Introduction: Horror the Soul of the Plot

  • Brian Docherty
Part of the Insights book series


Horror fiction, like detective and crime fiction, did not originate in America, but both genres were taken up early and with enthusiasm by both authors and readers. The name of Edgar Allan Poe, of course, is pre-eminent in both, although he was not the first American writer of horror. That distinction should probably go to the Puritan divine Michael Wigglesworth, whose long poem The Day of Doom (1662) achieved great popularity in Massachusetts as a warning to the elect of the consequences of religious backsliding. Nowadays, this turgid Calvinist doggerel probably has little to say to most people, since the theology is as unappealing as the verse.


Detective Fiction Crime Fiction Petit Bourgeoisie Pantomime Actor Populist Rhetoric 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Rosemary Jackson, Fantasy: The Literature of Subversion (London: Methuen, 1981);CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. David Punter, The Literature of Terror: A History of Gothic Fictions from 1765 to the Present Day (London: Longman, 1980).Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    Peter Humm, ‘Camera Eye/Private Eye’, in Brian Docherty (ed.), American Crime Fiction: Studies in the Genre (London: Macmillan, 1988) pp. 28–30.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian Docherty

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations