Within the broad field of contemporary literature, horror fiction has only recently developed into a genre which modern scholars may legitimately regard as being worthy of critical attention. This comparative study provides ample proof that horror fiction can be more profound and revealing than many literary critics imagined. The only study of its kind, this book offers detailed critical analysis of the child in horror fiction, with special emphasis on themes relating to the child's social position within the family and its war against parents or authority figures, as well as its various functions as victim, evil innocent, and monster. Special attention is given to the child's consistent, stylized portrayal in horror fiction, which forms a sharp contrast to the appearance of children both in other genres and in real life.
Preface Introduction The Child's Outward Appearance The Child and Its Environment The Victim The "Evil Innocent" The Monster Conclusion Appendix I: The Child in the Horror Film Appendix II: Filmography Notes Selected Bibliography Index
Reviews Despite the frequency with which children are used in science fiction and horror fiction, almost no critical attention has been paid. Bussing's book offers good analyses and an even better taxonomy for the subject; chapters discuss the child's outward appearance, its environment (including friends, foes, and allies), the child as victim, the `evil innocent,' and the `monster' (including the `unholy infant'). Most of these categories are familiar to devotees of horror fiction (or film), and Bussing's perceptiveness includes a wide-ranging familiarity with primary works in several languages as well as with more films on the subject that any one person is likely to have seen.... Bussing most decidely breaks new ground; now others will necessarily have to build on her foundations, and pershaps a similar volume devoted to science fiction (strictly speaking) can follow. Appendixes on `The Child in the Horror Film' and a filmography are thorough and valuable. Notes; selected bibliography. Highly recommended for collections on children and modern fiction.—Choice