The Gothic Imagination: Conversations on Fantasy, Horror, and Science Fiction in the Media (2011)


Product Details

Palgrave MacMillan
Publish Date
6.0 X 1.0 X 9.0 inches | 1.66 pounds

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About the Author

Author John C. Tibbetts: John C. Tibbetts is Associate Professor of Film at the University of Kansas, USA. His has published sixteen books and his articles on film, literature, painting, theatre, and music have appeared in Notes, Film Comment, Opera News, Historical Journal of Film, Radio, Television, Journal of Popular Film and Television, and Literature/Film Quarterly. He has previously worked as a broadcaster for National Public Radio, the Christian Science Monitor Radio Network, Voice of America, and CBS television. Both of his radio series, The World of Robert Schumann and Piano Portraits, have been heard worldwide on the WFMT broadcast network and National Public Radio. He was awarded the 2008 Kansas Governor's Arts in Education Award. Video and audio collections from his thirty years in broadcasting and education are currently being prepared for installation at the Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center in 2012.


"Tibbetts (Schumann: A Chorus of Voices) brings a fan's enthusiasm and a scholar's acumen to the dozens of interviews of professionals in horror, fantasy, science film, art, and comics that make up this engrossing study of the Gothic and its commingling of 'terror and wonder.' Corralling the contents into nine loosely organized chapters ('The Heroic Age of Fantasy and Science Fiction, ' 'The Music of Terror, ' etc.), he presents his Q&As like private conversations recorded in rooms full of experts. Some chapters are fairly straightforward, among them 'The Lovecraft Circle, ' which presents the words of Robert Bloch, Ramsey Campbell, Ted Klein, and other writers influenced by the horror tales of H.P. Lovecraft. His chapter 'Postmodern Gothic, ' on the other hand, juxtaposes the insights of horror masters Stephen King and Peter Straub, to those of science fiction master Brian Aldiss and true-crime specialist Harold Schechter for a fascinating reflection on the modern evolution of the Gothic tradition. Entertaining and informative, this book proves that smart questions invariably elicit smart responses from masters of the fantastic in the arts." - PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

"The book serves as a wide-reaching introduction to a variety of viewpoints on the Gothic, extending the Gothic far beyond the Romantic-era horror stories most commonly associated with the mode by other writers. The true proof of Tibbetts' skill at the art of the interview is perhaps the effect that his book is capable of having on an intelligent reader: rather than ending a conversation, the book opens up a discussion to the critical community at large." - Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts

"John C. Tibbetts' wild and exuberant anthology of interviews will certainly test your synapses as well as your literary prejudices." - From the preface by Richard Holmes"Our literature starts with a vision of blackness, and I think that has a lot to do with the fact that our country at first was mostly untamable forest. There were truly bad things out there. Now, we don't want to have that. We want to believe in the surface of things . . .But I think daily life is still filled with uncertainty, anxiety, and fear. Nobody's life is really safe." - Interview with Peter Straub

"What I want to do is use a scientific theory to give you experiences you've never had before . . .like ghosts you've never seen before, in contexts that you've never really experienced. [With] an underpinning and a mythos to what you're seeing that it almost makes sense, and that's what provides the scare." - Interview with Greg Bear

"Absolutely fascinating. Tibbetts has written a work of striking originality, demonstrating how important recorded oral history is to the serious study of mass culture." - David Culbert, John L. Loos Professor of History, Louisiana State University and editor, Historical Journal of Film, Radio, and Television

"With both the knowledgeable enthusiasm of a lifelong fan and the analytical expertise of an accomplished scholar, Tibbetts has managed to coax some shrewdly observed critical insights, revealing personal anecdotes, and sometimes bittersweet emotional ruminations from his wide range of interviewees, whether they be writers, editors, artists, collectors, or filmmakers. And he captures very well the highly individualized tone and personality of each of his subjects. Evocative and intellectually stimulating, this collection works both as a celebration of and an elegy about a bygone age of popular-cultural achievement." - Kenneth Z. Jurkiewicz, Associate Professor of Broadcast and Cinematic Arts, Central Michigan University