‘Visions of another Albion’
The Books of Blood and the horror of 1980s Britain
in Clive Barker
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The Books of Blood, first published in six volumes in 1984 and 1985, collectively added up to the most important work of British horror fiction of the 1980s. Formally and aesthetically, the Books of Blood were clear products of their time. The short-form horror fiction anthology was enduringly popular in postwar Britain, a familiar feature in bookstores and public libraries, and increasingly so on television from the mid-1960s. For Clive Barker, the severed hands were doubly political, signifying both disenfranchised post-industrial youth and the decolonised subjects of the former British Empire. The riotous body politic was a recurring image throughout the Books of Blood . One might say that it was the collection's controlling metaphor, and certainly a central tenet of 'body horror' movement with which Barker was closely associated.

Clive Barker

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