Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Woods?: Deep Dark Forests and Literary Horror

  • Elizabeth Parker


This chapter provides a broad introduction to the subject and use of the Deep Dark Forest in literary horror. It interrogates the reasons behind our evidently continuing fears of the woods, highlighting seven main motivations for fearing the forest—the “Seven Theses”—and argues that these ideas are always to be found in texts with themes of arboreal menace. The Seven Theses are: the forest is the imagined antithesis to civilization; the forest is bound to our fears of the past; the forest is a site of gruesome trial; the forest is the space in which we are lost; the forest is the space in which we are eaten; the forest is the manifestation of the human unconscious; and the forest is an antichristian environment.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth Parker
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BirminghamBirminghamUK

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