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Literary Horror?


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Initial post: Jan 28, 2012 9:45:19 AM PST
Doe horror have to be genre? What do you think about Literary Horror?
Read anything that you think qualifies?
Why I Rescue Cats

Posted on Jan 28, 2012 1:03:33 PM PST
Marc Iverson says:
The place to sneak in a link to your own books is in the Meet Our Authors forum. Otherwise it's just spamming.

Posted on Jan 28, 2012 6:05:37 PM PST
Wow. Sorry about that. I was just wondering what people though about literary horror since the terms seem to be mutually exclusive. Had no idea my wee link to my wee story would qualify me as a spammer. Head in sand.

Posted on Jan 28, 2012 7:06:33 PM PST
Marc Iverson says:
They do and it does. But now that you know, the question is still good.

A little odd though. The world is full of literary horror. The Turn of the Screw, the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe and Shirley Jackson, and many would put Du Maurier and Lovecraft in that class. Joyce Carol Oates writes horror; Faulkner wrote A Rose for Emily; John Fowles wrote The Collector; Harold Pinter uses horror tropes. Cormac McCarthy famously dips in.

Posted on Jan 30, 2012 12:01:55 AM PST
Samual says:
People may have differences with me. But I think Aghast, which is my recent read could fall under the category literary horror.

Posted on Jan 30, 2012 3:14:42 PM PST
dianon says:
i consider stephen king an example of literary horror. in the future he will be read as we now do stoker, le fanu, poe and hp lovecraft.

Posted on Jan 31, 2012 10:19:24 AM PST
For me, the word "literary" suggest a level of quality rather than a subgenre. Why would anyone read anything that wasn't -- at the very least -- excellent? That should be the starting point. These days, I'm getting even more discriminating. With so many amazing books in the world, I just don't have time for anything that's not brilliant. The pile of popular novels that I've been unable to tolerate more than a few pages of gets bigger every night.

Posted on Jan 31, 2012 10:48:28 AM PST
For those who don't recognize the name, Mr. Dunbar has some books available:

WILLY

The Pines

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 31, 2012 11:09:48 AM PST
Nick Jones says:
Ya ain't fooling us, Samual.

Posted on Jan 31, 2012 11:15:22 AM PST
AxisBeefyBoy says:
I think you just called in a fire mission danger-close, Samual. You better strap on that old K-pot!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 31, 2012 11:22:19 AM PST
Gotta give points for creativity, no? *wink*

Posted on Jan 31, 2012 4:13:30 PM PST
Check out short story collections by Reggie Oliver, Barbara Roden, John Langan, Brian Evenson, Laird Barron

Posted on Jan 31, 2012 4:51:31 PM PST
Krisi Keley says:
This is a matter of opinion, of course, but for me, there are two things that qualify a novel as literary. One is, for lack of a better word, substance, and the other is language. By substance, I mean that the story, in some way, addresses topics or questions that affect or have been asked by all human beings in all times, rather than one which only aims to entertain a select group of readers in a given era and/or culture. Obviously, this doesn't mean that literary fiction isn't also entertaining, but simply that it also inspires thought beyond the brief diversion. As far as language, I mean that the author considers the words used to tell the story as important as the story itself. The story doesn't just get across information like an e-mail does, but actually celebrates the beauty and significance of words.

I think the reason readers often have the tendency to associate "literary" with classics or older fiction is due to these two factors, especially where horror is concerned. While it's certainly not true across the board, there is some amount of the attitude in modern times that depth in a novel makes the story work instead of entertainment and that the language of a modern novel ought to be as simple and as close to everyday language as possible, a sentiment that was frequently not the norm in the past. Then, everyday language was considered something for oral folktales or educational books, whereas literature was meant to touch the reader not only through the story, but through the beauty of the language as well. Also, though again this is not necessarily the case, many modern readers associate the word "horror" with violence, gore or the intent only to scare the reader and so believe a horror novel can't have the depth or substance generally attributed to literary fiction.

I do believe there are still literary horror novels being written, although, as Mr. Dunbar mentioned, these do seem to be fewer and farther between.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 31, 2012 8:30:51 PM PST
Krisi,
That is very well put and thought out. One of my favorite short stories, A Good Man is Hard to Find, by Flannery O'Connor certainly has horrific elements as well as literary. Marc also gave some examples. I guess a piece that is "genre" does little more than entertain. But I think the line between "commercial" fiction and "literary" is starting to blur. As Marc said shouldn't literary fiction be commercial?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 31, 2012 8:31:26 PM PST
Horror is the genre. Literay is the style. Understand?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 31, 2012 8:45:55 PM PST
Marc Iverson says:
I posted something along these lines on AbsoluteWrite a little while ago that some might find an interesting way to address the question. "What makes a poem good?" is the thread title, but there's enough overlap to keep it on point with this thread's concerns:

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6798585&postcount=27

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 2, 2012 4:28:54 PM PST
Steven, I don't think I'm familiar with Oliver or Roden. Quite like Langan's and Evenson's work. Barron is amazing. What can you tell us about the first two names? You recommend them?

Posted on Feb 2, 2012 7:26:08 PM PST
Early Peter Straub, I would consider Literary horror. Anything by Sheridan Le Fanu, just succulent. Early Clive Barker. Thomas Ligotti. Interview with the Vampire. Arthur Machen. When all else fails, go to Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker, and Poe. I love talking about this stuff.

Posted on Feb 7, 2012 10:59:42 AM PST
Ah, Ligotti! Wonderful!

Posted on Feb 10, 2012 12:10:52 PM PST
KinksRock says:
Of the novels I've read by Graham Masterton, I would consider one of them literary horror: Spirit

Posted on Feb 14, 2012 12:24:46 AM PST
Pen Name says:
I consider Tom Piccirilli a literary horror writer, for another name you might try.

Posted on Feb 14, 2012 3:00:48 AM PST
Piccirilli is a fine example (especially A Choir of Ill Childrenand Clown in the Moonlight), as are titles by Gary Braunbeck (In Silent Graves), TM Wright (A Manhattan Ghost Story), Dennis Etchison (The Death Artist), Jack Cady (The Well, The Hauntings of Hood Canal) and those already mentioned by Robert Dunbar.

Posted on Feb 14, 2012 5:13:02 AM PST
Thanks for the recommendations, Willeford's Kid. I've heard nothing but good things regarding Piccirilli. I already love Etchison, but have only read some shorts by him. I am going to look into the others.

Posted on Feb 14, 2012 8:57:21 AM PST
Tom Pic's work is amazing. Same goes for Terry Wright. Braunbeck -- ditto. And I see lots of things here I haven't read yet. Has no one mentioned Greg Gifune?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 21, 2012 9:57:07 AM PST
Charlene, thanks for the intro btw. Does it count as spamming, if someone outs you as an author? Hope not.
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Discussion in:  Horror forum
Participants:  28
Total posts:  152
Initial post:  Jan 28, 2012
Latest post:  Mar 27, 2012

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