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Horror Fiction in the 20th Century: Exploring Literature's Most Chilling Genre

Horror Fiction in the 20th Century: Exploring Literature's Most Chilling Genre

by Jess Nevins


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Providing an indispensable resource for academics as well as readers interested in the evolution of horror fiction in the 20th century, this book provides a readable yet critical guide to global horror fiction and authors.

Horror Fiction in the 20th Century encompasses the world of 20th-century horror literature and explores it in a critical but balanced fashion. Readers will be exposed to the world of horror literature, a truly global phenomenon during the 20th century.

Beginning with the modern genre's roots in the 19th century, the book proceeds to cover 20th-century horror literature in all of its manifestations, whether in comics, pulps, paperbacks, hardcover novels, or mainstream magazines, and from every country that produced it. The major horror authors of the century receive their due, but the works of many authors who are less well-known or who have been forgotten are also described and analyzed. In addition to providing critical assessments and judgments of individual authors and works, the book describes the evolution of the genre and the major movements within it.

Horror Fiction in the 20th Century stands out from its competitors and will be of interest to its readers because of its informed critical analysis, its unprecedented coverage of female authors and writers of color, and its concise historical overview.

  • Covers both the best-known authors of horror literature and a large number of lesser-known or forgotten authors whose work would reward searching out by modern readers
  • Is unprecedented in its coverage of international horror literature and includes dozens of authors whose horror fiction has never before been translated into English
  • Covers the major 20th century developments and movements within horror literature in one volume, in a linear and chronological manner
  • Is a corrective to decades of sexist, racist, colonialist, and provincial horror criticism

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781440862052
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 01/07/2020
Pages: 277
Sales rank: 449,243
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Jess Nevins is an instruction and reference librarian at Lone Star College-Tomball.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction xiii

Why Write About Horror? xiii

What Is Horror Fiction? xiv

American and British Horror Literature Before the Twentieth Century xvi

International Horror xviii

Part 1 1901-1939, The Golden Age 1

Chapter 1 British Writers 3

The "Classical" Tradition(s) 3

The Machen Quartet 4

Breaks with Tradition 6

Naturalism and the Psychological Ghost Story 8

Traditionalists and Holdovers 8

New Voices 10

The War Years 13

Voices of the Twenties 13

The End of the Golden Age 15

Chapter 2 American Writers 18

The Great Age of the American Ghost Story 18

East Coast versus West Coast 19

The East Coast School 19

Sexism and Great Age Content 21

East Coast Membership 22

The West Coast School 24

Exceptions 26

After Weird Tales' Debut 27

Chapter 3 Horror in the Pulps 30

Before Weird Tales 30

Weird Tales 31

H. P. Lovecraft 32

The Weird Tales Crew 34

What Lovecraft and Weird Tales Wrought, and What They Did Not 37

Outside of Weird Tales 39

The Shudder Pulps 42

The End of Weird Tales' Golden Age 43

Chapter 4 Horror in the Mainstream 44

The Creation of the Mainstream 44

Before the Great War 45

America 46

England 47

After the War 48

Chapter 5 Outside the Anglosphere, 1901-1939 56

Africa (Angola, Lesotho, Nigeria, South Africa) 56

The Americas (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela) 58

Asia (India, China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Philippines) 63

Europe (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia and the Soviet Union, Spain) 67

The Middle East (Egypt, Iran, Turkey) 77

Part 2 1940-1970, Midcentury Frights 79

Chapter 6 American Writers 81

Ray Bradbury 81

Robert Bloch 82

Richard Matheson 83

Charles Beaumont 84

The Group 84

Fritz Leiber 85

Midcentury Writers of Horror 86

One-Shots 88

Chapter 7 British Writers 90

The Changing Landscape 90

The 1940s 91

The 1950s 93

The 1960s 95

Chapter 8 Horror in the Mainstream 98

The Effects of the War 98

American Writers 100

Writers of the United Kingdom 101

Chapter 9 Horror on the Cheap 105

Pulps and Digests 105

Paperbacks 107

Comics 110

Chapter 10 Outside the Anglosphere, 1940-1970 113

Africa (Angola, Congo, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Lesotho, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa) 113

The Americas (Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Guyana, Mexico, Uruguay, Venezuela) 117

Asia (India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines) 124

Europe (Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain) 129

The Middle East (Israel, Syria, Turkey) 134

Part 3 1971-2000, The Boom Years 137

Chapter 11 Horror as Big Business 139

American Best Sellers 139

The British Response 147

In the Mainstream 150

Chapter 12 The Boom and Bust of the 1980s and 1990s 152

Full-Timers 153

Part-Timers, Tourists, and Dabblers 161

RPG Fiction 165

Chapter 13 Short-Fiction Authors, 1971-2000 166

From Before the Boom 167

The 1970s Generation 168

The 1980s Generation 170

The 1990s Generation 172

Chapter 14 Horror for Children and Young Adults 175

1900-1960 175

The 1960s 177

The 1970s 178

The 1980s 181

The 1990s 182

Chapter 15 Outsiders Writing Horror 184

African American Writers 184

Australian Aboriginal Writers 189

Latinx Horror 192

Native American Horror 193

Queer Horror 195

Chapter 16 Outside the Anglosphere, 1971-2000 199

Africa (Congo, Guinea, Kenya, Mauritania, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa) 199

The Americas (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Quebec, Venezuela) 203

Asia (China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand) 209

Europe (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland) 216

The Middle East (Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Syria, Turkey) 222

Epilogue 225

Notes 229

Selected Bibliography 261

Index 269

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