Contents
  Notes &
Permissions
  Preface & Acknowledg-
ments
1:
Introduction
2: Horror in Literature and the Literature of Horror
3: The Marvelous Horror Thriller
4:  The Fantastic/Uncanny Horror Thriller
5: The Aesthetics of the Horror Thriller: Stoker's Dracula
6: The Pure Fantastic Tale of Terror
7:  Anticlosure: Poe's "Ligeia"
8: The Entrapped Critic:
Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher"
9: The Master's Trap:
James's The Turn of the Screw 
10: Escape: An Aesthetics of Terror Fantasy
11: Terror and the Sublime
Sources
Index

 
Chapter Six

The Pure Fantastic Tale of Terror

 

     There are few examples of the pure fantastic tale of terror. I know of only three examples of the more complex of the two forms it takes. It is rare because it is so difficult to construct and it involves great risk; hence, four of the six tales to be discussed in this and subsequent chapters are by Edgar Allan Poe and Henry James, on whom critical tradition has conferred the title of master. In this chapter, we look at the simpler of the two forms.

     Tzvetan Todorov says that the pure fantastic work will sustain the hesitation of the implied reader (and perhaps of a character) between a natural and a supernatural interpretation of ambiguous events through the end of the reading experience. He names two examples of such tales, James's The Turn of the Screw and Prosper Mérimée's "La Vénus D'Ille" (43). When this hesitation remains unresolved, we may expect a disruption of closure similar to that in "The Tell-Tale Heart" and in Brown's novels, but this disruption will be more radical. In Poe's tale and in Brown's novels, the ambiguity that disturbs closure tends to make the real reader's relation to the work parallel to the character's relation to his or her experience. Because the character narrators exhibit this ambiguity, the implied reader receives contradictory instructions on how to complete the interpretation of the character, and the real reader finds it difficult to bring the reading to an end. The real reader's reading continues after the text ends and until some satisfactory resolution of the ambiguity is attained. In these works, the ambiguity is rather easily assimilated into a satisfactory view of the whole work, though it is troubling enough to irritate some readers. When, however, the ambiguity of the fantastic is introduced and when it is foregrounded in such a way as to make it the central issue of interpretation for the implied reader, closure is more radically challenged. A gap appears that grows in importance and remains rather than disappears at the end of the text.

     We are used to the gap in fiction. As Wolfgang Iser has argued in The Act of Reading, the gap is central to the experience of fiction. The text always underdetermines what it presents. For Iser as for Roman Ingarden, reading is a process of projecting wholes out of always insufficient parts and then revising these constructions as we take in more of the text until we arrive at a satisfactory view of the whole work. We are also used to gaps that remain pointedly unfilled and that, therefore, stimulate controversy. Critics still argue about William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily." Did Emily kill Homer? Why? Did she sleep with the body? Why? These questions may arise from apparent clumsiness in the author, as in Faulkner's Sanctuary, where improbably, all evidence of the presence of Gowan Stevens's car at the Old Frenchman's disappears. Such gaps may arise from deliberate reticence as may be the case with the problem of Stevens's car and that seems clearly to be the case when Faulkner offers no explanation of why Temple Drake appears in court to testify falsely that Lee Goodwin raped her. While such gaps stimulate controversy, they cause only minor disturbances of the reading process. Critical disagreements over these incidents are minor indeed in comparison to the volumes and volume [volumes] of critical debate over whether there really are ghosts in The Turn of the Screw. The pure fantastic tale of terror opens a radical gap in the reading experience, which must be filled if the reader is to concretize the tale, but which cannot be filled if the tale does not move either toward the marvelous or the uncanny.

     We will turn first, then, to three well-known and reasonably simple examples of the pure fantastic tale of terror: E. T. A. Hoffman's "The Sand-Man," Guy de Maupassant's "The Horla," and Edgar Allan Poe's "The Black Cat." We will focus on how the fantastic is created and sustained and on the effects of the pure fantastic on the reading experience, especially closure.
 

II

     E. T. A. Hoffman's "The Sand-Man" (1816-17) centers on the transformation of Nathanael, who kills himself in a spell of insanity. It is impossible to determine whether this insanity is the result of external forces acting upon him, as he believes, or the result of his own perverse insistence upon giving life to visionary fantasms, as Clara, his betrothed, believes. This question is complicated by the position of the tale's narrator. Let us, for the moment, bracket the narrator to concentrate on the conflict of interpretations.

     Nathanael has a view of his life history as a whole. It begins with his earliest memories of the Sand-Man's intrusion into his childhood, and it will end, as he says in a dream-poem, with the figurative loss of his eyes in madness and death. The Sand-Man is presented to him as a monster who tears out the eyes of children who keep them open when they ought to be closed in sleep. This threat with which he is sent to bed as a child becomes the determining pattern of his life. Is this pattern imposed upon him by external supernatural forces, or does he impose it upon himself? Nathanael's accounts of his evil fate are heavy with implications that suggest Clara's opinion is correct. She asserts that all people, including herself, have "the intuition of a dark power working within us to our own ruin" (192). Such a power can become an obsession and may create hallucinations; "if we have once voluntarily given ourselves up to this dark physical power, it often reproduces within us the strange forms which the outer world throws in our way, so that thus it is we ourselves who engender within ourselves the spirit which by some remarkable delusion we imagine to speak in that outer form" (192).

     Nathanael's account seems to make it clear that he has arbitrarily associated the lawyer, Coppelius, with the Sand-Man, though he builds this association from the coincidence that Coppelius often arrives at his bedtime. Behind this association is an implied split in his father's image: the good father who is usually present at dinner and who tells wonderful stories and the bad father, Coppelius, who is preceded by the natural father's silence and voluminous smoking after dinner, by his mother's sadness, and by an early interruption of the family's evening together (see Freud, "The Uncanny," On Creativity and the Unconscious 138-39, note). Coppelius himself adapts to this role by causing these interruptions and by torturing the children psychologically when he is present at meals. This pattern continues when Nathanael spies upon a meeting of his father and Coppelius and discovers them to be working together on human figures. Caught at this analogue of the primal scene, Nathanael is nearly sacrificed by Coppelius, who threatens to take his eyes for use in their products. When the father intervenes, Coppelius painfully inspects Nathanael's hands and feet. This conflict over the child between good and evil father images is completed when Coppelius is apparently responsible for the death of Nathanael's father in a laboratory explosion. As Freud suggests, these experiences become uncanny by permitting themselves to be so easily attached to repressions; the ground is prepared for the return of the repressed (137, 157).

     Nathanael recalls his childhood terrors of Coppelius and the Sand-Man in a letter to his friend, Lothair, to explain his reaction to the peddler, Coppola, who initiates the return of the repressed by connecting himself with Coppelius. Nathanael then proceeds to reenact his childhood experience. He acts out within himself the split between the good and evil fathers, giving up his talent for writing pleasing, sparkling tales to write gloomy, unintelligible, formless, tedious works. This split is mirrored in his dual preoccupations with Coppola, the satanic image, and with Clara, his bright angel. He reenacts his spying, but this time on Olimpia, the "daughter" of his physics professor, Spalanzani. This spying leads to love for her, but it quickly becomes apparent to others that Olimpia is a cleverly constructed automaton in which Nathanael sees perfectly reflected his own view of himself. She makes him available to himself as an object of desire. Before he can consummate this desire, Coppola (or Coppelius?) appears to claim her as his own product, for the eyes, he claims, belong to him. The struggle between the benevolent and malevolent father figures is reenacted as the two men fight for possession of the mirror of Nathanael's "I." The father figures dismember the symbolic Nathanael, and Nathanael goes mad. Just as the poem in which he projects his life predicted, he recovers under Clara's care. These events replay his illness and recovery after Coppelius caught him spying in childhood. Just as that incident culminates in the death of his father and his poem ends in a vision of Clara transformed into death, so his life ends in the reappearance of Coppelius, the recurrence of Nathanael's madness, and his suicide.

     In this reading of the tale, Nathanael's death results from the return of the repressed, thus confirming Clara's interpretation. He imposes meanings from his unconscious on unrelated external events. As his father split into a good and evil father, the evil then destroying the good, so Nathanael splits into a light and a dark self, the dark self overwhelming and destroying the light. Apparently Nathanael has been prevented by childhood terrors from unifying himself as an I. His devils emerge from the fragments of self he just barely holds together. Nathanael's problem can be understood as arising from difficulties Nathanael has in the mirror phase of his development.

     Christine Brooke-Rose offers a helpful simplification of the three parts of Lacan's mirror phase of development in A Rhetoric of the Unreal: "recognition of the other, recognition of the other as self, recognition of the other as self but other" (161). The child, looking into the mirror or some equivalent (e.g., the gaze of others), conceives of the possibility of being a harmonious whole like those he sees around him. Then the child comes to recognize that this image of desire is the image of himself. To appropriate that image, he must symbolize it, give it graspable form. This symbolizing requires the mastery of language by which the idealized self becomes available to the child. However, in symbolizing the image, the child creates a permanent split between his self (subject) and his "I," the image that he strives to duplicate. As a product, ultimately, of language, this "I" is a social construct; its roots are in the culture that enlivens and preserves the language. The child "reads" the language of his culture and co-creates with that language his "I," the idea of the self he continually tries to be. As Juliet Mitchell argues, this ego-ideal is built up from lost love objects, and it achieves a final authority with the formation of the superego at the end of the Oedipal stage (see chapter 6).

     Nathanael encounters difficulties in this phase of his development when he first identifies Coppelius as the Sand-Man, a destroyer of children's vision, and then as an evil father, the father of the creation of children. As a possible ego-ideal, his father is radically split into two persons, the one who loves him and the one who made him. It appears then that Nathanael, at least unconsciously, idealizes himself as also split in a parallel way. We have seen how he reenacts this central scene of his childhood as an adult. Though Nathanael can see harmonious wholes in Lothair and Clara, he cannot become a harmonious whole himself. To do so, it would appear that he must be seen as such a whole by the eye of love. He becomes angry with Clara when she simply declines to acknowledge the value of his dark self. Olimpia offers him what appears to be a loving gaze, but, as it turns out, she is merely a mirror, reflecting Nathanael's desire rather than offering the loving acceptance of his doubleness that might unify him. Rosemary Jackson says that the mirror phase "effects a shift from the 'body in fragments' ... to the ideal of a whole body with a unified (constructed) subjectivity" (89). Nathanael seems not to have completed this shift. He continues to see his body and his psyche in fragments. He continues to need that unifying gaze of love to make him whole. Though Clara is sympathetic to him and willing to marry him, though she seems to understand the darkness that is within him, she does not understand his need to incorporate this darkness to be whole. It is unclear whether she could save him by taking his problems more seriously, but that remains the one untried alternative in the tale.

     We have, then, a reasonably coherent psychological interpretation available. A psychoanalyst could probably correct and elaborate it into a comprehensive explanation of Nathanael. However, even then, the tale, as opposed to Nathanael, would not be explained. After all, Coppelius really does seem to persecute Nathanael; he appears bent on Nathanael's destruction, taking definite steps to bring it about.

     Both the narrator and Spalanzani indicate that Coppola and Coppelius are the same person, so Nathanael is probably not wrong (210-11). Yet, though Coppelius appears for Nathanael's last fit of madness, there is no direct link between this fit and Coppelius's presence. Nathanael leaps from the tower upon seeing Coppelius, but his madness returns earlier, when he looks at Clara through the "magic" perspective that he obtained from Coppola and that made Olimpia appear alive to Nathanael. We may guess that the glass makes Clara look as if she were dead, since this was predicted in the poem and since he seems to call her a wooden doll. Presumably, by looking at her with the same instrument with which he saw Olimpia's ability to see him whole, he sees Clara's inability to see him whole. This repeats his response to her coldness toward his poem. Though we cannot be sure that Coppelius/Coppola intends or directly brings about Nathanael's death, he is always present at Nathanael's crises and provides the images and the instruments that help to destroy the young man. Is Coppelius an externally visible instrument of Nathanael's unconscious, or is he an independent persecuting agent who manipulates Nathanael's unconscious?

     What, for example, is one to make of the circumstances by which Nathanael is given a view into Olimpia's room and provided with a perspective (in several senses) with which to view her? The view results when Nathanael's university domicile is moved after a fire. The perspective is sold him by Coppola.

     While Nathanael [Nathaniel] is visiting his friends at home, his university house burns, leaving only the outer walls standing. This fire is parallel to events taking place at home. Because the fire breaks out on the ground floor, Nathanael's "bold, active friends" are able to rescue his most valuable effects from his upper story room (201). At about the same time, the fiery Lothair and the fiery Nathanael contemplate a duel over Clara. She has refused to mirror for Nathanael precisely the self he wants mirrored: she does not like his dream-poem and asks him to throw it into the fire. In reply, he calls her a "damned lifeless automaton," provoking Lothair's anger (200). Nathanael feels disburdened when Clara prevents their fight, "as if by offering resistance to the dark power which possessed him, he had rescued his own self from the ruin which had threatened him" (201). Clara plays the part of a bold, active friend, rescuing his most precious psychological belongings. The fire at the university also mirrors the central pattern of his life. The fire begins in a ground floor chemist's shop, like his father's laboratory, and is parallel to the unconscious, that which should not be seen. Nathanael's upper story room, his conscious mind, contains his most precious belongings. Nathanael's precious relationship with his bright angel is threatened by the welling up of dark forces that demand recognition in his poem. He wishes with the poem to "enkindle Clara's cold temperament" (199-200). Instead, her cold response enkindles him; he, in turn, enkindles Lothair. Clara rescues their precious relationship from this conflagration, but at the cost of silencing his unconscious.

     What do these parallel events mean? Nathanael has nothing directly to do with the fire at the university, yet it is virtually simultaneous with a figurative fire in himself and in his relationships. This parallel could be simply coincidence, but Hoffman will not let it be. The literal fire places Nathanael in the position to see Olimpia. The figurative fire makes him want to see her, that is, to find the mirror that will reflect him as a whole by revealing the unseen. When Coppola as a seller of perspectives provides the instrument by which Nathanael actually sees Olimpia, the implied reader cannot help but wonder if there is an external plot against Nathanael. And if there is a plot, is it a natural plot, some perverse extension of Coppelius's tormenting young Nathanael? Or is there a supernatural plot, of which Coppelius is merely one instrument, along with Olimpia, Coppola, the fire at the university, the "magic" telescope, Spalanzani, and others?

     We are suspended then between two readings of Nathanael's fate. Looking at more details in the story does nothing to resolve this suspension. Turning to the third-person narrator is also of little help, for he deliberately and openly sides with Clara. He says that though dreamers and visionaries found her gaze unbearably critical, "others, however, who had reached a clearer and deeper conception of life, were extremely fond of the intelligent, childlike, large-hearted girl" (197). He remains consistent in his choice; for example, he explicitly confirms Clara's judgment of Nathanael's later writing as tedious (199), and he affirms that when Nathanael hears such genius in Olimpia's speech, "it was his own heart's voice speaking to him" (209). But he undercuts the objectivity of his opinion when he reveals that he loves Clara. Has the narrator really reached a deeper and clearer (Clara) perception of life? Or has he made Clara his mirror just as Nathanael did with Olimpia? Ought the implied reader to view the narrator ironically?

     Where does the implied reader emerge from this complexity? Nathanael, as tortured protagonist, needs sympathy and understanding. Clara is sympathetic, but not understanding. She is admirable, and the narrator values her for appropriate reasons, yet these very reasons -- her sense of wholeness and balance in herself -- prevent her from understanding Nathanael. Though the narrator is like Nathanael in his sense of having a mysterious soul and in his artistic ambition, he has a detachment denied Nathanael, a "firmness, fortified by cheerfulness" that Clara recommends to Nathanael (192). The view shared by Clara and the narrator that Nathanael is merely the victim of his dark fantasies, though powerful, is suspect. It is suspect, not only because of ambiguous details such as Coppelius's odd behavior and the coincidences of the literal and the figurative fire, but also because neither Clara nor the narrator understands Nathanael's problem as fully as the implied reader.

     Hoffman, then, sustains the fantastic through the entire story. The implied reader is never able to gain a position from which to assert without reservation that Nathanael's problems are wholly psychological or that though they are psychological, they are deliberately exacerbated by an external supernatural agency. Such a reading experience ought to be profoundly disturbing, for it leaves the implied reader split or, at best, blurred. The implied reader becomes defined essentially as this hesitation between two incompatible interpretations of Nathanael's fate. And, as with the ambiguity in Brown's novels, a major effect of the pure fantastic here is to make the implied reader into a mirror image of the protagonist. Just as Nathanael is transfixed before and vibrating between the opposing aspects of his ego-ideal, so is the implied reader transfixed and vibrating between two versions of Nathanael's fate, and so the real reader is similarly situated in relation to the implied reader. Within this context of multileveled hesitation, the implied reader has also to contend with fairly powerful images of the repressed. Freud, for example, discusses a number of the "uncanny" images presented when Nathanael spies on Coppelius and his father (138-39) [188-89]. Suggested transgressions include patricide, incest, fear of dismemberment, but especially castration, and, implicitly, a desire to escape self-consciousness by returning to the infantile state. To understand Nathanael, the implied reader must deal with these suggestive images, but doing so does not yield a final understanding. This is quite an uncomfortable position for the implied reader. However, like Lovecraft, Hoffman has made some special arrangements to comfort the reader.

     Though the fantastic is not resolved, the conflict between the two interpretations proves less disturbing than in other pure fantastic tales, because of the close relationship between the two interpretations. In both, Nathanael is psychologically disturbed, whether or not external supernatural agents cause and exacerbate Nathanael's troubles. The conflict is not so much over what is wrong with Nathanael as over what are the true causes of his troubles. The intensity of this conflict is further muted by the fact that no character in the story really experiences the conflict. Nathanael believes he is the victim of external agents. His friends and the narrator believe he is the victim of his own mind. The implied reader experiences a split of self analogous to but by no means the same as Nathanael's. The implied reader is left to choose whether to side with Nathanael or with virtually everyone else who has an opinion on the problem in the story. A fair decision is impossible, but the tale is so constructed that such a decision is not absolutely demanded of the implied reader. It is possible to complete the reading of the tale without making this decision.

     Hoffman reduces the intensity of the problem and, therefore, the necessity of choosing by making such a decision relatively inconsequential: knowing the answer will not change Nathanael's fate. The death of the protagonist provides a fairly decisive form of conventional closure. Furthermore, in either interpretation Nathanael is pathetic; not only the nature of his problem, but also the emotional effect of his fate is the same in each case. Hoffman further strengthens closure by adding a conventional coda, an account of Clara's eventual happy marriage. One might also argue that the narrator's intrusion after his presentation of the opening exchange of letters between the friends helps to create a stable position for the implied reader by emphasizing the artificiality of the whole construct and preparing the reader both for the fantastic and for a kind of closure. Furthermore, just the use of a third-person narrator tends to distance the reader from too direct an identification with Nathanael. The end result is a highly disturbing tale that threatens, if only mildly, not to release the real reader from the reading experience. Maupassant's "The Horla" is similar to "The Sand-Man" in its effect, but makes use of a first-person narrator.
 
 
 

III

     Guy de Maupassant's "The Horla" (1887) creates an irresolvable ambiguity, leaving the implied reader suspended between two alternative explanations of the narrator's experience, but it, too, offers a kind of closure that reduces insistence upon this ambiguity and therefore allows the reader to escape the reading experience.

     "The Horla" is the story of the transformation of the narrator into the Horla, an alien, invisible being. For this reason, it cannot easily be a retrospective narration. Instead, the story takes the form of a daily journal in which the gradual transformation is visible, even though it is not consciously presented by the narrator. Because the implied reader must deal with a document, there is a kind of built-in expectation of closure, an expectation that the document will have a limit. Furthermore, there is distance from the narrator's present condition, in contrast, for example, to At the Mountains of Madness or Wieland where the narrator's condition in the time present of the telling draws the implied reader into a close identification. This narrator has left a document in which time present coincides with the events narrated. The question that the story raises but never answers concerns whether this transformation is psychological or supernatural. Does the narrator go mad as he is taken over by an unknown aspect of himself, a second personality? Or, as he comes to believe, has a new sort of being made its appearance on the earth with an idea of conquest? Details in the story support both views.

     All of the evidence for the supernatural interpretation has one inescapable flaw: it is reported by the narrator. The reliability of his reports depends upon his trustworthiness. This narrator does establish a fairly high degree of reliability by means of his own skepticism. Indeed, for most of the several months covered by his journal, he is convinced that he is hallucinating. He encourages the formation of a sympathetic implied reader who shares his love of the peaceful country life and whose mind moves with his in the examination of the unusual phenomena he begins to perceive. This parallel movement of minds is strengthened by the narrator's moving spontaneously to the kinds of explanations of his ambiguous experiences that their strangeness ought to provoke. He looks for natural causes and is incredulous of indications to the contrary. He is willing to grant that we do not understand all about the relations of our bodies and minds to the natural world. Though he is skeptical about a monk's belief in invisible spirits, he keeps his mind open. When the water disappears from his bottle at night, his first conclusion is that he has been sleepwalking. After his elaborate test of this possibility seems to prove the presence in his locked room of another being, he flees to Paris and society. The improvement of his condition there leads him to conclude that he must have been hallucinating and that solitude is bad for him. Though he is skeptical of the power of hypnotism and, then, momentarily convinced by a demonstration of its power, he returns to the open-mindedness [openmindedness] that he adopted in response to the monk at Saint-Michel. As the apparitions increase in power and as he comes to feel himself under the influence of the Horla, he continues to vacillate between the belief that he is mad and belief in the Horla. Only in the last month of the journal, when he feels possessed and gradually transformed, does he cease to assert that the Horla is a hallucination. The intended effect of this movement would seem to be to identify the narrator and the implied reader for as long as possible. Insofar as the narrator reacts plausibly to his situation, he seems reliable. The longer this reliability continues in a daily journal, the more fully the implied reader identifies with the writer.

     The narrator's reliability is supported as well by third-party confirmations, reported by the narrator usually before he can appreciate their significance. His footman is haunted while the narrator is at Mont Saint-Michel. The servants report unusual events in the house. Dr. Parent seems to demonstrate the existence of some as yet unknown power when he shows that a hypnotized subject can use a card as a mirror to see what is behind her. A magazine reports an outbreak of supposedly hallucinatory illness in Brazil, connecting his experiences with the arrival of a Brazilian ship that was towed up the Seine past his house on the first day of his journal, the day before he first fell ill. These more or less verifiable external events add to the narrator's credibility. In fact, they make it almost impossible to prove that he hallucinates without either arbitrarily asserting that he dreams everything or refusing to take the story on its own terms. These confirmations work, of course, only as long as the implied reader continues to accept the convention that the journal was added to daily and not fabricated whole. A refusal to accept this convention opens up many possibilities -- for example, that the journal is a hoax -- but does not allow a verification of any of these new possibilities. Though we cannot prove he hallucinates, we can find ample evidence to suggest that he does.

     For example, Brewster E. Fitz argues in his essay that the narrator's hallucinations may be explained psychoanalytically. He asserts that the narrator takes literally the paradox of the primary alienation necessary for the formation of self-consciousness in the mirror phase of development. This paradox is that the self must be both the perceiver and the perceived: "the 'I' must be thinking and thought at the same time, that is, it must be both subject and object, it must be where it is not" (960). Fitz helpfully works out various forms of mirror images and analogues to support this view. Another way of arguing this position, which seems to me a little more convincing, is to take note of the stages by which the transformation is achieved. From the beginning, the narrator has the feeling that something is trying to occupy his space. It sucks out his air in the night, leaving him in "low spirits" in the daytime. Then it shifts to drinking fluids belonging to him. It takes his place at home in his absence. It is near him in his home activities. It uses his chair and his book when he sleeps. Finally, it usurps his body and soul, taking his place in the mirror. This transformation, in which the exchange of bodily fluids associated with air, spirits, and blood seems crucial, goes through stages that are suggestive of a psychological origin.

     When he first falls ill, he wishes for other organs that would make the invisible visible to him, as the card later does for his hypnotized cousin. Soon after this wish, he becomes more sensitive. He feels there is something near him that he ought to fear. Like the wishes of the characters in Dracula, his wish seems to begin coming true in a frightening manner. In his sleep, he is attacked by an invisible being of the air, which steals his air. When, on 2 June, he takes a walk to recover his spirits, he suddenly feels alone and afraid. This implied wish for companionship is immediately answered when he feels the presence of an invisible companion. These wishes, especially the first, seem to give form to all his subsequent experiences as he gains access to the invisible. As his desire is realized, he is terrified because the process of wishing becomes involuntary. In Paris, it is suggested that hypnotism "proves" the existence of an invisible power that humans might tap. Soon after he hears about this power and sees a demonstration of it, he feels himself to be under the same sort of power, as if to tap it were to submit to it. He sees it manifested in all sorts of mass behaviors, such as government holidays. His escape to Rouen takes him to the library where a book suggests that his apparition is no human invention. He then speculates that perhaps it is a conquering invader, a superior being from another planet. Once he has conceived this idea, it proceeds to become real. The journal story on Brazil then verifies his hypothesis, and on the same day the Horla uses the narrator to write its own thoughts in his journal. This, of course, is the equivalent of the card becoming a mirror that reflects the unseen; his journal has become a means of fulfilling his original wish. When the narrator realizes that the Horla has spoken through him, he exclaims, "He is within me, he is becoming my soul; I shall kill him" (268)! This incident is duplicated physically a few days later when he looks in the mirror and sees nothing at all. He has become invisible. He sees the Horla as having absorbed his reflection, his "I." In Lacanian terms, it is the subject who fails to appear in the mirror, for the Horla is the invisible subject that has no image except the "I." At this point, the narrator has lost his self and therefore can see nothing in the mirror. This perception leads eventually to the conclusion that the Horla can be destroyed by suicide.

     That the narrator's perceptions of apparitions seem to grow directly out of prior wishes and that these apparitions seem generated by an initial wish to see the invisible make it difficult not to believe that the whole narration is an account of his efforts, unconsciously directed, to see his self as subject. We may even argue that this desire erupted out of the narcissistic calm of his extreme pleasure in occupying his point of origin in isolation. We learn in the 19 August entry that the Horla may have been attracted to his house because it, like the Brazilian ship, was white (blank). Perhaps this mirroring of the ship with the house of his birth draws the apparently involuntary pleasure and salute from the narrator on 8 May. This reflection, then, tempts him to examine his own reflection, to peer into the mirror of a journal page (also blank) in search of the reality behind the image, in search of the self that looks. To really see, he must undo the paradox that Fitz describes, but that paradox can only be undone by dying, figuratively in madness, or literally in suicide.

     Does the narrator become the victim of some sort of alien being that attempts to usurp his body and produce a new species? Or does the narrator succumb to an unconscious wish to return to a state previous to self-consciousness? To affirm either possibility opens the implied reader to the critique of the other. The evidence in favor of each alternative is strong enough to explain by itself, but ever present is the evidence for the other alternative, which cannot be ignored. As in "The Sand-Man," the implied reader is split between two readings, and the real reader is subjected to the anxiety of aesthetic incompletion. Like Hoffman, Maupassant offers aid to both readers, though in this case primarily by means of a strong closure.

     The narrator's conclusion that he must commit suicide is an acknowledgment of the completion of his transformation in either interpretation. His attempt to kill the Horla has only destroyed others, not the Horla. Whether the Horla is within as an alien being or as the alienated self, it now possesses him. The narrator's dilemma is at an end; his experience is closed. Since he is no longer the self who began the journal, his journal is also complete. Furthermore, the earlier stages of the transformation tend to gradually distance the implied reader from the narrator. It becomes impossible to continue moving with his mind when that mind is clearly taken over by some alien force, whether internal or external. The implied reader's investment in the narrator is reduced, the narrator's transformation is completed, and his experience and journal are closed off in the decision to die.

     Though Maupassant provides a strong closure, the issue of whether his narrator is mad or victimized seems more urgent than in the case of Nathanael, partly because the elements of closure seem weaker than those of "The Sand-Man." The main reason for this is that the tale has no frame. Hoffman's third-person narration increases distance between the implied reader and the protagonist, in part by interposing a perspective between the implied reader and Nathanael. In "The Horla," the implied reader must deal directly with the narrator or, at least, with his document. Though the reader must pull away from the narrator as evidence of his transformation becomes stronger, he still must see that transformation from the terrifying "inside." It is also not clear that this narrator, like Nathanael, is from his earliest memory subject to his doom. He begins his journal a happy and healthy man, then alien experience suddenly intrudes upon his life. This sudden attack intensifies the implied reader's need to settle on an interpretation, to uncover the true causes of the narrator's destruction.

     While Maupassant uses some of the same devices as Hoffman to help the reader deal with the anxiety his tale is likely to produce, he also intensifies that anxiety. "The Horla" presents a stronger threat not to allow a completion of its reading. In discussing "The Sand-Man," we said that the implied reader became defined as the hesitation between the two main interpretations of Nathanael's experience. Hoffman reduces the anxiety of this hesitation by means of distance within the work and closure. While the hesitation cannot be resolved, if its intensity is kept to a minimum, the effect will be an unusually disturbing tale of terror. The extra disturbance derives directly from the residue of irresolvability that must form part of the concretion of the whole work. Maupassant increases that disturbance, augmenting the intensity of the irresolvability of the two main interpretations of his narrator's experience. As a consequence, the split in the implied reader may produce a recognition of the difference between the implied and the real reader. The implied reader, like Lacan's "I" is after all a form of ego-ideal, implied in the language of a particular text. The real reader constructs this temporary "I" according to the rules of literary art to which he is accustomed. Maupassant's story threatens, more strongly than does "The Sand-Man," to make the implied reader into an alien being. Just as the narrator may be said to lose himself to an alien being of his own creation, so the real reader is threatened, at least mildly, with a similar relation to the implied reader. If the role will not end, the real reader cannot be rid of the implied reader; he will be "haunted" by the unresolved question for as long as he chooses to attend to the tale. Maupassant has so constructed his story that the role of implied reader has no end. Like Brown and Hoffman, he has intuited the possibility of enhancing the effect of a tale of terror by disturbing the expectations of aesthetic experience. In Maupassant's case, intuition may have been easier, because unlike Brown and Hoffman, Maupassant was able to read the first real master of this form of the tale of terror, Edgar Allan Poe.
 

IV

     In "The Black Cat" (1843) Poe achieves much the same effects Maupassant accomplishes in "The Horla," but uses more devices to entrap the reader. In her discussion of the tale, Brooke-Rose points out three central enigmas: (1) What is the black cat? (2) Is the narrator a mad hallucinator or the victim of supernatural force? (3) Why is the narrator to die the day after he tells his tale? She notes that though the story seems to focus upon and provide much information about the second enigma, in fact, it only repeats that question in various ways. Because the story never decides whether the narrator is a victim of self or others, the implied reader is never able to ascertain what the cat is or why the narrator must die. That the narrator is to be executed for murdering his wife does not explain why he murdered her. Indeed, that murder comes near the end of the central causal chain which is itself in need of explanation (116-22).

     The narrator himself is involved in the central dilemma, though his perspective is somewhat different from the implied reader's. He begins his narrative with an implicit request: "For the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief. Mad indeed would I be to expect it, in a case where my very senses reject their own evidence. Yet, mad am I not -- and very surely I do not dream. But to-morrow I die, and today I would unburthen my soul" (254). On one hand, the narrator's insistence upon his own sanity undercuts the reader's faith. On the other, he gives the appearance of sanity in his recognition that what he will say sounds mad and in his use of an elaborately balanced style. He sounds very little like the narrator of "The Tell-Tale Heart." As the narrator appears to be both sane and mad, so his tale is both "homely" and "wild." His tale proves to be as he describes it, both ordinary and unbelievable, both natural and fantastic. He reveals at the end of his first paragraph that he desires a natural explanation for his experience. He requests an implied reader who will transform his forthcoming wild tale into "nothing more than an ordinary succession of very natural causes and effects" (254).

     From one point of view, the narrator's desire for a natural cause/effect explanation seems unnecessary. Though the events he relates are grisly and, perhaps, pathetic, there is little to make them seem unnatural. He explains that he became an alcoholic, and under the influence of alcohol, his genial personality changed. He abused his wife and his pets. Eventually he killed his beloved black cat, Pluto. On the night of this crime, his house burned down, leaving him poor and driving him deeper into alcoholism. After some time he obtained another black cat, which he grew to hate. The cat provoked his anger by its excessive affection for him, finally driving him into a rage of which his wife became the victim. Having ignorantly entrapped the cat with his wife's corpse behind a false wall in a cellar, he accidentally betrayed himself to the police by tapping his cane against that wall and causing the entombed cat to cry out. Of course, I have left out of this account all the appearances and suggestions that, though irrelevant to a natural cause/effect account, might suggest a supernatural agency. These appearances are important to the narrator, and they eventually lead to his conclusion that he is the victim of supernatural vengeance. These appearances aside, however, we have a clear natural account of how the narrator became a murderer, in which the major problem seems to be how the narrator was transformed from his original geniality into a cruel drunkard and murderer.

     The narrator has a natural explanation: he theorizes that the human soul is double and that his drinking releases the spirit of perversity that, he says, inhabits every soul. If he accepts his own theory, then his actions are explained and his narrative loses its purpose of soliciting an explanation. Apparently, the narrator has reasons for being unable simply to accept this "natural" explanation, the main reason being his fairly strong conviction that he is a victim of the supernatural. He finds this natural explanation attractive, for it is the activity of the spirit of perversity that makes him into a victim of a force beyond his control. He can think of himself as innocent by reason of insanity. This attraction is increased by the fact that at the time of the telling, he is confident of his sanity. He looks back upon these terrible events in his life and sees a different person committing those crimes. He explains that he was temporarily possessed. On the other hand, he has seen other elements in his experience that suggest the involvement of an external force, which also offers an attractive explanation insofar as his sense of personal moral responsibility for his acts might be diminished.

     The narrator's sense that the supernatural is involved increases after he kills Pluto. There is, first, the mysterious outline of the hanged Pluto imprinted on the remaining white wall of his burned home. The image on the wall becomes a phantasm in his fancy. Then, the phantasm becomes a reality in the advent of the second cat, which is in every way like Pluto except for the white mark on its breast. That mark seems gradually to take the form of a gallows, now without a hanged cat in the noose (see Ketterer 106-8). This succession of images suggests the revenge of the letter of the law; the narrator has hanged Pluto and so he must hang. In order for him to be hanged, he must kill a person. Therefore, the cat returns to insure the completion of the pattern. The cat provokes the narrator, takes advantage of the situation it creates to bring about the murder, and then betrays the murderer. If the cat is seen as a supernatural agent, then the coincidences become significant: the fire, the outline on the wall, the walling up of the cat, and the impulse to tap that wall. And once these coincidences become part of a causal chain that will end with the narrator's execution, we can push back further in time to see, perhaps, an even deeper plot than the narrator seems aware of. Was Pluto, as the narrator's wife suggests, a witch to begin with? Was the narrator's alcoholism also caused supernaturally? A supernatural causal chain suggests that there was a trap set in some obscure beginning to destroy the narrator. This is what he apparently concludes at the end of his narrative, that the cat has seduced him to his ruin.

     Naturally, such an explanation would attract the narrator at least as strongly as the natural explanation based on the spirit of perversity. In either case, forces outside his control (demons, perversity) have forced him into criminal acts. This supernatural explanation also has a negative side: its pattern of retributive justice suggests his subjection to judgment whether or not he feels personal, moral responsibility. The narrator hesitates between these two explanations of his experience because both tend to exculpate the person he now conceives himself to be and because he has compelling evidence for each without a means of deciding between them.

     There is a fairly natural explanation that can account for the supernatural occurrences as a combination of coincidence and hallucination. According to this interpretation, he hallucinates some, or even all, of the equivocal events, especially the shape of the white mark, and all the events involving the burial of the second cat. Whether or not there is really a second cat, that cat in particular becomes, for the narrator, an external manifestation of the genial self he has lost in his transformation. After his transformation, his abuse falls most heavily upon the three characters who show the most affection for him: the two cats and his wife. Until he is rid of all three, he is unable to sleep peacefully. The second cat is closely associated with his wife. She caresses it and it caresses him. As he comes to see them as mirrors of his old lost self, he comes to hate them and to wish them dead. Since his earliest childhood, he has been surrounded by such mirrors (his parents, his pets, his wife), and he has made himself in the image of what he has seen. As a result, he was in childhood the "jest of his companions." This peculiarity grew on him just as his later disease of alcohol grows on him. He has made himself into a mirror of the "unselfish and self-sacrificing love of a brute, which goes directly to the heart of him who has had frequent occasion to test the paltry friendship and gossamer fidelity of mere Man" (254). These observations suggest an unconscious motive, which could be the cause of his hallucinations.

     The narrator wants to break the confining image out of which he has constructed his self. In alcohol, he finds the hint that such a transformation is possible. As he moves in that direction, he is irritated by the constant repetition of the image in "the mirror," which calls him, like an infinitely forgiving God (or superego), back to his old, good self. The pride that drives him is indicated by his response to the gallows mark on the second cat's breast: "And now I was indeed wretched beyond the wretchedness of mere Humanity. And a brute beast -- whose fellow I had contemptuously destroyed -- a brute beast to work out for me--for me a man, fashioned in the image of the High God -- so much of insufferable wo!" (257-58). Much as he wants to be free of the old self, he cannot remove that self from within his soul. Destroying its externalizations gives him only temporary respite. Soon it returns in whatever means his final hallucination provides for exposing his crime to the police. When he reports this scene in the time present of his telling, he utters a revealing prayer: "But may God shield and deliver me from the fangs of the Arch-Fiend!" (259). Now the cat is associated with the evil self, the demon within. In the present of his telling, the narrator dissociates himself from the one who committed the terrible crimes. His confession is also a justification.

     We now have a psychological reading that is, perhaps, more subtle than the narrator's own hypothesis about the spirit of perversity. In this psychological reading, the narrator is seen as unconsciously attempting to escape the confines of an oppressively narrow self by destroying his identity. He thus tries to externalize it onto the mirroring images of wife and cat, but this strategy fails. His hallucinations, then, result from his attempts at externalizing the tame self he wants to destroy and from the persistence within of that tame self that demands justice and compels his confession. We can see that in the time present in which he makes his confession, he has undergone another transformation. He is no longer the wild man who killed his wife and "involuntarily" confessed his crime. Now he is tame, more like his original self. He expresses shame and guilt. Now, instead of externalizing the good self, he externalizes the perverse self vigorously. He says "the fiend Intemperance" transformed his character and that the "disease" of alcohol grew upon him. He says of his removing Pluto's eye, "The fury of a demon instantly possessed me. I knew myself no longer. My original soul seemed, at once, to take its flight from my body; and a more than fiendish malevolence, gin-nurtured, thrilled every fibre of my frame" (255). He asserts that each of his crimes was committed while he was possessed by a demon. He even characterizes his perversity as a spirit, speaking of it as both internal and external. Though this experience of possession was thrilling when it took place, he rejects it in the account of his confession. Instead, he asserts, finally, that the crafty cat has "seduced" him to murder. The evil and criminal self is not himself, but some other. It is that other, separate from himself, who deserves punishment. We thus see the narrator splitting himself unconsciously, first to destroy his too repressive tame identity, then, after his crimes, to save his tame identity from the consequences of the crimes committed by his wild identity.

     We now have three possible explanations of what has happened to the narrator. We have seen that he is caught between two explanations (perversity and demons), both of which he wishes to use for exculpation. Neither is clearly superior to the other. The third explanation suggests that, without being fully aware of it, he alternates between two personalities, one that enjoys the thrills of the forbidden and the other that does the forbidding. Does this third explanation effect a resolution of the first two? Does it comprise a superior point of view of the implied reader?

     This psychological explanation is, essentially, an extension of the narrator's theory of perversity, which allows us to account "naturally" for the supernatural appearances. For the implied reader to accept this explanation as definitive, he must accept from the real reader the attitudes of our post-Freudian and secularist age.

     Poe's original audience did not embrace our modern convictions that all macrophysical phenomena are rule-governed and that psychological explanations reach to first causes. Yet even if the implied reader does not impose modern attitudes on the tale and, so, remains within the enigmas as they are presented to the narrator, he is not completely cut off from psychological interpretations that are more complex than the narrator's. It would not have been beyond Poe's more sophisticated readers (e.g., Hawthorne, Melville, James, or Baudelaire) to extend the narrator's own psychological explanation in ways that could account for the appearances of the supernatural. How deep has the narrator's perversity gone? Is it reflected in his early peculiar love for animals? Do we see in the manner of his telling, in his careful style, the imp of the perverse obliquely displaying itself? Just as the theory of perversity is extendable over the narrator's whole life, so, too, is the narrator's supernatural explanation. We have seen that the supernatural explanation can account for the pattern of his life and can justify rather than merely explain his expression of paranoia, his final assertion that he has been attacked by forces beyond human comprehension. Just as our supernatural reading is a more elaborate extension of his own, so our psychological reading ultimately proves to be a more sophisticated extension of the narrator's theory of perversity. In this way, we come to see that "The Black Cat" suspends the implied reader between alternative explanations of the narrator's experience. Even though the implied reader may well formulate more complex readings than the narrator does, those readings are extensions of the narrator's theories.

     This tale seems, then, to imply a reader who, though he may see depths in the narrator's account, is no more able than the narrator to move decisively toward one hypothesis or the other. Both the narrator and the implied reader hesitate between two explanations of the terrifying events of the tale. As in "The Sand-Man" and "The Horla," the experience of reading "The Black Cat" must continue after the completion of the perusal of the text. Because the story offers no resolution of this fundamental and foregrounded ambiguity, it threatens never to end. Like Maupassant, Poe seems deliberately to pull both ways with regard to closure. On one hand, he offers conventional patterns of closure, which stand in opposition to the openness of the pure fantastic. On the other, he intensifies the fantastic in several ways.

     "The Black Cat" has a fairly strong illusion of closure. As a last confession and as an autobiography, the narrative is complete. Except for the central one, most of the enigmas are at least partly resolved. We can say that the second black cat is either an animal or a demon. We know he is to be executed for the murder of his wife. With some thought, it becomes clear how the narrator is attempting to unburden his soul by escaping responsibility for his acts; therefore, as a particular rhetorical action, the story also seems complete. In addition to these patterns of closure, Poe also establishes a moral distance between implied reader and narrator by making it clear that the narrator is trying to escape moral responsibility for his actions. This distance can reduce the intensity of the implied reader's need to determine whether the forces the narrator experiences are internal or external. While Poe imposes closure by completing these fairly strong patterns and may reduce the need for resolution of the fantastic by creating moral distance, he also works against closure by intensifying the need for resolution in other directions.

     As we have noticed, the narrator begins by stating a problem. He specifically addresses his reader and asks for help. This opening draws the implied reader toward the narrator in two ways. First, the request to engage in problem-solving is immediately attractive in itself. The real reader responds by imagining the construction of the implied reader who can solve this mystery, much as one identifies with the detective in crime fiction. Second, the implied reader is cast in the role of sympathetic listener, an interested party in this individual's case. The implied reader begins with a challenge and a promise, to solve the mystery and satisfy the speaker. This sort of involvement of the reader is quite different from that in "The Sand-Man" and "The Horla." In those stories, the fantastic emerges out of the ordinary, gradually becoming a problem. There is psychological distance between the protagonist and the implied reader. Poe works from the beginning to minimize this psychological distance, to make the narrator's problem the implied reader's as well and to specify that problem as having to deal with fantastic hesitation.
 

V

     Of the three pure fantastic tales of terror we have examined in this chapter, "The Black Cat" is the most disturbing. It may be that Poe so effectively enmeshes the implied reader in the tale that some readers do not escape it, even though he has provided means of closure and at least one way of backing away from the narrator. In our examination of the three tales, we can see a movement toward fuller exploitation of the tendency of the pure fantastic to prevent closure. Hoffman seems the most cautious, for he provides several protections from the pure fantastic's desire to subvert fictional form. Maupassant is more willing to entrap and terrify his readers. Poe seems most willing to harrow the reader; in fact, we shall see that in "Ligeia" and "The Fall of the House of Usher," he had written significantly more terrifying tales before "The Black Cat." In exploiting the tendency of the pure fantastic to disturb closure, these writers have developed a form of horror story that differs significantly from those we have examined in previous chapters. In uncanny tales of terror and in horror thrillers of various kinds, if the real reader is really terrified, it is by accident. Those tales desire an audience susceptible enough to the images they present to be thrilled, but not so susceptible as to be unprotected by the strategies of distance and closure they employ. These pure fantastic tales reach out directly toward the real reader and, in the group we have examined, tend progressively to strip away the protective devices between the terrors of the tale and the real reader and approach the limits of the possible in the horror thriller. Once the line is deliberately crossed between maintaining and destroying Bullough's antinomy of aesthetic distance, we arrive at a radically different though clearly related form of the tale of terror that I call terror fantasy. The pure fantastic tales of terror we have just examined stand on the border between the horror thriller and the terror fantasy, maximizing the triller's potential, but coming so close to entrapping their real readers in real terror that many readers may well experience real terror in these stories. These pure fantastic horror thrillers suggest that the terror fantasies we are about to examine may represent an "ideal form" toward which all tales of terror point, a form that seems designed not to provide safe thrills, but to actually terrify the real reader. We see in these "borderland" stories an impulse to experiment toward the elimination of aesthetic distance in the tale of terror.

     Before turning to detailed examinations of those masterpieces of terror fiction, it may be useful to observe some of the common thematic patterns in the tales examined thus far. The plots are similar: the protagonist discovers and is attracted by an alternative identity; against his conscious will he is transformed into that identity with the result that he brings about his own death. When Todorov examines the themes of the fantastic, he finds a division between the themes of the self and the themes of the other. The themes of the self, associated with the world of the infant, the world before language, when desire is for the self or for what is perceived as self, which is the whole world (145-46), seem more relevant to the texts we have examined so far. Rosemary Jackson assimilates these themes to Lacan's description of the mirror phase. She finds fantasy most subversive when it uses its power "to interrogate the category of character -- that definition of the self as a coherent, indivisible and continuous whole which has dominated Western thought for centuries and is celebrated in classic theatre and 'realistic' art alike" (82-83). This interrogation takes place when texts represent protagonists being torn between "an original, primary narcissism and an ideal ego, which frustrates their natural desire" (89). Fundamental to this thinking is an acceptance of the basic idea of psychoanalysis as it is elaborated by Lacan. We are split into subject, the point of consciousness, and "I," the series of choices we have made about who we will be. We are self-conscious only in relation to the "I." In a sense the subject is "imaginary," invisible. Mentally, we are visible to ourselves only by means of representations or symbols. We look in mirrors. We perceive the evaluations of others in discourse. We write ourselves on paper, in language. What we see of the subject is its edges, where we exceed or miss the mark. The subject is visible only as a deficiency in the "I." Jackson sees subversive fantasy -- for her, some fantasies are not subversive -- as in one way or another expressing the desire to escape the judgment of the "I," to return to what we imagine or "remember" the state of pure subject to be, the state of infancy. In this state, there is no self-consciousness.

     These ideas shed light on the plots of our three pure fantastic tales. The predicaments of the three protagonists present to the reader images of his own desire, which is both attractive and frightening in the consequences of its realization. To return in reality to that stage in which alternative selves are equally powerful leads to the end of self-consciousness, to madness and/or death. To go there and return with articulable memories of the experience is as impossible as it was for the narrator of "The Pit and the Pendulum" to return from sleep with his memories intact. These stories promise to allow the reader to contemplate such a return within the boundaries of a protective aesthetic structure, but then weaken, perhaps even subvert, the protective structure. Dracula entertains a monster symbolic of human desires to transgress boundaries. The monster is turned loose for a limited time and then repressed, allowing the reader the pleasure of reenacting the formation of the self. These stories, too, turn loose the monster, but do not reenact repression: the monster is left on the loose. Closure is at best equivocal. Equally disturbing is that the monster is no longer in the text, but both there and not there, for the question of the hesitation of the pure fantastic concerns precisely the location of the monster. Whereas the monster is objectively present in most tales of terror employing the marvelous, in tales of the pure fantastic, it is never certainly present. Fantastic hesitation becomes a means of placing the reader off center. The splitting in two of the implied reader threatens the real reader with transformation into the implied reader, with becoming conscious of his dividedness with consequences similar to those that have befallen the protagonists. This threat of transformation, if it is strong enough, can dissolve the aesthetic relationship between the real reader and the work.

     There is a consistency, then, between the themes of the self and the structures of these pure fantastic tales of terror. Only the sensation stories seem minimally concerned with such themes. The tales that offer as part of their pleasure the reenactment of repression tend to produce images of terror that suggest the original repression in which self-consciousness is born. They allow a momentary entertainment or contemplation of the always desired, but forbidden imaginary state of infancy, that is, the adult's "conception" of what infancy must have been like. The pure fantastic tales point in rather a different direction, even though they make use of the same thematic material. By exploiting the pure fantastic, they make possible at least a momentary experience analogous to the imaginary state of infancy. Insofar as the real reader experiences with intensity the split of the implied reader and the threat of being absorbed and, hence, split in himself, he approaches not an image of transgression, but the actual experience of transgression, a brush with madness itself. We may well ask what pleasure there can be in this experience. It is easier to answer this question when we have looked closely at the three great masterpieces of terror fantasy.

End of Chapter 6.

Contents
  Notes &
Permissions
  Preface & Acknowledg-
ments
1:
Introduction
2: Horror in Literature and the Literature of Horror
3: The Marvelous Horror Thriller
4:  The Fantastic/Uncanny Horror Thriller
5: The Aesthetics of the Horror Thriller: Stoker's Dracula
6: The Pure Fantastic Tale of Terror
7:  Anticlosure: Poe's "Ligeia"
8: The Entrapped Critic:
Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher"
9: The Master's Trap:
James's The Turn of the Screw 
10: Escape: An Aesthetics of Terror Fantasy
11: Terror and the Sublime
Sources
Index