Gazing Upon “The Daemons of Unplumbed Space” with H. P. Lovecraft and Stephen King: Theorizing Horror and Cosmic Terror
Supernatural Horror in Literature distinguishes between psychological and cosmic horror, with the former turned inward to the darkest recesses of the human mind and the latter focused on external horrors transcending human understanding and control. Lovecraft’s framework has proven indispensable in the critical consideration of horror in literature and popular culture and has been frequently negotiated by authors and critics alike, including by Stephen King’s 1981 critical consideration of the horror genre, Danse Macabre. King uses Lovecraft’s framework as a foundation for exploring contemporary horror. This chapter puts Lovecraft’s and King’s frameworks of horror in conversation with one another, demonstrating the connections between and departures of King’s work from Lovecraft’s theory and highlighting the ways in which supernatural horror is both classically defined and, simultaneously, in constant flux.