Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives
From Keats to King.

Yes! This is still going slower than I'd like, but I've just managed to incorporate into my thesis one of the conceptual points that's been kicking around my head for the last two years: how the three-tiered model for horror stories Stephen King describes in his 1981 Danse Macabre connects to the idea of negative capability John Keats described in a letter to his family in 1817. This is a bizarre little intellectual high I've got right now, like finally clicking a particularly problematic puzzle piece into place. Excellent.

From the King:

The closest I want to come to definition or rationalization is to suggest that the genre [of horror] exists on three more or less separate levels, each one a little less fine than the one before it. The finest emotion is terror, that emotion which is called up in the tale of The Hook and also in that hoary old classic, "The Monkey's Paw". We actually see nothing outright nasty in either story; in one we have the hook and in the other there is the paw, which, dried and mummified, can surely be no worse than those plastic dogturds on sale at any novelty shop. It's what the mind sees that makes those stories such quintessential tales of terror. It is the unpleasant speculation called to mind when the knocking on the door begins in the latter story and the grief-stricken old woman rushes to answer it. Nothing is there but the wind when she finally throws the door open... but what, the mind wonders, might have been there if her husband had been a little slower on the draw with that third wish?

Current THESIS score: 24,303, or 1,124 words up over my last post. Not great, but I wound up spending about an hour thumbing through Danse Macabre to find that passage that I last read when I was riding on the bus to high school.

For the most part I have an astoundingly crappy memory, but sometimes it comes through for me. Thanks, brain.

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