From Frankenstein and Dracula to Psycho and The Chainsaw Massacre, horror fiction has provided our culture with some of its most enduring themes and narratives. Considering horror fiction both as a genre and as a social phenomenon, Joseph Grixti provides a theoretical and historical framework for reconsidering horror and the cultural apparatus that surrounds it. First published in 1989, this book looks at shifts in the genre’s meaning – its fascination with excess, its commentaries on the categories and boundaries of culture – and at interpretations of horror from psychology, psychoanalysis, sociology, cultural and media studies.
Terrors of Uncertainty brings together a provocative range of perspectives from across the disciplines, which combine to raise important questions about the relationship between fiction and society, and the way in which we use fiction to resolve or evade our fears of uncertainty.
Table of Contents
Preface; Introduction: Matter, method, and meaning; Part I: Horror and Helplessness in Contemporary Bestsellers 1. Horror Fiction and Social Unease – An Overview 2. Herocis and Helplessness – The Case of James Herbert 3. Language. Modes of Seeing, and Magic – The Covenant of Stephen King; Part II: Academic Perspectives 4. Catharsis and the Myth of the Beast 5. Clockwork Copy-Cats and the Study of Horrific Influences 6. Consciousness, Fiction, and the Terrors of Uncertainty; Endword: Consuming Impotence; Notes; References; Index