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10 - Occult Horror

from Part II - Genres

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 July 2022

Stephen Shapiro
University of Warwick
Mark Storey
University of Warwick
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The “occult world,” or occulture, is a term that has developed a very wide meaning in modern academic discourse. The full panoply of occult thinking is enormous. While always mindful of the broader definition of the subject, this essay is largely limited to what the author believes would be an acceptable vernacular definition of the occult as essentially referring to black magic, and most especially to the satanic. This has been a subject with enormous resonance for American history and culture. The argument in this chapter is that Satan has played, and continues to play, a central – and on occasion a decisive – role in American cultural and political life. He is a figure deeply in the American grain, a vivid and personal presence in the lives of many millions of Americans, given powerful and recurring embodiment in American popular culture, in particular. But he is also a presence centrally informing some of the classic works of American literature.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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