By Brian Docherty
This quantity deals serious and theoretical views on a style which has remained renowned for almost 2 hundred years: American horror fiction. There are essays on Charles Brockden Brown, Edgar Allan Poe, H.P.Lovecraft, William Faulkner, Robert Bloch, Patricia Highsmith, Shirley Jackson, Stephen King and Suzy McKee Charnas, protecting the interval from 1798 to 1983. each one essay offers with an enormous determine within the style, from Gothic orginators to fashionable feminist reworkings. a number of analyzing concepts are hired to interrogate those texts, with feminist and psychoanalytic methods good represented. those essays illustrate the truth that glossy literary concept can usefully be utilized to any textual content or style. scholars of horror fiction looking new readings, and readers drawn to sleek methods to literature, will locate this publication worthy and informative. The essays are all new, and feature been in particular written for Insights through prime academics.
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Extra resources for American Horror Fiction: From Brockden Brown to Stephen King
For the cave, Poe-like to a degree, oneiric, hidden, could not be a more arresting image of a darkness visible, of the inner psyche lost and tumed in on itself. 18 Huntly undergoes a symbolic death and rebirth, a necessary new envisioning of all that is about hirn: The first effort of refIection was to suggest the belief that I was blind; that disease is known to assail us in a moment and without previous waming. This, surely, was the misfortune that had now befallen me. Some ray, however fIeeting and uncertain, could not fail to be discemed, if the power of vision was not utterlyextinguished ....
But the novel' s finest achievement, its anatomy of a city at once literally and figuratively a huge fever hospital, is not to be denied. In so depicting his 'yellowish and livid' Philadelphia, Brown conveys genuine menace, an urban 'darkness' both medical and political yet also symptomatic of a more general human condition. Like Brown's other fiction, Edgar Huntly; or Memoirs ofa Sleepwalker is not easily summarised. Huntly, in the guise of letter-writer to his fiancee, tells how he has come upon Clithero Edny by the graveside of her murdered brother Waldegrave.
Brown's Philadelphia is no fog-bound, unreal city. His plot line can be laboured and his effects too stagy. But he does establish a powerful and credible connection between his surface plot and the enclosing yellow fever. When Constantia observes that 'Every day added to the devastation and confusion of the city', she also senses the parallel in the A Darkness Visible: Brockden Brown 27 'devastation' and 'confusion' of her own life, subject as it has become to 'the incredible reverses' visited on her and her family by Ormond.