Fred Botting
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Horror now and then
in Limits of horror
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Gothic preserves the illusion of darkness death, and sexuality in a world given over to the omnipresence of virtual light and life on screens. Where do simulations begin or end? Does horror or abjection counter their thrust or feed the cool machine with a fleeting bite? Ascriptions of ‘Gothic horror’ attempt to register repulsion at the enormity and excess of their act: its horror lies beyond reality or hyperreality even as it is rendered almost palatable in fictional and generic terms. To simulate vampirism is undertaken with the aim of breaking through sanitised screens of hyperreality, of finding something real in blood and horror. Violence, horror and abjection, in being rendered figures of excess, are opposed to or cast out of hyperreality only to the extent that their excision gives simulations some bite. Ghosts and spectres kept on returning in Gothic romances, popular dramas and spectacular entertainments. In his account of the discursive formation of modernity, Michel Foucault comments upon the function of monsters in processes of biological classification.

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Limits of horror

Technology, bodies, Gothic


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