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Writing => Horror Fiction => Topic started by: Michelle Jahn on September 20, 2010, 01:29:18 pm

Title: Horror fiction
Post by: Michelle Jahn on September 20, 2010, 01:29:18 pm
Horror fiction

Horror fiction is a genre of literature, which is intended to, or has the capacity to frighten its readers, inducing feelings of horror and terror. Horror can be either supernatural or non-supernatural. The genre has ancient origins which were reformulated in the eighteenth century as Gothic horror, with publication of the Castle of Otranto (1764) by Horace Walpole.

Supernatural horror has its roots in folklore and religious myth, focusing on death, the afterlife, evil, the demonic and the principle of evil embodied in The Devil.[1] These were manifested in stories of witches, vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and demonic pacts such as that of Faust.

Eighteenth century Gothic horror drew on these sources in such works as Vathek (1786) by William Beckford, The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) and The Italian (1797) by Ann Radcliffe and The Monk (1796) by Matthew Lewis. A lot of horror fiction of this era was written by women and marketed at a female audience, a typical scenario being a resourceful female protagonist menaced by fiends in a gloomy castle.[2]

The Gothic tradition continued in the 19th century, in such works as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818) Edgar Allan Poe's short stories, the works of Sheridan Le Fanu, Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890), and Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897). Enduring icons of horror derived from these stories include Dr Frankenstein and Frankenstein's Monster, Count Dracula, and Dr Jekyll and his evil double Mr Hyde.[3] Other legendary figures of horror from the nineteenth century are the murderers Burke and Hare, Sweeney Todd and Jack the Ripper.

Great horror writers of the early twentieth century include H.P. Lovecraft and M.R. James.

Title: Re: Horror fiction
Post by: Michelle Jahn on September 20, 2010, 01:29:41 pm
The trait of the genre of horror is that it provokes a response, emotional, psychological or physical within each individual that causes someone to react with fear. In order for that response to be elicited there are different techniques used, such as unreal figures (phantoms, mummies, etc.), or more real situations and figures (serial killers, rapists, kidnappers). The main ingredient within horror is that the reader or viewer can relate to it somehow and that there's always something unexpected on its way. The whole horror genre is built up upon people's fear of the unknown and anxieties. According to H.P. Lovecraft, "The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown."

One of the best-known contemporary horror writers is Stephen King. King was responsible for the development of the horror genre beginning in the 1970s. King's stories have managed to attract a large audience, for which he was prized by the U.S. National Book Foundation in 2003.[4] King received the prestigious Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters prize for his work.

Achievements in horror fiction are recognized by numerous awards. The Horror Writer's Association presents the Bram Stoker Awards for Superior Achievement, named in honor of Bram Stoker, author of the seminal horror novel Dracula.[5] The International Horror Guild presents its own annual awards, as do organisations such as the Australian Horror Writers Association with its annual Australian Shadows Award. Other important awards for horror literature are as subcategories included within general awards for fantasy and science fiction in such awards as the Aurealis Award.