“They Have Risen Once: They May Rise Again”: Animals in Horror Literature

  • Bernice M. Murphy


Although the role played by animals in ecohorror cinema has been amply acknowledged, little attention has been paid to works of horror fiction in which animals feature. As this chapter demonstrates, they have been a component of horror fiction for centuries and can be interpreted (and depicted) in a multiplicity of ways. Animals can be allies, victims, adversaries, and instruments of vengeance. They can be “taken over” by supernatural forces, they can be inherently uncanny, or they can even act as early warning systems. Some non-human species unsettle us with their “alien” physiognomy and, therefore, serve as real-world blueprints for the non-human “monster” in art and fantasy. Other animal species remind us, often uneasily, of the liminal physical and moral boundaries between humanity and the non-human other.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernice M. Murphy
    • 1
  1. 1.School of English, Trinity College DublinDublinIreland

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