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Men, Women, and Landscape in American Horror Fiction

  • Dara Downey
Chapter

Abstract

Downey traces resonant images that connect Sarah Orne Jewett’s “The Queen’s Twin” (1899) to Stephen King’s shorter fiction and Wharton’s “Bewitched” (1925) to Peter Straub’s Ghost Story (1979). What unites these texts is the repeated evocation of feminine supernatural forces associated with and opposed to the landscape in complex ways. This chapter argues that narratives in which a male character is menaced by both a howling wilderness and the stifling attentions of a potentially murderous woman are essential building blocks for American horror texts. It explores the complexities of the triangulated relationship between men, women, and landscape, in light of the masculinist stereotypes associated with the “myth” of the American Frontier. Downey argues that such narratives veer uncomfortably close to celebrating misogynistic violence.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dara Downey
    • 1
  1. 1.School of EnglishTrinity College DublinDublinIreland

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