Toward an Acoustics of Literary Horror
In this chapter, Foley explores the soundscapes of horror literature, from the Gothic Romance to modern and contemporary fictions. In so doing, he argues that representations of the voice are central to the sound worlds of literary horror. His argument considers stagings of the “presymbolic” or excessive voice across key passages from Radcliffe’s The Italian (1797), Maturin’s Melmoth the Wanderer (1820), Bloch’s Psycho (1959), Blatty’s The Exorcist (1971) and Danielewski’s House of Leaves (2000). Alongside film adaptations of Psycho (1960) and The Exorcist (1973), Foley also considers the intermedia appropriation of Süskind’s Perfume (1985) in Nirvana’s “Scentless Apprentice” (1993) and suggests the continuing importance of horror podcasting to the aesthetics of sonic horror through a reading of “The Black Tapes” (2015–present).
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