• The Sublime Horror of the English Countryside

    Derek Johnston (see profile)
    Cultural Studies, Film Studies, Horror, Television Studies
    Horror, Landscapes, Identity (Psychology)
    Item Type:
    Conference paper
    Conf. Title:
    Gothic Nature: New Directions in Ecohorror and the Ecogothic
    Conf. Org.:
    Trinity College Dublin
    Conf. Loc.:
    Trinity College Dublin
    Conf. Date:
    17-18 November 2017
    Folk horror, Landscape, Identity
    Permanent URL:
    This paper will explore the use of the English landscape as a source of sublime horror, particularly through a shift in perception from idyllic to ominous. Where Peter Hutchings has indicated the importance of the 'uncanny landscape' as a fairly stable location for wrestling with modernity, this chapter will investigate those moments of slippage from the sublime as pleasure and wonder to the sublime as horror. Examples will be drawn from productions such as Glorious 39 (2009), Lark Rise to Candleford (2008-2011), The Living and the Dead (2016) and the Ghost Story for Christmas (1971-1978, 2005-6, 2010, 2013) productions. Non-British productions such as Picnic at Hanging Rock present the invasion of regimented European behaviour into a natural environment that absorbs, rejects and destroys the merely human. However, in the British example, what is central is that this is an already tamed and largely human-formed landscape which suddenly reveals the underlying power of the natural and ancient beneath, a tension exemplified in the combination of awe and terror in the Romantic conception of the Sublime as a possibility of losing oneself in relation to the scale and age of the landscape, with the associated risk of losing one's Self in the realisation that the ancient environment is unconcerned with the existence of an individual person, or the horrors that they may be going through.
    This is the text of the prepared script for the paper and so differs in the detail from what was actually delivered.
    Last Updated:
    5 years ago
    All Rights Reserved


    Item Name: pdf sublime-horror-of-the-english-countryside.pdf
      Download View in browser
    Activity: Downloads: 168