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Titles on The Palingenesis Project > TPP009

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Catalogue Number
TPP009HB
Author
H. P. Lovecraft
Alex Kurtagic (Foreword)
Title
Supernatural Horror in Literature
Genre
Literary Criticism
Date of Publication
10 June 2013
Format
Hardback
Size
Demi 8vo
Pages
212
ISBN
978-1-909606-00-5
Price
£19.99
 
Synopsis

Originally published in 1927 in a small-circulation amateur magazine, spanning the period from antiquity until the 1930s, and covering both the Anglo-American world and Continental Europe, Lovecraft’s essay remains unparallelled as a survey of horror literature in our hemisphere. Said literature’s emergence as a genre coincided with the institutional establishment of liberalism, which represents a diametrically opposed worldview. This would suggest that horror literature, even if inadvertently or subconsciously, represents an attempt at escaping the limitations of the secular, materialist, rationalist Weltanschauung of liberal modernity, as well as a desire for meaning in a world rendered meaningless through ‘liberation’ from hierarchies, folk traditions, the occult, and the supernatural. Also of interest is the fact that the aesthetics of Gothic horror are invariably and luxuriantly beautiful (if in a dark way), whereas the logical extreme of rationality (utilitarianism, standardisation) is inherently anti-aesthetic. Would this not indicate, then, that the Age of Reason marked the beginning of a process that concluded in late modernity with the wholesale destruction of beauty, except where it, or the counterfeiting of it, was dictated by economic necessity? If so, we may view Lovecraft’s essay not merely as a resource for those seeking entertainment within a genre of literature, but also a map for those seeking to escape, and begin to transcend, the despair engendered by a worldview that pronounced itself dead when someone spoke of ‘the end of history’.

Table of Contents

Foreword vii
Note on the Text xxxi
Introduction 1
The Dawn of the Horror Tale 9
The Early Gothic Novel 19
The Apex of Gothic Romance 29
The Aftermath of Gothic Fiction 37
Spectral Literature on the Continent 53
Edgar Allan Poe 67
The Weird Tradition in America 77
The Weird Tradition in the British Isles 99
The Modern Masters 119
Bibliography 143
Index 165

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