Maps of Heaven, Maps of Hell: Religious Terror as Memory from the Puritans to Stephen King

By Holmberg, Carl Bryan | Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA), Winter 1997 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Maps of Heaven, Maps of Hell: Religious Terror as Memory from the Puritans to Stephen King


Holmberg, Carl Bryan, Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA)


Maps of Heaven, Maps of Hell: Religious Terror as Memory from the Puritans to Stephen King. Edward J. Ingebretsen, S.J. Armonk, M.E. Sharpe. 1996. 221 pp. Selected bibliography and index.

Until Ingebretsen's carefully detailed monography, the study of horror and its relationship to culture has been a morass of narrow, oversimplified and partial observations. Maps of Heaven, Maps of Hell takes an intedisciplinary approach rather than safely remaining confined to literature or film which apparently has contented former scholarship. Unlike others, Ingebretsen's vision spans literature and film as well as civic ritual, history, philosophy, theology and cultural studies. He writes cogently, insightfully, convincingly, winningly. A brief passage certifies how easy it is to relegate the study of terror to the simplistic and innocuous:

The study of culture is a curious business. Like any organizing system, its strategies and forms of popular management recede from view, while much energy is invested in keeping them either unreflected upon or unreflecting. It is like a text, unwritten and overwritten, dense with meanings which are invisible to conventional (that is to say, to authorized) technologies of reading. (212-13)

As a sample, this passage speaks boldly yet remains deconstructively rich. Without question, the book belongs in any library which sports Lovecraft's The Supernatural in Literature and King's Danse Macabre.

The focus of the ongoing exegesis may be literature but Ingebretsen cleverly does not hesitate to demonstrate, sometimes at deservable length, connections to popular culture events like the Salem witch trials, the Bobbits and others. The intertwining of various sources supports one of Ingebretsen's major theses, that terror and horror are civic and public ingredients of American cultural life not just among the Puritans, but to this day.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Maps of Heaven, Maps of Hell: Religious Terror as Memory from the Puritans to Stephen King
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?