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'The Horror The Horror': Tracing Horror in Modernism from Conrad to Eliot

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Horror viewed as genre tends to connote a sense of being shocking, sensational, or pulpy. An area that tends to be critically neglected, however, is the presence of horror in literary Modernism. This chapter goes some way toward redressing this, taking the iconic final words of Conrad's Kurtz as a starting point, the chapter uses Modernism as frame to link the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in terms of the horror of the unknown. The focus on 'destruction, disenchantment, and fragmentation' that can be seen in the works of Yeats and Eliot is discuss in the context of their age. War poetry, too, tends not to be discussed in terms of horror, perhaps due to the uncomfortable awareness of its too-harsh reality. The poetry of Wilfred Owen, however, very explicitly uses horror imagery, and this paper addresses this directly in terms of poetic structure and Owen's intentions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook to Horror Literature
Number of pages9
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publication year2018
ISBN (print)978-3-319-97406-4
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-97406-4
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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