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Haunted: On Ghosts, Witches, Vampires, Zombies, and Other Monsters of the Natural and Supernatural Worlds

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An award-winning scholar and author charts four hundred years of monsters and how they reflect the culture that created them Leo Braudy, a finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, has won accolades for revealing the complex and constantly shifting history behind seemingly unchanging ideas of fame, war, and masculinity.   Continu An award-winning scholar and author charts four hundred years of monsters and how they reflect the culture that created them Leo Braudy, a finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, has won accolades for revealing the complex and constantly shifting history behind seemingly unchanging ideas of fame, war, and masculinity.   Continuing his interest in the history of emotion, this book explores how fear has been shaped into images of monsters and monstrosity. From the Protestant Reformation to contemporary horror films and fiction, he explores four major types: the monster from nature (King Kong), the created monster (Frankenstein), the monster from within (Mr. Hyde), and the monster from the past (Dracula). Drawing upon deep historical and literary research, Braudy discusses the lasting presence of fearful imaginings in an age of scientific progress, viewing the detective genre as a rational riposte to the irrational world of the monstrous. Haunted is a compelling and incisive work by a writer at the height of his powers.


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An award-winning scholar and author charts four hundred years of monsters and how they reflect the culture that created them Leo Braudy, a finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, has won accolades for revealing the complex and constantly shifting history behind seemingly unchanging ideas of fame, war, and masculinity.   Continu An award-winning scholar and author charts four hundred years of monsters and how they reflect the culture that created them Leo Braudy, a finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, has won accolades for revealing the complex and constantly shifting history behind seemingly unchanging ideas of fame, war, and masculinity.   Continuing his interest in the history of emotion, this book explores how fear has been shaped into images of monsters and monstrosity. From the Protestant Reformation to contemporary horror films and fiction, he explores four major types: the monster from nature (King Kong), the created monster (Frankenstein), the monster from within (Mr. Hyde), and the monster from the past (Dracula). Drawing upon deep historical and literary research, Braudy discusses the lasting presence of fearful imaginings in an age of scientific progress, viewing the detective genre as a rational riposte to the irrational world of the monstrous. Haunted is a compelling and incisive work by a writer at the height of his powers.

30 review for Haunted: On Ghosts, Witches, Vampires, Zombies, and Other Monsters of the Natural and Supernatural Worlds

  1. 4 out of 5

    Cait Poytress

    I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. When I read non-fiction, it usually tends to be by authors like Mary Roach, Deborah Blum, or Jon Krakauer. I guess I gravitate toward a more narrative, conversational, or pop science type of NF. I love learning new things, but at the same time I have that all too human need to be entertaaaaained. You know, teach me but don't make it so obvious that that's what you're doing. Especially when I've just spent the past 3 ye I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. When I read non-fiction, it usually tends to be by authors like Mary Roach, Deborah Blum, or Jon Krakauer. I guess I gravitate toward a more narrative, conversational, or pop science type of NF. I love learning new things, but at the same time I have that all too human need to be entertaaaaained. You know, teach me but don't make it so obvious that that's what you're doing. Especially when I've just spent the past 3 years of my life reading nothing but textbooks. So what the hell was I doing requesting this book from net galley? The title is what really caught my attention, but at the same time I knew that this book would be much more academic than my usual NF fare. How compelling could it really be? Turns out, VERY. History, theology, philosophy, art, literature, mythology, film, music, language, anthropology, psychology, science (seriously, I could go on) - they are all studied in depth here as they relate to the horror genre and its ghosts, monsters, ghouls, and various other entities that go bump in the night. Meticulously researched and cohesively structured, Haunted is an historical treasure trove of information that, while somewhat dry in parts, consistently fascinated me and kept me turning pages as if I were reading a novel. I especially loved the chapter on the created monster and the in depth analysis and discussion of Shelley's Frankenstein. I want to reread it, as well as The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde with the new perspective and insight gained from this book. I also have a ton of books I'm now dying to read for the first time, from The Castle of Otranto to The Monk to Carmilla to 'Salem's Lot. I would love to get a paper copy of this book when it comes out to use as a supplement for all of my creepy reading and tv/film viewing. Bottom line: an intellectual and entertaining study of the horror genre that is well worth the read.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kathrin

    I received a free copy via NetGalley. Whenever someone asks me what kind of books I want to read more my answer will be non-fictional books. But every time I try to get my hands on something that will keep me interested I'm not that lucky with my choice. For the longest time, I believed that maybe I'm not made for them. However, every once in a while I come across a book like 'Haunted' and fall in love with it. The synopsis promised a review of the past culture that shaped a lot of those monster I received a free copy via NetGalley. Whenever someone asks me what kind of books I want to read more my answer will be non-fictional books. But every time I try to get my hands on something that will keep me interested I'm not that lucky with my choice. For the longest time, I believed that maybe I'm not made for them. However, every once in a while I come across a book like 'Haunted' and fall in love with it. The synopsis promised a review of the past culture that shaped a lot of those monsters we know now from TV, movies, and literature. The author did a great job to intertwine historical developments with works of literature (and later cinema). I'm a huge fan of horror stories and classical monsters as some of the most intriguing ideas are rooted in earlier societies and their beliefs. The book is written in a clear and easy-to-understand language although some parts were a little stiff but I didn't mind much. I also discovered a whole new set of books I haven't read yet and I look forward to reading them. However, here lies the reason why I settled for four stars instead of 5. As I didn't know all of the discussed books some of the ending as well as the plot twists were spoiled. I guess most of the stories are well-known which is why many people won't be surprised but this was not the case for me. In the end, I'm really happy that I discovered the book and I hope to read more by the author in the future. I recommend it to those who are a fan of classical literature as well as the horror genre in general.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Killian

    This is truly one of those "it's not you, it's me" cases. The description of this book is SO interesting, right?! Exploring how human fears have created various monsters through the centuries, and explaining why those fears and monsters still exist today. Freaking fascinating stuff. But I am not as smart as this book is. Not by a long shot. Nor am I at all, in the slightest interested in philosophy to the depth that is presented here, especially the religious sort. And there is a lot more religi This is truly one of those "it's not you, it's me" cases. The description of this book is SO interesting, right?! Exploring how human fears have created various monsters through the centuries, and explaining why those fears and monsters still exist today. Freaking fascinating stuff. But I am not as smart as this book is. Not by a long shot. Nor am I at all, in the slightest interested in philosophy to the depth that is presented here, especially the religious sort. And there is a lot more religious philosophy here than was advertised. Had I known that before hand, I would never have requested this book. It bores me to the point that I had to be careful about when I tried to read this book. Directly after drinking a cup of coffee was best so I could stay awake. All that isn't to say that this isn't a worthwhile book, and that's why I'm giving it 3 stars, even though I couldn't finish the damn thing (I kept trying to read the Frankenstein chapter for a week before finally throwing in the towel). This book is SO well researched! And the author gives tons of details and facts to back up every point he makes, even coming at it from various angles just to make his evidence clearer. Just judging it by that metric, it's a 5 star book all day. But for me, I just can't do it. I'm a dirty pleb who needs her non-fiction written in a more journalistic style, and I fully own that. Yale Press comes out with so many amazingly interesting titles, I'm just sad that this one wasn't at all meant for me. If you are interested in deep philosophical discussions drawing from all kinds of sources, and making links that were previously unexplored, you will LOVE this book. Seriously. However, if you quickly bore of that kind of thing because you see the world in black and white terms which makes it hard to care about shades of gray... Maybe not so much. Copy courtesy of Yale University Press, via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ingrid

    This book reads like when you write a 2 page paper and realize that it has to be 10 pages, so you just restate your argument five more times to fill space.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bill Wallace

    An academic investigation of the persistent monsters in, mostly, American culture. Much of it applies to British culture too, but I'm not sure proper attention was paid to other countries' contributions to the forms and themes. I like this book best when it sticks with historical data and least when it stretches out its interpretive tentacles in speculation. The discussion, a recurrent theme really, about the conflicts of faith -- Catholic vs. Protestant vs. Humanist, etc. -- are quite interesti An academic investigation of the persistent monsters in, mostly, American culture. Much of it applies to British culture too, but I'm not sure proper attention was paid to other countries' contributions to the forms and themes. I like this book best when it sticks with historical data and least when it stretches out its interpretive tentacles in speculation. The discussion, a recurrent theme really, about the conflicts of faith -- Catholic vs. Protestant vs. Humanist, etc. -- are quite interesting and the author makes an excellent case for the clash of doctrines and world views still influencing our ideas of what a ghost or a witch is, and what they mean in a social or cultural context. Likewise, the discussion of emergent ideas about the mind and the doppleganger or Dr. J and Mr. H, while not especially original, are fascinating, especially when contemporary texts and sources are cited. I didn't like the chapter on detectives, mostly because it felt grafted Frankenstein-like into the contents, and I didn't much like the concluding chapter, critiques of modernish film horrors that other writers have done better, but on the whole, this volume is a very worthwhile contribution to the quest for what horror means, both as a genre and as part of the "folk culture" of our society.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Todd Stockslager

    Review title: Vampires, mummies, and the Holy Ghost Jimmy Buffet, in one of his lesser known songs, lists these three phenomenon as "the things that terrify me the most." In this academic study of monsters in history, religion, literature, and movies, Leo Braudy includes them among several others in his monstrous taxonomy: monsters of nature (King Kong), created monsters (Frankenstein's creature), the monster within (Dr. Hyde), and the monster from history (Dracula). He also devotes large section Review title: Vampires, mummies, and the Holy Ghost Jimmy Buffet, in one of his lesser known songs, lists these three phenomenon as "the things that terrify me the most." In this academic study of monsters in history, religion, literature, and movies, Leo Braudy includes them among several others in his monstrous taxonomy: monsters of nature (King Kong), created monsters (Frankenstein's creature), the monster within (Dr. Hyde), and the monster from history (Dracula). He also devotes large sections of his argument to religion as a source and competitor to horror, and to detective fiction as a comparison and contrast to horror. Therein lies the key distraction that kept me from rating Haunted higher. Braudy could have gone one of two directions with this. If the title had indicated that this book was an academic exercise in literary criticism to develop a theoretical construct to serve as the basis for a follow up book focused on the four categories of monster and identifying the key characteristics of each with the many examples of each from books and movies, he would have gotten probably fewer readers in the first instance and one or two additional stars in the second. And the fewer readers of the first book, myself included because I would still be interested in that book, would have given it a more positive review because they understood the premise going in. One clue to Braudy's own confusion on his intent in Haunted is his introduction of topics with frequent references that the topic will be more fully developed in later chapters. When I see this pattern, it is usually a clue to me that the author is unsure of the true organization of his topic which is reflected in a less optimal sequence of the material leading to those isolated statements and cross references. Another organization issue is that despite the early introduction of the matrix of the four categories, the chapter structure doesn't follow the matrix, so that the reader can lose the thread of the matrix amongst the additional material on religion and detective plots. Even with these caveats, the topic is a fascinating one, especially as Braudy develops the roots of horror stories in differing patterns of language, culture, and religion. The roots of language related to horror are especially interesting, for example the relationship between the words "grammar" (which was originally a synonym for the archaic word "gramarye" which meant occult), "glamour" (which originally meant enchantment), and "spell", with its double meaning of both the correct order of letters in a word and the verbal formula of a magician or witch (p. 91). Religion also, as Jimmy Buffet's song lyric hints, is a key element of horror, with its recognition of the supernatural, explanation of the possibility of life after death, and definitions of ritual to invoke the gods and otherworldly creatures that in our natural world appear as monsters. Consider, for example the similarities between a 19th century spiritist Seance and a 20th century Pentacostal church service. Braudy spends some time discussing Arthur Conan Doyle, who both created the super-rational detective Sherlock Holmes and was a committed believer in the truth of spiritism, as a link between the realms of religion and horror, and Edgar Alan Poe, who wrote both gothic horror and some of the earliest detective stories, as a link between reason and horror. So Haunted is a worthy book, just not as well presented or argued as it might have been. I still think I would like better the followup volume where Braudy focuses on applying his taxonomy across the literature and movies of the last 150 years. Mr. Braudy, if you haven't already moved on to another topic, there's an idea for your next project.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin

    What lies behind or within the old stories, the stories of slanted shadows and creatures unknown but experienced? Braudy takes you along an evolutionary path to show how monsters from nature are like King Kong, monsters from what humans manufacture are like Frankenstein, monsters from within ourselves are like Mr. Hyde, and monsters from the past are like Dracula. This is the working formula. The rest comes down to storytelling, which to evoke the sensation of being haunted, is about weaving tog What lies behind or within the old stories, the stories of slanted shadows and creatures unknown but experienced? Braudy takes you along an evolutionary path to show how monsters from nature are like King Kong, monsters from what humans manufacture are like Frankenstein, monsters from within ourselves are like Mr. Hyde, and monsters from the past are like Dracula. This is the working formula. The rest comes down to storytelling, which to evoke the sensation of being haunted, is about weaving together the cultural terrors that fill your culture. Then you'll see the semblance of the categories above or categories from other old horrors. Braudy focused on the Reformation and Counter-Reformation era as a catalyst for horror stories we've inherited today in the West. The clash of religious cultures and ideals was mixed with the sensation of the known world being torn apart. Insecurity swelled in the hearts and nothing seemed predictable anymore. A situation like that is the playground for fear. Braudy shared John Damascene's list of six varieties of fear, which provide nuance in the fears we feel. His list is: shrinking (fear of something about to happen), shame (fear aroused by anticipation of blame), disgrace (fear arising from a "base act" already committed), anxiety (fear of failing or misfortune), consternation (amazement or dismay that hinders or throws into confusion) and panic. The first four are fears generated by reality, while consternation and panic are products of the imagination. (p.28) The thesis of Braudy's book is that we interpret the fear we feel with the cultural lenses we've inherited. We're nurtured by our societies to name the evils as we've learned to name them. The stories are about such naming. Yet there are at least two types of interactions with horror stories. One type focuses on explaining a horror or potential horror by, in my interpretation, consciously observing the times, subconsciously experiencing one of John Damascene's fears, and then consciously telling a fear-based story that hopes to share of the past's emotion by telling a story that is more than the facts, but elicits similar emotion to the first experience. These stories could have moral goals, as in: don't do what we tried to do. Another type of interaction is a warrior stance where the participant in the story adventures into the darkness of the story, into the heart of terror, with the hope of coming out victorious. The warrior journeys through the terror and remains alive. This is what's happening in those who love horror movies and fright houses--they're battling the terrors that can be shown them, coming close to the sensation of death itself, all to come out alive on the other side.

  8. 5 out of 5

    DW

    This book is composed of eight chapters. The first four about the religious history of horror are fascinating and seem to be well-researched aside from one error and a couple of odd irrelevant comments about modern culture. But then we get to the fifth chapter about detective fiction. It starts off relevant enough but then wanders so far afield that I thought Braudy had pinched a chapter from Pistols and Petticoats: 175 Years of Lady Detectives in Fact and Fiction. After that he discusses dualis This book is composed of eight chapters. The first four about the religious history of horror are fascinating and seem to be well-researched aside from one error and a couple of odd irrelevant comments about modern culture. But then we get to the fifth chapter about detective fiction. It starts off relevant enough but then wanders so far afield that I thought Braudy had pinched a chapter from Pistols and Petticoats: 175 Years of Lady Detectives in Fact and Fiction. After that he discusses dualism in Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, vampires, and then the impact of the movies, but these chapters feel glossed over and lacking in detail, are often repetitive, and don't seem all that well-researched. One notable example of this problem is that he mentions in passing the modern spate of movies that involve body switching such as Big, Freaky Friday and Vice Versa, but apparently Braudy did not know that Vice Versa is based on a book originally published in 1882. Maybe if he had known, he might have elaborated on this concept in the chapter about dualism. So, I found the early chapters interesting, the later chapters not so much, and overall it came across as unfocused, like it was a transcript of a very smart person spouting off about his favorite books and movies without any particular goal in mind. Unlike other reviewers I didn't find it particularly difficult to read or understand. I got a free copy from NetGalley.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sandy Schmidt

    I found it surprising to have Martin Luther mentioned on page 2 ("the monster was...for Catholics, the diabolical reforms of Martin Luther, John Calvin, and others"). It certainly changed my way of reading this book. The initial third of this book had its accent on religion and fear/hope and horror/good and evil. Braudy reminds us how myth and legend control or at least influence our responses in the real world. In the 17th century modern horror stories were based on real life fears, which were I found it surprising to have Martin Luther mentioned on page 2 ("the monster was...for Catholics, the diabolical reforms of Martin Luther, John Calvin, and others"). It certainly changed my way of reading this book. The initial third of this book had its accent on religion and fear/hope and horror/good and evil. Braudy reminds us how myth and legend control or at least influence our responses in the real world. In the 17th century modern horror stories were based on real life fears, which were many. When literacy and circulating libraries became more common, there was an increase in fiction. The book contains quite a bit of repetition but all in all, it is an amazing integration of religion, philosophy, psychology, natural science, technology, anthropology, myth, reality, art - both written and visual -to describe our fascination with the supernatural world.

  10. 4 out of 5

    K.R. Valgaeren

    As a dedicated student and writer of horror and the gothic, I have collected and read a legion of books on the subject through the years, most of them being literary histories or collections of essays on the subject. This book, however, is the first that not only attempts, but also succeeds in explaining why we keep writing and reading these stories on a massive scale. The author's theories were real eye openers for me. Gaps in my knowledge were filled by the author looking in beyond literary an As a dedicated student and writer of horror and the gothic, I have collected and read a legion of books on the subject through the years, most of them being literary histories or collections of essays on the subject. This book, however, is the first that not only attempts, but also succeeds in explaining why we keep writing and reading these stories on a massive scale. The author's theories were real eye openers for me. Gaps in my knowledge were filled by the author looking in beyond literary analysis, and dissecting the essence of the monster also in psychological, sociological, historical and philosophical ways. What he did was simply genious!

  11. 5 out of 5

    William Reichard

    This is a wonderful look at the ways in which our society takes those it cannot control, understand, or kill, and turns them into the monsters that inhabit our films, novels, and dreams. My only complaint is that the critique the book offers is a bit repetitive. The author references a handful of works throughout the book, even though there are ample other sources he could use in his analysis. For me, this limits the scope of the book. The title promises something bigger than the text delivers. This is a wonderful look at the ways in which our society takes those it cannot control, understand, or kill, and turns them into the monsters that inhabit our films, novels, and dreams. My only complaint is that the critique the book offers is a bit repetitive. The author references a handful of works throughout the book, even though there are ample other sources he could use in his analysis. For me, this limits the scope of the book. The title promises something bigger than the text delivers. There are also a few factual errors in the text, most regarding plot points in a small number of U.S. horror films.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dolly

    While this book did show me that I am terribly negligent in my grasp of horror readings and more modern horror movies, I thought the book was a bit repetitive. Four categories of monsters, detective psychology, a little background insights- all good but I feel those topics just went round and round through the book with little new presented after about the middle of the book. Still, what was offered was good stuff.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I love fantasy novels so I thought this non-fiction book would be a good fit for me. Unfortunately, I was not really that interested in the religious background of the various monsters which the author puts rather a lot of emphasis on. This is really just a question of taste and interest and I will probably use "Haunted" in some of my upcoming term papers because it gives an in-depth analysis of some of the most common and popular monsters portrayed in literature. I love fantasy novels so I thought this non-fiction book would be a good fit for me. Unfortunately, I was not really that interested in the religious background of the various monsters which the author puts rather a lot of emphasis on. This is really just a question of taste and interest and I will probably use "Haunted" in some of my upcoming term papers because it gives an in-depth analysis of some of the most common and popular monsters portrayed in literature.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    This book looks at supernatural creatures in literature, and how their portrayal changes based on historical circumstances. The author looks at the period from the Reformation through the present, and shows how different themes in literature resonated with changes in history. Although the author has clearly done a lot of research, the book is very readable, even for a non-expert.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mai Khanh

    initially, i wanted to give it a 4 cos the chapter about Jekyll and Hyde fell short of my expectations, and it was the one i had been looking forward to the most. but on second thoughts, it wasn't bad. i just happened to read into such matter a long time. this book is well written, throughout. it introduces some very interesting interpretations of old materials, interconnected between chapters. initially, i wanted to give it a 4 cos the chapter about Jekyll and Hyde fell short of my expectations, and it was the one i had been looking forward to the most. but on second thoughts, it wasn't bad. i just happened to read into such matter a long time. this book is well written, throughout. it introduces some very interesting interpretations of old materials, interconnected between chapters.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lavender

    While I can't account for it's writing style, as I kept getting distracted and could not focus (maybe it's just me as a reader), it's definitely an academic approach to analyzing the popular culture of horror, citing lots of examples to explain the trend While I can't account for it's writing style, as I kept getting distracted and could not focus (maybe it's just me as a reader), it's definitely an academic approach to analyzing the popular culture of horror, citing lots of examples to explain the trend

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I'll never think of horror the same way.... I'll never think of horror the same way....

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mark Puckering

    Remarkably tedious.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Way too erudite for the casual reader. Not badly written, just heavy.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kirsten

    I'll come back to this one -- it's just too dense to read in hardcopy right now, what with the toddler. I'll come back to this one -- it's just too dense to read in hardcopy right now, what with the toddler.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Vheissu

    Notwithstanding its sensational title, this is an academic work by a serious scholar and probably not intended for the general reader. For committed devotees of the genre, and especially for writers, this work is essential, illuminating the social, religious, and technological origins and significance of a literary tradition that, like many of its most memorable creatures, refuses to die. Braudy offers a useful distinction between horror and terror, the former being a physical reaction to manifes Notwithstanding its sensational title, this is an academic work by a serious scholar and probably not intended for the general reader. For committed devotees of the genre, and especially for writers, this work is essential, illuminating the social, religious, and technological origins and significance of a literary tradition that, like many of its most memorable creatures, refuses to die. Braudy offers a useful distinction between horror and terror, the former being a physical reaction to manifest danger and the latter a soul-rattling uncertainty about the nature of reality itself (pp. 28-30). He also convincingly argues that "the monster and the detective are opposite sides of the same coin" (p. 141). Braudy declares that detective stories seem "nearly dead as a form for traditional cinematic narrative" (p. 263), thanks partly to Kiss Me Deadly (1956) and Chinatown (1974), films that depicted gumshoes as essentially clueless and unable to bring the criminal to justice (p. 176). Monster movies, by contrast, continue both to reinvent characters while also preserving humankind's oldest and most frightening stories and myths. Braudy classifies monsters into four sometimes overlapping categories: (1) the natural monster, e.g., King Kong; (2) the created monster, e.g. Frankenstein's Creature; (3) the monster from within, e.g. Mr. Hyde; and (4) the monster from the past, e.g. Dracula (p. 26). The reader might quibble with the author's categories and his identification of specific stories within each, but his framework nevertheless provides a convenient structure with which to follow his detailed arguments. I thoroughly enjoyed Braudy's work, which makes me want to double down on the monster novels and films in my ever-growing library.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    Good ideas, interesting connects, but way, way too much. Could have been 100 pages shorter. The message tended to get lost in long tangents

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    This is an interesting book, but as with most academic-style studies, it is on the dry side. The subject itself (the nature of fear) is fascinating and it's obvious the author undertook a lot of research. There are some engrossing segments and interesting ideas presented, but it's a bit too philosophical for my tastes. And there is, understandably, a lot about religion and the development of "monsters" and fears. Really not for everyone, but for those with an interest in history, philosophy, rel This is an interesting book, but as with most academic-style studies, it is on the dry side. The subject itself (the nature of fear) is fascinating and it's obvious the author undertook a lot of research. There are some engrossing segments and interesting ideas presented, but it's a bit too philosophical for my tastes. And there is, understandably, a lot about religion and the development of "monsters" and fears. Really not for everyone, but for those with an interest in history, philosophy, religion and fear it's a good book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sara Laor

    This book is not as approachable as it may seem. It is difficult reading -- even if you are familiar with all the texts referenced. Very choppy, with lots of small ideas instead of taking you through the arc of one great idea.

  25. 4 out of 5

    George

    As others have written, this is not a book for the casual reader. Rather it is quite a weighty analysis of the philosophy, history, and psychology of horror genres. The analysis was too deep for me and I found the writing difficult to follow.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    A really excellent analysis of the gothic literary genre & some great insights into the surprisingly recent phenomenon of mass fear (as projected onto supernatural figures), I'm a little skeptical about his application of these insights to contemporary film, but overall definitely worth the read A really excellent analysis of the gothic literary genre & some great insights into the surprisingly recent phenomenon of mass fear (as projected onto supernatural figures), I'm a little skeptical about his application of these insights to contemporary film, but overall definitely worth the read

  27. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    A bit of a slog, but the author deftly synthesizes almost all societies' fascinations with horror of every type and its ties to culture, psychology and religion. A bit of a slog, but the author deftly synthesizes almost all societies' fascinations with horror of every type and its ties to culture, psychology and religion.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kayla

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    I sang under the impression that this book was so scholarly when I requested it. I've read my fair share of such things, but wasn't getting into this one. Perhaps it is good for those doing research, and those with more patience, I sang under the impression that this book was so scholarly when I requested it. I've read my fair share of such things, but wasn't getting into this one. Perhaps it is good for those doing research, and those with more patience,

  30. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

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