Chapter

Introduction: Horror now and then

Fred Botting

in Limits of Horror

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780719077548
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701904 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719077548.003.0001
Introduction: Horror now and then

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Gothic preserves the illusion of darkness death, and sexuality in a world given over to the omnipresence of virtual light and life on screens. Where do simulations begin or end? Does horror or abjection counter their thrust or feed the cool machine with a fleeting bite? Ascriptions of ‘Gothic horror’ attempt to register repulsion at the enormity and excess of their act: its horror lies beyond reality or hyperreality even as it is rendered almost palatable in fictional and generic terms. To simulate vampirism is undertaken with the aim of breaking through sanitised screens of hyperreality, of finding something real in blood and horror. Violence, horror and abjection, in being rendered figures of excess, are opposed to or cast out of hyperreality only to the extent that their excision gives simulations some bite. Ghosts and spectres kept on returning in Gothic romances, popular dramas and spectacular entertainments. In his account of the discursive formation of modernity, Michel Foucault comments upon the function of monsters in processes of biological classification.

Keywords: Gothic horror; darkness; death; sexuality; abjection; simulations; hyperreality; vampirism; ghosts; monsters

Chapter.  6042 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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