Mazes of the Serpent: An Anatomy of Horror Narrative

Mazes of the Serpent: An Anatomy of Horror Narrative

Mazes of the Serpent: An Anatomy of Horror Narrative

Mazes of the Serpent: An Anatomy of Horror Narrative

Synopsis

Salomon approaches horror through the medium of narrative as a significant and enduring physical and metaphysical reality. He explores the nature of horror in literature and in life.

Excerpt

All I entreat . . . is that you will abstain from forcing your own
conclusions upon me. I want nothing explained away. I desire
no arguments.

— AMELIA EDWARDS, The Phantom Coach

Driven by thirst, I eyed a fine icicle outside the window, within
hand's reach. I opened the window and broke off the icicle but
at once a large, heavy guard prowling outside brutally snatched
it away from me.“Warum?” I asked him in my poor German.
“Hier ist kein warum” (there is no why here), he replied, push
ing me aside with a shove.

— PRIMO LEVI, Survival in Auschwitz

This rage for explanation, for searching out the hidden mean
ing, is not limited to the early critics of Frankenstein. New
modes of interpretation are in some ways no better.

— GEORGE HAGGERTY, Gothic Fiction/Gothic Form

The narrator of a nineteenth-century ghost story pleads that we not interrupt him as he tells us “the truth” about certain circumstances. Primo Levi at Auschwitz quickly comes to understand the significance of the death camp:“everything is forbidden, not for hidden reasons, but because the camp has been created for that purpose” (25). A

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