Gothic Realities: The Impact of Horror Fiction on Modern Culture

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McFarland, Jan 10, 2014 - Literary Criticism - 248 pages
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Eighteenth-century critics believed Gothic fiction would inspire deviant sexuality, instill heretical beliefs, and encourage antisocial violence—this book puts these beliefs to the test. After examining the assumptions behind critics’ fears, it considers nineteenth-century concerns about sexual deviance, showing how Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dorian Gray, and other works helped construct homosexuality as a pathological, dangerous phenomenon. It then turns to television and film, particularly Buffy the Vampire Slayer and David DeCoteau’s direct-to-video movies, to trace Gothicized sexuality’s lasting impact. Moving to heretical beliefs, Gothic Realities surveys ghost stories from Dickens’s A Christmas Carol to Poltergeist, articulating the relationships between fiction and the “real” supernatural. Finally, it considers connections between Gothic horror and real-world violence, especially the tragedies at Columbine and Virginia Tech.

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Gothic Threats
Gothic Sexualities
Gothic Ghosts
Gothic Violence
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About the author (2014)

L. Andrew Cooper is assistant professor of Film and Digital Media at the University of Louisville, Kentucky. His work has appeared in The Quarterly Review of Film and Video and Gothic Studies. His co-edited anthology targeted for composition classes, Monsters, appeared in summer 2012, and his next book, Dario Argento, is scheduled to appear in November 2012. Visit his website at

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