Paper $19.95 ISBN: 9781861892898 Published November 2006 For sale in North and South America only
E-book $11.98 to $19.95 ISBN: 9781861895660 Published November 2006


Bran Nicol


Bran Nicol

Distributed for Reaktion Books

240 pages | 6 halftones | 5 3/4 x 8 3/4 | © 2006
Paper $19.95 ISBN: 9781861892898 Published November 2006 For sale in North and South America only
E-book $11.98 to $19.95 ISBN: 9781861895660 Published November 2006

It scares—and titillates—in such movies as The Hand That Rocks the Cradle and Basic Instinct. It violently ended the lives of legendary artists such as Selena and John Lennon, and thousands of people endure it daily in anonymity from ex-lovers and strangers. Stalking has been a fact of human society for a surprisingly long time, yet it is only in the last two decades that the term “stalking” came into wide use throughout mass culture. Bran Nicol traces here the history of stalking and chronicles how acts of extreme obsession have created a public fixation of their own. 

This unprecedented study draws on a wealth of sources—including forensic psychology, films, literature, news reports, and cultural theory—to examine stalking as a behavior and a social phenomenon. Moving from Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa to Fatal Attraction and from Charles Dickens’s Our Mutual Friend to Taxi Driver and One Hour Photo, Nicol skillfully probes how stalking has pervaded our civilizatoin for over two hundred years. He then turns his focus to the role that stalking plays in the context of our contemporary media-saturated culture, posing provocative questions about the state of modern society: Have interpersonal relations become increasingly intense or more perverse today? Are we dealing with something truly new, or is stalking simply the latest name for an age-old form of social interaction? Stalking also examines cases of deadly obsession with celebrities, such as Jodie Foster, and explores how such fixations are fueled by mass media and the Internet.

A wholly fascinating and groundbreaking investigation into one of the extreme consequences of our hyper-connected age, Stalking provides a thorough understanding of this disturbingly compelling abnormality.

1.  What is Stalking?
2.  Stalking and Contemporary Culture
3.  Enter the Stalker
4.  Stalking and Love
5.  Stalking and Morality
List of Illustrations
Review Quotes
Times (London)
"Stalking, as a criminal offence and as an obsessive psychological state, has only recently been identified but it has a long and vivid history in literature and film from the schoolteacher Bradley Headstone in Dickens’s Our Mutual Friend to Alex Forrest, the bunny boiler in Fatal Attraction. A fascinating mix of psychology, film studies, literature and cultural theory."
Steven Poole | The Guardian
"Sharp treatment of the idea of stalking in modern culture. . . . illuminating . . . intriguing."
Iain Finlayson | The Times
"A fascinating mix of psychology, film studies, literature, and cultural theory."
John Allemang | The Globe and Mail
"Short, sharp analysis of our deviant cultural psychology. . . . A good effort at rounding up his novels and movies without too much academic nattering about the patriarchy."
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