Mazes of the Serpent: An Anatomy of Horror Narrative

By Roger B. Salomon | Go to book overview

2

Ghosts and Other Monsters

It had a misshapen body made of stiff felt that was mainly shoulders and arms; the head was bald and domed, like an embryo's; the nose was a snubbed little piece of cotton made prehensile by a strip of wire.

— JOYCE CAROL OATES, “The Hand-puppet”

Ghosts everywhere. Even the living were only ghosts in the
making. You learned to ration your commitment to them.

— PAT BARKER, The Ghost Road

Good old Banquo, atrocity's familiar, blood's henchman, unable
to die, but endowed with ghoulish adaptability, able to invade
and transcend any physique, state of mind, any afterlife even, in
the end destined by weird sisters or the power that told even
the Greek gods what to do, to perform an auto-da-fé on the last
human remaining.

— PAUL WEST, “Banquo and the Black Banana:
The Fierceness of the Delight of the Horror”


GHOSTS AND DEATH

Certain events or cultural attitudes challenge the authority and enduring certainty of symbolic systems. As a historical event, the Holocaust might be invoked. In literature, postmodernism comes to mind. According to Mark Taylor,

-28-

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Mazes of the Serpent: An Anatomy of Horror Narrative
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Mazes of the Serpent - An Anatomy of Horror Narrative *
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Mazes of the Serpent *
  • Introduction - Horror Explained (Away) 1
  • 1 - Alternate Worlds 7
  • 2 - Ghosts and Other Monsters 28
  • 3 - Conventions of Absence:The Style of Literary Horror 71
  • 4 - Beyond Realism: Horror Narrative as Parody 112
  • 5 - Horror and the Absence of Redemption 145
  • Works Cited 165
  • Index 171
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