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Discussions & Debates > 10 of the Top Female Horror Writers: From Gore to Gothic

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message 1: by Gary (new)

Gary | 1471 comments Not always, but for the most part, Horror as a genre fits under what I'd call Fantasy. More often than not, horror focuses on some magical/supernatural element that falls under the broader category of Fantasy.

I've only read a handful of these (the top 2 in particular) so it makes for an interesting reading list:

message 2: by Megan (new)

Megan (candystripe_legs) | 7 comments I read three of them (Jackson, Shelley and Rice). Which is kind of terrible because I do like horror novels.

Thanks for the list! I'm definitely checking out The House Next Door. I only read one southern gothic a year or two ago, Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Cherie Priest, but from what I understand it was inverted a lot of tropes in the genre, so I need to read more to understand that.

message 3: by Yoly (new)

Yoly (macaruchi) | 794 comments Nice list. I've had Interview with a Vampire and The Haunting of Hill House (among other Shirley Jackson's stories) on my to-read for a while.

I've always liked horror movies, but I think I've only read three horror books: Carrie, The Amityville Horror and Frankenstein. Is Dracula considered horror as well? If it is that should be four.

I don't think we have too many horror stories on the group's bookshelf, I'll add these to our list.

message 4: by Gary (new)

Gary | 1471 comments I'd include Dracula as horror. I'm not so sure about certain modern vampire products, though....

message 5: by Robin (new)

Robin | 8 comments I've only heard of two of the books on the list. I'm currently reading Frankenstein for my lit class. Of course I've heard about Interview with the Vampire not to sound stupid, but what's the difference between southern gothic as opposed to normal gothic? Is it just the location the story is set in?

message 6: by Yoly (new)

Yoly (macaruchi) | 794 comments Well, according to the interwebs...

Southern Gothic is a subgenre of Gothic fiction unique to American literature that takes place exclusively in the American South.

Common themes in Southern Gothic literature include deeply flawed, disturbing or eccentric characters who may or may not dabble in hoodoo, ambivalent gender roles and decayed or derelict settings, grotesque situations, and other sinister events relating to or coming from poverty, alienation, crime and violence.

Interesting how the American South has its "own thing".
No wonder Gillian Flynn's stories are set in the south, hehehe.

So when people say "the south" in this context does it include all the southern states, including those to the west or only those on the "south"?
Because according to Wikipedia there's three divisions:

The South Atlantic States: Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Delaware
The East South Central States: Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee
The West South Central States: Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.

I've always thought of the south as the ones in the South Atlantic states division.

message 7: by Robin (new)

Robin | 8 comments Cheers for the clarification.

message 8: by Gary (new)

Gary | 1471 comments I'm a history guy, so I've always thought "The South" as those states that seceded, so everything along a somewhat curvy line from Texas to Virginia. However, there are probably folks from the "border states" who might consider themselves Southerners.

I remember an Eng. Lit. class in which the prof. presented the premise that literature from The South was it's own genre, even its own character. The idea being that The South was a sort of omnipresent thing in a way that--in my geekdom--I'd compare to the Starship Enterprise or Serenity. It's presentation gives it a kind of anthropomorphic presence in whatever piece it is in.

Personally, I'm not entirely convinced by the argument and the evidence. At least, I don't know that The South looms larger as a setting when looked at across a range of pieces than does any other locality, cultural identity, or accent, and the classification is more affectation than actuality. The South does have distinct characteristics, of course, and in particular books/stories the emphasis could rise to the level of persona, but as a genre? I don't know....

Anne Rice's vampire series starting out in Louisiana, for instance, did give it a certain charm, but if it had been set in New England or Chicago or Seattle then one could have accomplished the same thing with largely superficial changes.

message 9: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) Gary wrote: "I'm a history guy, so I've always thought "The South" as those states that seceded, so everything along a somewhat curvy line from Texas to Virginia. However, there are probably folks from the "bor..."

I've been told that "Southern Gothic" is a recognized genre of literature, and as my informant has a doctorate in the subject, I would guess she's correct, unless I misunderstood what she said (interwebs not withstanding).

The difference about the "South" is the war, and I believe that leads to it having (maybe that should be past tense) it's own thing. The culture of the South was markedly different from "Yankee" culture, and had large parts of that culture forcibly expunged, something that no other part of the country has experienced. There are actually some interesting parallels (discussed by people who know this stuff much better than me) between Southern Gothic and post-WWII Japanese literature, and also (to a lesser degree) post-WWII Polish literature.

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