‘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: Catholicism; James Herbert; Nazis; The Spear

Document Type: Research Article

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

Publication date: November 1, 2006

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