Nineteenth-century horror stories operated on the assumption, shared by reader and writer alike that, while ghosts and vampires might or might not exist in real life, there could be no doubting the existence of some sort of supernatural realm, meaning that devils might well walk among us.  Not for nothing were such novels as Dracula shot through with specifically Christian iconography and symbolism.  Indeed, they could never have been written in the absence of Christianity or something very much like it.

From: “Beasts and Superbeasts” in A Terry Teachout Reader (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004), p. 285.  The quotation is from an article originally published in Crisis (1999).

Terry Teachout (born in 1956) is the drama critic for the Wall Street Journal.  He is also a biographer, librettist, essayist, and playwright.


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