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Distributed for University of Wales Press

The Gothic and the Carnivalesque in American Culture

Writers on gothic literature and art traditionally assume the genre explores genuine historical crises and traumas—yet this does not account for the fact that the gothic is often a source of wicked delight as much as horror, causing audiences to laugh as often as they shriek. The Gothic and Carnivalesque in American Culture offers a different account of the gothic, one that focuses on the carnivalesque in American gothic works from the nineteenth to the twentieth century. Along the way, the author discusses festivals in the works of Poe, Hawthorne and Irving; the celebrations of wickedness on display in the work of Weird Tales and H.P. Lovecraft; and the exhilarating, often exuberant horrors offered up by more recent authors such as Ray Bradbury and Stephen King, and in gothic-inspired television and pop culture, such as Vampirella and American Gothic.

288 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2015

Gothic Literary Studies

Literature and Literary Criticism: General Criticism and Critical Theory

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“There is a lot of fun to be had in The Gothic and the Carnivalesque in American Culture as its argument bounces convincingly from Poe and Hawthorne to King and Oates. It deftly negotiates comics and horror TV, happily juxtaposing Weird fiction and Bradbury, and enjoying the way Rice, Brite, and Burton play goth. While its playful readings explore the extensive intrageneric reflexiveness of gothic forms, it also provides a serious reexamination of the genre's cultural and critical histories: throwing Bourdieu's habitus into the ring with Bakhtin's carnival, it produces a canny and witty mode of criticism informed by affect and practice.”

Fred Botting, Kingston University, UK

Table of Contents

Introduction: Ballyhoo
1    Theory, Practice and Gothic Carnival
2    ‘The Delight of its Horror’ – Edgar Allan Poe’s Carnivals and the Nineteenth-Century American Gothic
3    Weird Tales and Pulp Subjunctivity
4    Ray Bradbury and the October Aura
5    ‘Hello, again, you little monsters!’ – Hosted Horrors of the 1950s and 1960s
6    Stephen King, Affect and the Real Limits of Gothic Practice
7    Every Day is Halloween – Goth and the Gothic
Conclusion: Waiting for the Great Pumpkin
Works Cited

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