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The Evolution of Horror: A Neo-Lovecraftian Poetics

  • Mathias Clasen
Chapter

Abstract

Recent advances in the sciences of human nature, such as evolutionary psychology, the cognitive science of religion, and cognitive and affective neuroscience, corroborate key aspects of Lovecraft’s poetics of horror as delineated in Supernatural Horror in Literature, including his claim about a natural basis for the appeal of horror stories and his claim that people are biologically susceptible to superstitious fear. Horror and weird stories depend on ancient, evolved mechanisms in human nature, as Lovecraft claimed, and because of recent scientific advances, we are now in a position to chart these mechanisms and explain their evolutionary history as well as their relevance to the academic study of horror and weird fiction.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mathias Clasen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EnglishAarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark

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