The Literature of Terror: A History of Gothic Fictions from 1765 to the Present Day, Vol. 2: The Modern Gothic (Volume 2)

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9780582290556: The Literature of Terror: A History of Gothic Fictions from 1765 to the Present Day, Vol. 2: The Modern Gothic (Volume 2)

The Literature of Terror: the Modern Gothic is the second volume in David Punter's impressive survey of gothic writing covering over two centuries. This long awaited second edition has been expanded to take into account the latest critical research, and is now published in two volumes. Volume One covers the period from 1765 to the Edwardian age while Volume Two discusses modern gothic, starting with the 'decadent' gothic writing of Oscar Wilde and continuing through the twentieth century.

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Review:

This two-volume set (see Volume 1: The Gothic Tradition) by David Punter is more than simply a history of the gothic form in American and British literature. It's an ambitious attempt to redefine the word gothic so that it encompasses most of fantastic fiction and film for the past 200 years under a unifying theme: a preoccupation with fear. This is, of course, an extremely broad definition, so don't be surprised if you find yourself taking the theoretical sections of the book with a grain of salt. Also, since the book was first written in the late 1970s, much of the discussion of language and symbol relies on rather outdated Marxist and Freudian theories. Punter apologizes for the latter in the preface to this (the second) edition, saying that rather than doing a massive revision, he decided to "leave it largely as an 'unrestored' period piece, with its own characteristic style, silhouette, and mood"--while adding additional material on the contemporary gothic.

Those caveats aside, however, The Literature of Terror is mostly successful as a comprehensive study. And it's an enormously useful reference for anyone with a more than passing interest in horror literature. Plus it benefits from being the work of a single author: Punter is an extremely well-read scholar who perceives fascinating connections between a wide variety of books and films, and he explains his ideas lucidly enough that you can judge for yourself how far you agree with them.

Some of the high points are Punter's overview of what the word gothic means in other fields (such as architecture); his summaries of the roles of graveyard poetry, the sentimental novel, and the theory of the sublime in the development of the gothic concept; and his inclusion (as gothic and even horror writers) of such notables as Isak Dinesen, William S. Burroughs, Thomas Pynchon, J.G. Ballard, Angela Carter, Thomas Hawkes, and Robert Coover. If that's not enough to tempt you, the footnotes and bibliography alone offer ample yet well-chosen pointers to authors whose entertaining fiction you may not have discovered yet.

Best of all, The Literature of Terror is written in English--that is, not loaded down with annoying words such as transgressive and trope that mar so much of postmodern criticism. You can browse for information about specific authors or dip into it at your leisure without losing the thread. And for an academic work, it's darn fun to read. (Be sure to get both Volume 1 and Volume 2.) --Fiona Webster

From the Back Cover:

The Literature of Terror: the Modern Gothic is the second volume in David Punter's impressive survey of gothic writing covering over two centuries. The text was originally published in 1980 to wide acclaim and following its publication, critical interest in gothic writing has risen substantially. This long awaited second edition has been expanded to take into account the latest critical research, and is now published in two volumes.

Volume One covers the period from 1765 to the Edwardian age while Volume Two discusses modern gothic, starting with the 'decadent' gothic writing of Oscar Wilde and continuing through the twentieth century. David Punter's thorough analysis places gothic writing within its historical and sociological context. A new chapter on post-war fiction and film extends the scope of the original study, exploring the development of a contemporary 'culture of horror' and showing the continuing relevance of the Gothic as a means of expression. This new edition also contains a new chapter which analyses the relationship between cultural material and sociopathic behaviour, offering an important contribution to contemporary sociological debate.

The two volumes combined provide the most up-to-date and comprehensive introduction to gothic and related terror writing across the English language as a whole. Both volumes contain detailed bibliographies with assessment of all the significant books published in the area during the last fifteen years. The broad scope of this study enables detailed understanding of this popular genre and will be welcome reading for students of English and American literature and cultural studies.

David Punter is Professor of English Studies at the University of Stirling.

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David Punter
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Descrizione libro Taylor Francis Ltd, United Kingdom, 1996. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. 2nd Revised edition. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.The Literature of Terror: the Modern Gothic is the second volume in David Punter s impressive survey of gothic writing covering over two centuries. This long awaited second edition has been expanded to take into account the latest critical research, and is now published in two volumes. Volume One covers the period from 1765 to the Edwardian age while Volume Two discusses modern gothic, starting with the decadent gothic writing of Oscar Wilde and continuing through the twentieth century. Codice libro della libreria AAV9780582290556

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Descrizione libro Taylor Francis Ltd, United Kingdom, 1996. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. 2nd Revised edition. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. The Literature of Terror: the Modern Gothic is the second volume in David Punter s impressive survey of gothic writing covering over two centuries. This long awaited second edition has been expanded to take into account the latest critical research, and is now published in two volumes. Volume One covers the period from 1765 to the Edwardian age while Volume Two discusses modern gothic, starting with the decadent gothic writing of Oscar Wilde and continuing through the twentieth century. Codice libro della libreria AAV9780582290556

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