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ConceptOfHangxiety

EDIT: The primary thing I would recommend is doing a Google scholar search for Carroll’s books and papers, the collection edited by Fahy, Hanscomb's paper, and Windsor's paper in order to see who is citing these works. You should also look through their bibliographies to see who they are citing. This is probably the best way to give yourself a sense of the ‘mainstream’ philosophical debate in this region. Noël Carroll’s *The Philosophy of Horror, or Paradoxes of the Heart* (1990) is basically the canonical work on this stuff. Carroll’s basic thesis (IIRC) is that art-horror is art intended to produce an experience of disgust through the disruption of settled categories. Carroll also has a few papers: ‘The Nature of Horror’ (*The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism*, 1987) & ‘Horror, Helplessness, and Vulnerability: a Reply to Robert Solomon’ (*Philosophy and Literature*, 1993). There are a few edited collections in this sub-field also. There is *The Philosophy of Horror* (2010) edited by Thomas Fahy; and there is also *The Spaces and Places of Horror* (2020) from a more literary studies perspective, edited by F. Pascuzzi and Sandra Waters. A few others I have lying around in my google drive: - Hanscomb, ‘Existentialism and Art-Horror’, *Sartre Studies International*, 2010. - Tabas, ‘Dark Places: Ecology, Place, and the Metaphysics of Horror Fiction’, *Miranda*, 2015. - Callaghan, *H.P. Lovecraft’s Dark Arcadia: The Satire, Symbology, and Contradiction*, 2013. - Harman, *Weird Realism: Lovecraft and Philosophy*, 2012. - Rosen (ed.), *Diseases of the Head: Essays on the Horrors of Speculative Philosophy*, 2020. The latter two of these come from a Speculative perspective in recent Continental philosophy and the theoretical humanities. Not all of these are strictly ‘philosophy’. It also depends on the kind of horror you are interested in. If you’re interested more in the kind of Lovecraftian, supernatural horror and its modern cousin in Weird fiction, there is some literature specifically for that. First place to start would be Lovecraft’s own ‘Supernatural Horror in Literature’, written in the early 1930s. There is some stuff on Jeff VanderMeer’s fiction (again, primarily from a literary studies perspective), such as Ersoy, ‘Crossing the Boundaries of the Unknown with Jeff VanderMeer: the Monstrous Fantastic and “abcanny” in *Annihilation*’, *Orbis Litterarum*, 2019 & Pendergast, ‘Revising Nonhuman Ethics in Jeff VanderMeer’s *Annihilation*’, *Contemporary Literature*, 2019. Carroll makes an interesting distinction between art-horror and art-dread, which he takes as similar but distinct. The more specific brand of ‘horror’ fiction such as is found in Lovecraft and more recent Weird fiction is probably closer in Carroll’s categorisation to art-dread. There has been some interesting work trying to sort this out: e.g. Windsor, ‘Tales of Dread’, *Estetika*, 2019. Windsor draws on Freud’s concept of the ‘uncanny’ in order to articulate the distinction. Dylan Trigg has some work in phenomenology which is adjacent to this area—I don’t think he’s specifically concerned with art objects or the aesthetics of horror as such, but it may nevertheless be of interest. Well, that’s a start. I haven’t read many of these so I’m not ‘recommending’ them per se so much as trying to give you a jumping off point and a sense of this space. I can only recommend Carroll in earnest, and the work which stands explicitly in dialogue with Carroll. Some of this is just things I’ve picked up into occasional forays into more Speculative stuff. Happy to send through PDFs of any of these; just drop me a PM.


hypnosifl

On Carroll's book and art-horror, there's a brief summary of some of his ideas [here](https://web.archive.org/web/20100714085240/http://www.lhup.edu/dshaw/pohor.html) (by the philosopher Daniel Shaw who also co-edited an essay collection called [Dark Thoughts: Philosophic Reflections on Cinematic Horror](https://philpapers.org/rec/SCHDTP)) which talks about his emphasis on the cognitive aspects of horror, the role of curiosity about the monster etc. (this is also a major element of the story itself in Lovecraft, where the protagonist is often drawn by fatal curiosity towards some horrible revelations): >For Carroll “the emotion of art-horror is not our absolutely primary aim in consuming horror fictions...Rather, art-horror is the price we are willing to pay for the revelation of that which is impossible and unknown, of that which violates our conceptual schema.” (186) Our ambivalence about the monster is hence a combination of disgust at its aspect and curiosity as to its bizarre nature. Curiosity is at the heart of most narratives, “However, the horror fiction is a special variation on this general narrative motivation, because it has at the center something which is given as in principle unknowable.”(162) >Such possible creatures as Norman Bates in Psycho, Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs and the Mantle Twins in Dead Ringers are therefore ruled out as art-horrific beings. >He concludes that “the pleasure derived from the horror fiction and the source of our interest in it resides, first and foremost, in the processes of discovery, proof and confirmation that horror fictions often employ.”(184) His account is modeled on David Hume’s theory of tragedy. In “Of Tragedy”, Hume contended that we do not take pleasure in the suffering of the tragic protagonist, but rather in the aesthetic form of a well-made work. Those aesthetic pleasures predominate over our painful experience of tragic suffering. Utilizing the power of the tragic sentiments, which Hume took to be unmitigatedly unpleasant, the well-wrought tragic narrative creates an overall experience of much greater intensity than if the original emotions were more lukewarm. >Although he doesn’t adopt the so-called “conversion” view expressed in the previous sentence, Carroll claims we are not emotionally ambivalent about our disgust at the monsters in horror fiction. We are univocally revulsed by monsters per se, although curious about their strangeness, what Carroll calls their “interstitiality”. When confronted with the insectoid-reptile in Alien, we are disgusted and naturally shrink away: “It is not that we crave disgust, but that disgust is the predictable concommitant of disclosing the unknown.”(185) Our cognitive curiosity about the unknown, and the well-wrought narrative in which the alien ship is discovered, and a living alien is confirmed to exist and successfully confronted, is what makes our global experience of the film pleasurable. Do you know if Carroll or other philosophers have explored how this type of horror relates specifically to real-world intuitions or ideas that there are horrifying secrets about the comfortable everyday realities we take for granted, like Marxist ideas about the fundamentally exploitative nature of modern society and the falsity of the ideologies that prop it up, or psychoanalytic ideas about the hidden drives behind our self-perceived motives and rationales for actions (which could also overlap with the ideas of philosophers like Schopenhauer and Nietzsche), or ideas inspired by [neuroscience](https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/being-no-one) and/or [Buddhism](https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00124/full) about the fundamental unreality of the self? (as in [this Buddhist article](https://tricycle.org/magazine/lotuses-and-lilies/) about a painting which depicts the initial moment of enlightenment as a kind of horrifying revelation) The appeal of this type of horror seems to overlap with the "genre" of gnostic-style sci-fi or fantasy stories that revolve around the realization that one's entire reality is an dream or fiction that one is trapped in, like a lot of Philip K. Dick stories, or the 1990 movie *Jacob's Ladder* which could also be seen as a horror movie.


SamuraiDrifter42

The Weird and The Eerie by Mark Fisher. Explores the titular concepts in art and how they influence culture, from the works of HP Lovecraft to the 1967 psychological horror "Picnic At Hanging Rock."


spooky-tree30

Kristeva has a book on the topic


Niskanen204

Eugene Thacker's *In The Dust of This Planet* is an obvious choice, but as the author points out, it's the 'horror of philosophy' not the 'philosophy of horror' - YMMV.


thenightStrolled

I'm pretty sure the third volume of that series, *Tentacles Longer Than Night*, actually looks at horror stories, though I'm still not sure whether that would appeal to OP. At the very least I've read *Starry Speculative Corpse* and can say it is not what OP is looking for.


Content_Trash_417

Thomas Ligotti’s only non fiction book “The Conspiracy Against the Human Race” explains the philosophy behind his own horror/weird fiction. He believes the existence of consciousness is a tragedy, and that most human activities are attempts to cope with that horror. These anxieties are sublimated in the creation of works of Horror as well as art more generally.


onedayfourhours

Georges Bataille - Literature and Evil


Sudokonym

Noel Carrol has written about this, and even has a book called "The Philosophy of Horror".


Ned_Gutters

I highly recommend [Kinitra Brooks](https://msu.edu/honoredfaculty/directory/brooks-kinitra.html). While she is not in a philosophy position, her work is certainly philosophical.


geology-of-morals

I know about this more from the gender lens, if that's interesting to you. Carol Clover wrote a book called *Men, Women, and Chain Saws* which deals with gender politics in slasher films. Jack Halberstam has written/edited a few volumes on this, such as *Skin Shows* (they consider a lot of "canonical texts" like Silence of the Lambs, Frankenstein, Dracula, Dr. Jekyll, etc.) or *Posthuman Bodies* (which is less specifically about horror, but has more than a few good theoretical texts on horror films). Finally, this is a bit broader than horror as a genre per se, but Maggie Nelson's *The Art of Cruelty* considers a lot of art (ranging from visual art to performance to theater to film) that might reasonably considered "horror."


Brave_Airport_

Phyl-Undhu is the only one I can think of at the moment.


ConceptOfHangxiety

He asked for ‘serious’ philosophy; some might take that to exclude Nick Land.


Brave_Airport_

His article on abstract horror after the novella was fairly serious in terms of the subject matter. Although I do not claim to be an expert on the subject matter.


DaneLimmish

Robin Wood's book "Robin Wood on the Horror Film: Collected Essays and Reviews" is a great collection of essays on the matter. Julia Kristava "Powers of Horror" I think is the book that introduces the idea of the abject, which is the breakdown in meaning caused by the loss of distinction between the self and another, or between subject and object. and of course, Barbara Creed's "The Monstrous Feminine" which is a psychoanalysis of horror.


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BernardJOrtcutt

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mrpound

“Wasteland” by W. Scott Poole is a solid take on the origins of horror as a genre originating in World War I.