Bloomsbury Collections - Topic In Focus


Haunted Literature

The literary realm is filled with frightful icons—from the gothic ghosts of the Victorian era, to the nightmarish (some say merely misunderstood) Frankenstein’s monster, to the sinister lord of evil himself: Count Dracula. This month, Bloomsbury Collections invites readers into the spookier corners of its Literary Studies library with free-to-read content from eBooks analyzing classic and contemporary horror fiction.

With more than 3,000 Literary Studies titles, Bloomsbury Collections supports students and researchers in the disciplines of writing, culture, and literary theory.

Scroll down to meet the denizens of Bloomsbury’s haunted literary landscape—if you dare!

Bram Stoker’s Dracula: A Reader’s Guide

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) gave readers a classic villain who has stalked innocents for over a century across literature, film, television, and more. Author and Gothic Studies professor William Hughes contributes to Bloomsbury Academic’s collection of reader guides with a text that helps students and researchers examine Dracula in historical, intellectual, and cultural contexts.

In this sample chapter, Hughes takes readers on a tour of Dracula’s various adaptations, from early stage productions, to Bela Lugosi’s iconic portrayal on the silver screen, to Dracula’s literary descendants, including Anne Rice’s vampire Lestat.

Click here to explore Bram Stoker’s Dracula: A Reader’s Guide.

Classic Horror: A Historical Exploration of Literature

Horror literature holds up a dark mirror to society, using monsters to illustrate social change, cultural shifts, and even scientific progress. In Classic Horror: A Historical Exploration of Literature, author and English professor Anne DeLong explores four works of classic horror from the Victorian era—including Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798) and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818)—with background information, primary source documents, and analysis.

This sample chapter presents Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886), analyzed within its original context of late 19th century England, where the conflict between a refined upper class society and a decaying, violent underclass was symbolized by Jekyll/Hyde’s dueling personalities.

Click here to explore Classic Horror: A Historical Exploration of Literature.

Frankenstein and Its Classics: The Modern Prometheus from Antiquity to Science Fiction

Few fictional monsters are as enduring as the creature in Mary Shelley’s master work Frankenstein (1818). More than a lumbering menace, Shelley’s modern Prometheus is drawn from ancient Greek and Roman literature, history, philosophy, and myth. This scholarly collection brings together analyses that give close examination to scenes, sources, and adaptations of what many scholars have deemed literature’s first true science fiction novel.

In the book’s introduction, the editors address the history and impact of Frankenstein 200 years after its original publication.

Click here to explore Frankenstein and Its Classics: The Modern Prometheus from Antiquity to Science Fiction.

Horror Fiction in the 20th Century

Horror fiction grew in popularity during the 1800s, but its reach extended greatly during the next century, becoming a popular genre for paperbacks, hardcover novels, comics, and pulp magazines. In Horror Fiction in the 20th Century, author Jess Nevins guides readers through horror’s evolution with historical overviews and detailed critical analyses of works from gothic Victorian ghost stories to contemporary tales of the supernatural around the world.

Nevins turns his attention to the American pulp publication Weird Tales and its central author H.P. Lovecraft in this chapter about horror in the 1920s and 30s.

Click here to explore Horror Fiction in the 20th Century.

Poe and the Subversion of American Literature: Satire, Fantasy, Critique

While Edgar Allen Poe is best known for bringing his readers’ nightmares to life, the author was also a gifted satirist who enjoyed poking fun at the national discourse he observed in the U.S. Author Robert T. Tally Jr. examines Poe’s work through the lens of social commentary in his book Poe and the Subversion of American Literature: Satire, Fantasy, Critique, bringing his otherworldly tales into the real context of the mid-nineteenth century.

In this chapter, Tally Jr. discusses the literary devices Poe used to captivate his readers, taking them away from the world of proper literature and into the realm of the perverse.

Click here to explore Poe and the Subversion of American Literature: Satire, Fantasy, Critique.

Theology, Horror and Fiction: A Reading of the Gothic Nineteenth Century

The landscape of Victorian gothic literature is populated with mournful spirits, living nightmares, and the occasional lurking monster; but in his book Theology, Horror and Fiction: A Reading of Gothic Nineteenth Century, author and scholar Jonathan Greenaway reveals the religious and theological scaffolding within the genre. From the castle of a mysterious Transylvanian nobleman, to a dim corner of Dorian Gray’s attic, to a windswept moor where Heathcliff pines for his lost Catherine, Greenaway reveals the role of religious ideology in the twists and turns of gothic novels.

Read Greenaway’s introduction, in which the author offers a taste of how gothic narratives bring together the supernatural and the divine.

Click here to explore Theology, Horror and Fiction: A Reading of the Gothic Nineteenth Century.

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