Answering lovecraft: Clive barker’s embodied fiction

Curtis D. Carbonell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This article asks how Clive Barker responds to H. P. Lovecraft as a horror writer. It sees in Barker a particular example of how cosmic horror emerges, even as expected Gothic tropes become renewed with interesting variations. In particu-lar, it foregrounds a resistance by Barker to Lovecraft’s insistence that the Weird be a place where writers hint at the monsters that cause ultimate dread rather than drawing them. Barker, though, refuses to balk at such a demand, channel-ling the same instinct that the later Lovecraft himself developed in categorizing with scientific-like granularity the often horrific particulars of the monstrous. This article poses the Cenobites as a fitting example of how Barker combines cosmic and Gothic tropes, both within the frames of the posthuman and draconic, even as they morphed within a shared universe rooted in a Christianized metanarrative. It focuses on The Scarlet Gospels as the most fitting text in which Barker demonstrates his ability to represent the unrepresentable, a dominant concept within fruitful theorizing by thinkers as diverse as Eugene Thacker, Graham Harman and Thomas Ligotti.

    Original languageBritish English
    Pages (from-to)97-117
    Number of pages21
    JournalHorror Studies
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - 1 Mar 2021


    • Barker
    • cosmic
    • Gothic
    • Horror
    • Lovecraft
    • Weird


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