18 April 2013
The Evolution of Horror
For centuries, stories of monsters, demons and other unholy abominations have brought fear to the hearts of audiences in commercially convenient doses. Noel Carroll, Ph.D., in his article “The Nature of Horror”, argues that the existence of monsters and supernatural entities alone do not define a horror novel or film “for monsters inhabit all sorts of stories, such as fairy tales, myths, and odysseys, that we are not wont to identify as horror” (Carroll). One can therefore infer that the absence of such creatures in either media can absolutely still yield a work in the Horror fiction genre. The genre of Horror draws its roots from many sources. It has, however, mainly been influenced from folklore and religious beliefs centered on death, evil, existence of an afterlife, and the Devil. Gothic Horror, a literary genre which first drew from these foundations, emerged in the eighteenth century. “The Castle of Otranto” (1764), by Horace Walpole, was the first modern novel to incorporate supernaturalism instead of realism. This novel became popular immediately after publication and inspired works such as “The Mysteries of Udolpho” (1794) by Ann Radcliffe and “The Monk” (1797) by Matthew Lewis. Female authors wrote much of Gothic Horror literature. The Haunting of Hill House (1959) by Shirley Jackson, though written in the 20th century, demonstrates a writing style typical of many Gothic Horror novels. In this novel, Shirley Jackson incorporates elements of romance and horror, stages the novel in an abandoned house, employs the presence of the supernatural and focuses on women as the central figures of oppression and distress. The story begins when Dr. Montague organizes a team of four members to lead on an expedition through an eighty-year-old haunted house. Throughout the novel, the house seems to single out one member of the group, Eleanor, who may be the catalyst of the strange...
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