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The horror genre and aspects of Native American Indian literature

Porter, Joy



L. Kremmel


Porter offers a fascinating exploration of the limitations of genre in relation to certain horror literature produced by authors who identify as American Indian. She explores the horror genre as a context within which the Native dispossession foundational to the nation’s identity has been addressed, even if this has been in oblique or heavily sanitized forms. The chapter details how Native writers from diverse traditions across time have used horror both to perpetuate vital elements of Indigenous culture and to reframe and rebalance popular narratives surrounding what should and should not be feared. Her specific analytical focus is the windigo condition, the psychotic urge to consume and advance the self at the expense of all others that so often animates evil in its various incarnations.


Porter, J. (2018). The horror genre and aspects of Native American Indian literature. In K. Corstorphine, & L. Kremmel (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook to Horror Literature (45-60). London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Online Publication Date Nov 8, 2018
Publication Date Nov 7, 2018
Deposit Date Jun 7, 2019
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Pages 45-60
Series Title Palgrave Handbooks
Book Title The Palgrave Handbook to Horror Literature
Chapter Number 3
ISBN 9783319974064; 9783319974057
Keywords Horror Indigenous
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This handbook examines the use of horror in storytelling, from oral traditions through folklore and fairy tales to contemporary horror fiction. Divided into sections that explore the origins and evolution of horror fiction, the recurrent themes that can be seen in horror, and ways of understanding horror through literary and cultural theory, the text analyses why horror is so compelling, and how we should interpret its presence in literature. Chapters explore historical horror aspects including ancient mythology, medieval writing, drama, chapbooks, the Gothic novel, and literary Modernism and trace themes such as vampires, children and animals in horror, deep dark forests, labyrinths, disability, and imperialism. Considering horror via postmodern theory, evolutionary psychology, postcolonial theory, and New Materialism, this handbook investigates issues of gender and sexuality, race, censorship and morality, environmental studies, and literary versus popular fiction.