Bernice M. Murphy, The Rural Gothic in American Popular Culture, Backwoods Horror and Terror in the Wildernes

Magrin, Alessandra (2016) Bernice M. Murphy, The Rural Gothic in American Popular Culture, Backwoods Horror and Terror in the Wildernes. [Review]

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    Abstract

    Bernice M. Murphy, popular literature lecturer at Dublin’s Trinity College, opens her wide-ranging survey of The Rural Gothic in American Popular Culture with a telling remark: “it is no coincidence that when American authors and film-makers fantasise about the end of civilisation as they know it, they so often produce narratives which unconsciously evoke the beginnings of European settlement”(2). Indeed, a body of scholarship in gothic fiction (Fiedler, Goddu, Lloyd-Smith) concurs in tracing back the trope of the inherent monstrosity and grotesqueness of the American wilderness and its inhabitants to the literary production that stemmed out of the earliest days of the New World’s conquest, ranging from travellers’ memoirs to captivity tales and puritan novels.