Monsters, Perversion, and Enjoyment: Toward a Psychoanalytic Theory of Postmodern Horror




黃涵榆(Han-Yu Huang)

Key Words

enjoyment ; extimacy ; fantasy ; Gothic ; horror ; monster ; Father-jouissance ; perversion ; postmodern ; superego ; uncanny


Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies

Volume or Term/Year and Month of Publication

33卷1期(2007 / 01 / 01)

Page #

87 - 110

Content Language


English Abstract

This essay looks at ”horror” both as a narrative (literary and especially cinematic) genre and as a trans-genre, postmodern social and cultural milieu, one in which horror has become entangled with excessive, pathological fantasy and enjoyment. First, the traditional, 19th-century literary-Gothic motifs (excess, monstrosity, transgression, and uncanny doubling) will be explored in the light of such psychoanalytic concepts as the uncanny, extimacy, and the ”subject-beyond-subjectivization.” Then the reworking or transformation of these motifs, especially the monster motif, in contemporary ”postmodern” horror films like Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) and Jonathan Demme's The Silence of the Lambs (1991) will be discussed. This ”new Monster” will be described in terms of the superego, aggression, and perversion in our contemporary ”culture of enjoyment”; a key notion here is the move from Freudian superego as the collective moral voice of society (moral conscience) to Lacanian superego as perverse command to ”enjoy ourselves.” The essay's final section offers some psychoanalytical-ethical reflections on reading contemporary, horror-immersed culture.

Topic Category 人文學 > 人文學綜合
人文學 > 歷史學
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