‘It’s Alive!’ New Materialism and Literary Horror

Susan Yi Sencindiver

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


Pivoting on the primacy of matter as an underexplored question, both new materialist thought and literary Horror’s predilection for probing materialities in lurid detail provide ample purchase for rethinking the matter of matter, and their convergence may open new refreshing lines of inquiry in Horror criticism. Drawing on new materialism to explore the matter in and of primarily nineteenth-century literary Horror, this study, on the one hand, addresses the ways in which the sensuous dimensions and visceral immediacy of literary language may elicit the affective sensibilities of horror, and on the other hand, how Horror subtly challenges an anthropocentric purview instrumentalizing and in command of its manipulable inert objects. It does so, I claim, by accommodating the agentic thrust of nonhuman materialities in sculpting the events of the narrative, that is, by affirming the material agency of the body and natural environment, featuring a self-organizing life and impetus of their own.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook to Horror Literature
EditorsKevin Corstorphine, Laura Kremmel
Number of pages15
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publication date2018
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-97405-7
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-97406-4
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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