Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The comfort of horror and the ambiguities of youth : contemporary Gothic fiction and young readers
Author: Tan, Sumei Karen Anne
ISNI:       0000 0004 6500 6921
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2017
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please try the link below.
Access from Institution:
Contemporary young readers have not just derived comfort from their consumption of gothic texts, they have offered generative responses that indicate huge diversity in both content and format in their interrogation of the gothic. These generative responses, ranging from persuasive writing containing complex argument structures; parodies and satiric play, among other responses, indicate young readers’ confidence and comfort critiquing gothic texts. This is in contrast to well-documented adult fears and moral panic, past and present, about gothic texts’ perceived negative influence on young readers, such as having difficulty differentiating fact from fiction, or being easily misled by gothic’s compelling narratives. Borrowing research from sociology and psychology, in addition to literary theories, and data from neurological studies, this thesis offers a systematic investigation on young readers consuming gothic texts which are targeted at them, as opposed to the implied young reader of the gothic, or gothic texts targeted at adults. Using a historical case study of young adult readers, this study also demonstrates that the phenomenon of young readers avidly and comfortably interrogating the gothic, with no signs of being confused, is in fact, not new. Instead, having identified and defined two separate genres of gothic texts – romance gothic focusing on romance with the monster; and horror gothic which has explicit violence, and grotesque and disgusting elements – this investigation presents original data from fieldwork conducted at two local schools of 23 students (age eleven to thirteen) reading and discussing Darren Shan’s horror gothic text, Lord Loss. Data on reader reception for romance gothic is from young adult readers (age 25 and below), who have comfortably and confidently posted their responses online based on Stephenie Meyer’s romance gothic Twilight series of books and films. Evidence indicates that contemporary young readers are carving out their own unique (albeit transient) conceptual space, in which they have derived great comfort and enjoyment in consuming gothic texts of romance gothic or horror gothic. By sharing their opinions online, and in discussion groups, these young readers are discovering their own voice in passionately embracing or gleefully vanquishing the monster in the comfort of consuming horror.
Supervisor: Cobb, Shelley ; Clery, Emma Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available