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Marija Dalbello Horror “concerned with knowledge as theme”

Image credit: Victor GAD. Marija Dalbello Horror “concerned with knowledge as theme”. Rutgers School of Communication, Information, and Library Studies dalbello@scils.rutgers.edu http://www.scils.rutgers.edu/~dalbello. Horror _______________________________________

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Marija Dalbello Horror “concerned with knowledge as theme”

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  1. Image credit: Victor GAD Marija Dalbello Horror “concerned with knowledge as theme” Rutgers School of Communication, Information, and Library Studies dalbello@scils.rutgers.edu http://www.scils.rutgers.edu/~dalbello

  2. Horror _______________________________________ Paradoxes of the heart 1) How can anyone be frightened by what they know does not exist? 2) Why would anyone ever be interested in horror, since being horrified is so unpleasant? Art horrorvs.Natural horror emotion caused by the characteristic structures, imagery, and figures in the genre vs. reality

  3. Horror • _______________________________________ • Pre-theoretical history of the horror genre: • Precursors: English gothic novel, Schauer-Roman, roman noir • Historical types: • Historical gothic (imagined past without supernatural events) • Natural or explained gothic (introduces supernatural and explains it away) • Radcliffe’s Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) • Supernatural gothic (supernatural events) • Equivocal gothic (supernatural origin of events in the text rendered ambiguous by means of psychologically disturbed characters) • Examples: • Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) • John Polidori’s The Vampyre (1819) • Charles Robert Maturin’s Melmoth the Wanderer (1820) • Edgar Allan Poe • popularity of gothic: 1820-1870 • Subgenres (ghost lit, alien invasion, tales of vampires, werewolves, zombies, demonic possession

  4. Horror • _______________________________________ • Monsters (extraordinary characters in an ordinary world ) • Incomplete representatives of their class; abominations; monsters’ categorical incompleteness: disintegrating things, formless, rotting • Interstitial, indescribable, inconceivable, It / Them • Revulsion (violation of schemes of cultural categorization; category mistakes are impure) • What are monsters made of? • fission (spatial or temporal) • fusion

  5. Horror _______________________________________ Plot structure 1. Complex discovery plot onset discovery confirmation confrontation 2. Discovery plot onset discovery confirmation 3. Over-reacher plot (forbidden knowledge) preparation experiment boomerang confrontation 14 possible horror formulas (Carroll, p. 116) Modification of the order of expositon by flashbacks, flashforwards, iteratives, nestings Suspense (relative probabilities at the heart of horror appeal) Fantastic hesitation (fantastic uncanny vs. fantastic marvelous; creating fantastic: use of weak models and keep the evidence as indecisive as possible)

  6. Horror _______________________________________ What is horror about? Concerned with knowledge as theme: rendering the unknown known Cognitive threat as a major factor in the generation of art-horror: how can you resolve contradictions (rationality) Reaction to the culture of materialistic sophistication (post-Enlightenment) (Carroll, p. 162) Instinctual attraction & capacity for awe Religious feeling in our culture was demeaned by ‘materialistic sophistication’ Intuition is denied by the culture of materialistic sophistication Horror evokes cosmic fear Coeval with religious feeling Gratifications of being in an emotional state Experiencing the numinous Numinous experience (mysterium tremendum fascinans et augustum) Nonrational element as object of religious experience = numen

  7. Horror • _______________________________________ • The politics of horror • Is art-horror ideological? • (xenophobic, progressive, misogynist, politically repressive) • Horror as carnival • (rituals of inversion for mass society: normal/abnormal/normal as allegory of reinstatement but it doesn’t work all the time - abnormal is not always expelled) • Horror as transmedia phenomenon (Carroll, p. 108)

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