Chapter

Dark bodies

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/9780719077548.003.0004
Dark bodies

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Horror arises when boundaries are crossed and the secure relation of inside and outside is disturbed: ‘there is suddenly, no inside and no outside. There is an emptying out of the object. It is the moment, a horrifying moment of the birth of a new space which ruins habitual space’. Rather than filling the new space with recognisable aesthetic images, the gaping hole comes shockingly to the fore: ‘an unfillable gap opens at the moment that the face is lifted’. Against the aestheticisation of horror and abjection stand more pervasive and persistent horrors of social, political and economic existence. Unbearable horror finds an object that turns it into terror. As Gothic images pervade a contemporary culture composed of rapidly oscillating and disturbing flows of anxious expenditures, a culture in which they are as much the norm as images of sex and violence, they manifest the generalisation of horror accompanying the vast economic and technological expansion into – and, phantasmatically, beyond – the black hole of post-modernity.

Keywords: horror; abjection; aestheticisation; terror; violence; black hole; post-modernity; sex

Chapter.  21557 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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