“Maggot Maladies”: Origins of Horror as a Culturally Proscribed Entertainment

  • Sarah Cleary


In his review of Matthew Lewis’s Gothic novel, The Monk (1789), Samuel Coleridge lamented how “the monk [sic] is a romance, which if a parent saw in the hands of a son or daughter he might reasonably turn pale,” not alone in his denunciation of the Gothic novel. Eighteenth-century critics described it as something akin to a “virus […] spreading in all directions.” Likening the author Charlotte Dacre’s imaginative impulses to a putrid infection, reviewers similarly proclaimed her work a “malady of maggots.” Throughout the course of this chapter, controversies that surrounded early Gothic texts are explored as historical precedents, in terms of how precursors to the horror novel were viewed negatively as forms of entertainment capable of corruption and immorality.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Cleary
    • 1
  1. 1.Trinity CollegeDublinIreland

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