Horror and the Holy : Wisdom-Teachings of the Monster Tale / Edition 1

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Overview

Throughout history, human beings have been strangely fascinated by the monstrous and the macabre. In Horror and the Holy, a study of the classic horror story, Kirk Schneider explains the compelling power of such tales as a result of our thirst for the sacred, and identifies elements of the holy in familiar bloodcurdling yarns.

True horror arises when the mundane becomes unexpected and when the contained breaks free of its confining chains to become unlimited. Anything boundless tends to become terrifying, argues Schneider. It is infinitude which draws us to the unsavory, infinitude that lurks behind dread. Sheer bliss, paradise, or Nirvana therefore always has the potential to turn into horror, as limits fall away and the boundless expanses of infinity open up. While ecstasy is a glimpse of the infinite, terror is full disclosure.

Drawing upon a detailed and telling analysis of eleven well-known horror stories, Dr. Schneider finds that a spiritual understanding of life can be attained through horror. Classic horror steers a middle path between fanaticism and despair: the path of wonderment. Horror teaches us that the human personality is paradoxical, that revulsion and disgust are the obverse of excitement and freedom, and that both poles are vital to individual, social, and ecological well-being.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812692259
  • Publisher: Ingram Book Company
  • Publication date: 1/28/1993
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 150
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 8.76 (h) x 0.49 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction - Ecstasy, Terror, and Infinity 1
I The Structure of Horror: Chaos and Obliteration 5
Freudian and Jungian Perspectives 9
II Wisdom-Horror: Dracula and Frankenstein 13
Dracula: A Study in Hyperconstriction 17
Frankenstein: A Study in Hyperexpansion 33
III Further Inquiries into Wisdom-Horror 43
Further Studies in Hyperconstriction 45
The Phantom of the Opera 45
"The Fall of the House of Usher" 50
The Invisible Man 55
The Incredible Shrinking Man 58
Further Studies in Hyperexpansion 65
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 65
The Birds 70
Forbidden Planet 77
Studies in Bipolar Horror 85
Vertigo 85
Alien 93
IV Horror as a Worldview 99
Between Fanaticism and Despair: Toward a Worldview of Wonderment 101
Wonderment in Psychology 103
Wonderment in Science 115
Wonderment in Religion 121
Epilogue: A Comment on Evil 129
Notes 133
Bibliography 139
Filmography 143
Index 147
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