A Psycho-Biological Approach to Suspense and Horror: Triggers of Emotion in a Passage from Lewis's The Monk
In this article on a passage from Matthew Lewis's The Monk (1796), Peter Wenzel shows how to analyse powerful literary horror texts with a »psycho-biological approach«. Drawing on evolution-based embodied patterns, Lewis's text displays the affect programme of a typical predator-prey confrontation, including the sensation of coldness, bristling hair, body shaking, reduced respiration, and a prey animal's final shock paralysis in view of its predator. Conceptual metaphors and a spell-like poem increase the programme's effect. Concluding with empirical evidence from responses to the text, the article discusses the question to what degree embodied suspense patterns are open to cultural modification.
Wenzel, Peter (2021). A Psycho-Biological Approach to Suspense and Horror: Triggers of Emotion in a Passage from Lewis's The Monk. In: R. L. Victoria Pöhls/ Mariane Utudji (Eds.), Powerful Prose (25-44). Bielefeld: transcript Verlag. https://doi.org/10.14361/9783839458808-003