culture that traces its lineage to the early English Gothic novels. Blurring the boundaries between past and present, the living and the dead, the haunted house—synonymous with the dark side of domesticity—challenges accepted notions of reality and wields a special power over the reader’s imagination. Focusing on the work of H. P. Lovecraft, Richard Matheson and Stephen King, this critical work offers a fresh perspective on one of the most popular motifs in American fiction. Case studies demonstrate how these authors have kept the past alive while highlighting the complexities of modern society, using their ghostly tales to celebrate and challenge 20th century American history and culture.

About the Author(s)

Rebecca Janicker is a senior lecturer in film and media studies at the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom.

Bibliographic Details

Rebecca Janicker

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 224
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6573-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1928-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface 1
Introduction: The Haunted House Motif in Popular American Fiction 3
One. “The changeless, ­legend-haunted city of Arkham”: Cosmicism, Regionalism and Liminality in “The Dreams in the Witch House” 31
Two. “Behind the barricades of silence”: Haunted Suburbia in A Stir of Echoes 56
Three. “A ghost in his life?”: The Legacy of the 1950s Marriage in Earthbound 79
Four. “Protecting the hotel was his job. He was the caretaker”: Masculinity, Class and Capitalism in The Shining 102
Five. “Going places with the Young in Heart”: Haunted by Nostalgia and the Past in Christine 124
Six. “It’s my house, isn’t it?”: Memory, Identity and Haunting in Bag of Bones 145
Conclusion: Return of the Repressed: The Future of the Haunted House Motif 163
Chapter Notes 169
Bibliography 192
Index 207

Book Reviews & Awards

“Janicker presents students, academics, and general-interest readers with a critical investigation of the haunted house as a motif unifying setting and them from its beginnings in early English Gothic novels to its contemporary place in American fiction”—ProtoView.