Wednesday 17 August 2011

killing the alien

Mrs. Radcliffe sought to tame the wild Gothic, tether it to reason and human nature. Leaving a back door for the restitution of strangeness and transgression depending on your paradigm of reason, human nature and reality.

Messers Burton & Gaiman have, cumulatively (they both have individual works or sequences that do not do this; the pop-cultural end-result is what I am getting at here) done much more damage to the power of such imagery to evoke the dark and numinous than Radcliffe or Reeve ever did. Through them, the trappings of Gothic are no longer barbaric, menacing or strange; Death is just a pale girl in black who knows all about you and loves you.

The work of transforming the Gothic into the psychological novel, the novel of manners, the detective novel and the science fiction novel was creative. The work of transforming the dark and alien into the safe, familiar and domestic is far more pernicious; instead of true disruption we are led to a universe where everything mirrors everything else.

1 comment:

Trollkien said...

Too true. Horror defanged is no horror at all. Though Gaiman manages a few saves because he's an above average writer, his imitators and the many writers he endorses (like that horrendous GN you linked me to yesterday), are so terrible; I actually prefer the crude idiot horror of a James Herbert or Shaun Hutson to one of these twee vampires are huggable and ghosts are our friends nonsense.