Kevin Corstorphine
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‘Marks of weakness, marks of woe’
The Books of Blood and the transformation of the weird
in Clive Barker
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This chapter argues the importance of seeing Books of Blood in a broader context of horror and 'weird' fiction. It then re-evaluate its meaning in the light of recent developments in fiction, with a focus on China Mièville's 2010 novel Kraken. Clive Barker's work is influenced as much by visual art as it is literature. The chapter considers William Blake's painting The Ghost of a Flea. Blake is one of Barker's great influences, and the way in which Blake sees the world in many ways prefigures Barker's own visionary consciousness. Although Blake acknowledges the literary Gothic, Barker's background is grounded in the theatre, and again the influence of the French avant-garde shows itself in his love of the Parisian Grand Guignol of the early twentieth century. Like Blake's Ghost of a Flea, Barker's use of horror is a starting point for an imaginative journey.

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Clive Barker

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