‘The Art of Darkness’ by W. J. Renehan

The Art of Darkness

Exploring the essence of what it is that makes horror literature frightening, Renehan discusses monsters, the supernatural and all things terrifying. Referring to the likes of H.P. Lovecraft, Peter Straub, Stephen King and Shirley Jackson this is an introduction to the popular genre and our eternal fascination with scary stuff.

Subtitled, ‘Meditations on the Effect of Horror Fiction’, this is very much a book for students of the genre, so it’s hardly surprising that I found the tone a little scholarly at times. However, Renehan’s use of examples from classic horror writers helped illustrate his points and while he doesn’t go into as much detail as I’d have liked, he does provide an overall idea of why horror fiction continues to hold our attention.

Less appealing than I expected, this book left me feeling that I’d missed something, so not one I’m likely to return to any time soon.

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  4 comments for “‘The Art of Darkness’ by W. J. Renehan

  1. 08/09/2019 at 12:03 PM

    Interesting post! I don’t think there’s any genre quite like horror because of all its subgenres. That is, there are so, so, SO many things terrify us that I can’t help but think it would take a series of books to analyze horror fiction properly.

    Hmmm. You’ve got me thinking about a future blog post now…


    • 08/09/2019 at 12:41 PM

      Hi JL – yes, it’s a bit of a can of worms (worms with big spiky teeth and green goo spurting everywhere). I’ve just started reading ‘On Writing Horror’ by The Horror Writers Association, which is also very interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 09/09/2019 at 2:26 AM

        I hope you review it!


      • 09/09/2019 at 9:10 AM

        I will. Only issue so far (with the paperback version) is the very small font. My poor old eyes!

        Liked by 1 person

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