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‘A decadent appetite for the lurid’?: James Herbert, The Spear and ‘Nazi Gothic’

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Abstract:

This article examines the ways in which James Herbert's The Spear (1978) attempted to combine nineteenth century gothic with the contemporary thriller. The novel deals with the activities of a neo-Nazi organisation, and the essay draws parallels between Herbert's deployment of National Socialism and the treatment of Roman Catholicism in earlier Gothic texts. Contextualising the novel within a wider fascination with Nazism in 1970s' popular culture, it also considers the ethical difficulties in applying techniques from supernatural Gothic to secular tyranny.

Keywords: The Spear; Catholicism; James Herbert; Nazis

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7227/GS.8.2.6

Affiliations: Loughborough University

Publication date: November 1, 2006

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  • The official journal of the International Gothic Association considers the field of Gothic studies from the eighteenth century to the present day. The aim of Gothic Studies is not merely to open a forum for dialogue and cultural criticism, but to provide a specialist journal for scholars working in a field which is today taught or researched in almost all academic establishments. Gothic Studies invites contributions from scholars working within any period of the Gothic; interdisciplinary scholarship is especially welcome, as are readings in the media and beyond the written word.
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