In the new book The Philosophy of Horror, from University Press of Kentucky, editor Thomas Fahy gathers a diverse selection of essays. The diversity springs from the fact that many of the authors step outside the traditional concept of horror and redefine what it means. Much of the time, The Philosophy of Horror acts as a refutation of Noël Carroll’s book of the same name.
While Carroll essentially defines horror as something within one’s mind — a fantastic thing — much of the scholarship within this book’s pages attempt to take that definition and expand upon it. In Phillip J. Nickel’s “Horror and the Idea of Everyday Life,” he consides that “the threats that horror presents are not always fictional but can bleed into the real world.” In Thomas Fahy’s “Hobbes, Human Nature, and the Culture of Human Violence,” goes one step further, including the monstrous acts of real-life violence in Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood: “As a ruthless killer, Smith is certainly a realistic monster, and the Clutter murders qualify as horrific events.”
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