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W. J. Renehan has written a comprehensive and concise account of the various theories of Horror, a difficult task though he lets none of the difficulty show, and thus this is a fine introduction to the field. But his book is more than theory; it also shares with the reader the weird pleasure we take in the field.
- Robert H. Waugh, author of The Monster in the Mirror: Looking for H. P. Lovecraft and A Monster of Voices: Speaking for H. P. Lovecraft
What makes Horror literature horrifying? What primordial fears resonate within (and attract us to) stories of the macabre? In this insightful volume, W.J. Renehan explores the complex interrelated traditions of Horror fiction, and the human psychology that fuels them.
In the course of his analysis, Renehan puts everything from the ancient vampire legends to Lovecraft's cosmic Horror of the unknown into compelling cultural context.
Renehan discusses monsters both supernatural and man-made, and explores the dark landscapes created by the likes of Shirley Jackson, H.P. Lovecraft, Peter Straub, Stephen King and other masters.
Overall, Renehan's book provides a rich introduction to that vital genre of literature which we allow to take us from the safety and light of our firesides into random, demonic, incoherent territories of terror – and seeks to explain why we so willingly return to those unsettling environs again and again.
W.J. Renehan serves as editorial director for New Street subsidiary Dark Hall Press, a publisher of first-quality Horror and Science Fiction. He is an alumnus of SUNY New Paltz and the University of Rhode Island.
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