American Horror Fiction: From Brockden Brown to Stephen King by Brian Docherty

By Brian Docherty

This quantity bargains serious and theoretical views on a style which has remained well known for almost 200 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, masking the interval from 1798 to 1983. every one essay offers with a massive determine within the style, from Gothic orginators to trendy feminist reworkings. a number of interpreting recommendations are hired to interrogate those texts, with feminist and psychoanalytic methods good represented. those essays illustrate the truth that sleek literary idea 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 e-book necessary and informative. The essays are all new, and feature been especially written for Insights via major academics.

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These terms are used by Cowie in The Rise of the American Novel to characterise the case against Brown. 5. Memoirs of Stephen Calvert was initially serialised in Brown' s Monthly Magazine and American Review in 1799-1800. Its reconstitution as a novel in its own right has been as a work of German scholarship: Memoirs ofStephen Calvert, ed. with an introduction and notes by Hans Borchers, Studien und Texte zur Amerikanistik (Frankfurt-am-Main: Peter Lang, 1978). Though I discuss the fiction, I do not wish it to be thought that I underrate Brown's other literary endeavours: essays such as 'The Rhapsodist' in the Columbian Magazine (1789); his contributions to the Philadelphia Weekly Magazine (1798); his editorship of the Monthly Magazine and American Review (1799-1800) and of The Literary Magazine and American Register (1803-6); his various political and nationalistic pamphlets; his translation in 1804 of Volnay's A View of the Soil and Climate of the United States; and his semi-annual The 32 6.

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. The plague, thereby, adds its 'witness' to that of Ormond, its own mode of keeping Constantia from the light.

Now they were closed, above and below; dark, and without tokens of being inhabited. Prom the upper windows of some, a gleam sometimes fell upon the pavement I was traversing, and shewed that their tenants had not fled, but were secluded or disabled. These tokens were not new, and awakened all my panieks. Death seemed to hover over this scene, and I dreaded that the floating pestilence had already lighted on my frame. (pp. 139-40) This passage, with its dear, vivid story-telling in the first person, represents Brown at his best (a few pages later, Mervyn actually finds hirns elf by accident 'inclosed in a coffin' - black-farcical horror, yet too dose for comfort).

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