Bernice M. Murphy, The Rural Gothic in American Popular Culture, Backwoods Horror and Terror in the Wildernes

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Bernice M. Murphy, popular literature lecturer at Dublin’s Trinity College, opens her wide-ranging survey of The Rural Gothic in American Popular Culture with a telling remark: “it is no coincidence that when American authors and film-makers fantasise about the end of civilisation as they know it, they so often produce narratives which unconsciously evoke the beginnings of European settlement”(2). Indeed, a body of scholarship in gothic fiction (Fiedler, Goddu, Lloyd-Smith) concurs in tracing back the trope of the inherent monstrosity and grotesqueness of the American wilderness and its inhabitants to the literary production that stemmed out of the earliest days of the New World’s conquest, ranging from travellers’ memoirs to captivity tales and puritan novels.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Journal of American Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2016


  • wilderness
  • frontier
  • Gothic fiction

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