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NOTES 421

13. I think that it is the fact of criterial prefocusing that Jenefer Robinson leaves out in her
essay on the emotions in fiction in her article “Experiencing Art,” in the Proceedings of the
11th International Congress of Aesthetics, pp. 156“60.
14. This account of horror is defended in No«l Carroll, The Philosophy of Horror (New York:
Routledge, 1990).
15. As I understand these pro attitudes, they are not themselves emotions; rather, they are like
the desires that comprise many everyday emotions.
16. Here, I am extrapolating from what is sometimes called the conflict theory of emotions.
Representatives include F. Paulhan, The Laws of Feeling, translated by C. K. Ogden (New
York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1930); G. Mandler, Mind and Body: Psychology of Emo-
tions and Stress (New York: Norton, 1984); and Keith Oatley, Best Laid Schemes, especially pp.
107“9 and pp. 174“77.
17. This view is defended at greater length in No«l Carroll, The Philosophy of Horror, especially
Chapter 2.
18. See Amelie Rorty,“Explaining Emotions,” in Explaining Emotions, pp. 103“26.
19. This view of fiction is advanced in Gregory Currie, The Nature of Fiction (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1990); and in Peter Lamarque and Stein Haugom Olsen,
Truth, Fiction and Literature:A Philosophical Perspective (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994).


HORROR HUMOR
AND

1. Helmuth Plessner, Laughing and Crying:A Study of the Limits of Human Behavior, trans. James
Spencer Churchill and Marjorie Grene (Northwestern University Press, 1970), pp. 72“73.
2. Walpole himself described the work as a mixture of “buffoonery and solemnity” in the
“Preface to the Second Edition” of The Castle of Otranto (London: Collier-Macmillan,
1963), p. 21. For an analysis of The Castle of Otranto, see Paul Lewis, Comic Effects: Interdisci-
plinary Approaches to Humor in Literature (SUNY Press, 1989), pp. 116“19.
3. Donald F. Glut, The Frankenstein Legend (Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1973), p. 33.
4. Stuart Gordon, as interviewed in Dark Visions, ed. Stanley Wiator (New York: Avon, 1992),
p. 84.
5. Robert Bloch, as interviewed in Faces of Fear, ed. Douglas Winter (New York: Berkeley
Books, 1985), p. 22.
6. Edgar Allan Poe,“American Prose Writers, No. 2: N. P.Willis,” Broadway Journal no. 3, Janu-
ary 18, 1845.
7. Sigmund Freud,“The ˜Uncanny,™” in Studies in Parapsychology (New York: Collier, 1963), pp.
19“62.
8. E. Jentsch, “Zur Psychologie des Unheimlichen,” in Psychiatrischneurologische Wochenschrift,
numbers 22 and 23, 1906.
9. Henri Bergson, Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic, trans. Cloudesley Brereton
and Fred Rothwell (New York: Macmillan, 1911).
10. I have chosen these two films because in both, the Frankenstein monster is played by the same
actor (Glenn Strange, who also played the bartender in the television series Gunsmoke).
11. The notion that problems of perceptual indiscernibility are the hallmark of philosophical
inquiry is advanced by Arthur Danto in his Transfiguration of the Commonplace (Harvard Uni-
versity Press, 1981).
12. I am not fully convinced that we should construct a theory of horror that includes these
psychotics.Thus, what follows is a conditional extension of the theory that I presented in
The Philosophy of Horror under the presumption that the theory should be expanded to
accommodate certain psychotics. So, if one wishes to count The Silence of the Lambs as a
horror fiction, the previous account suggests how that might be done in a way that is max-
imally consistent with my Philosophy of Horror. A similar approach can be found in Peter
Penzoldt, The Supernatural in Fiction (London: Peter Neville, 1952), p. 12, and S.T. Joshi, The
422 NOTES
Weird Tale (University of Texas Press, 1990), p. 80. My theory of horror is elaborated in The
Philosophy of Horror, or, Paradoxes of the Heart (New York: Routledge, 1990).
13. This paragraph repeats an argument that I made in No«l Carroll, “Enjoying Horror Fic-
tions:A Reply to Gaut,” The British Journal of Aesthetics 35 (1995): 67“72.
14. This scene did not appear in the movie adaptation of Needful Things. Perhaps the expenses
involved in producing such a scene were prohibitive.
15. I have characterized the relation of fear and disgust as a complex compound because horror
does not merely involve the simple addition of these two components. Horror is not simply
the result of adding danger to impurity. For when elements that are independently harmful
and impure are yoked together by horrific iconography, the impurity component under-
goes a change. It becomes fearsome in its own right.That is, the impurity element comes to
be fearsome in itself. It is as if the impurity comes to be, so to speak, toxic.The fearsome-
ness component in horrific imagery works like a chemical agent in activating or releasing a
dormant property of the impurity. It catalyzes the impurity component. The impurity of
the monster becomes, in addition to being merely disgusting, one of the fearsome proper-
ties of the monster. In Alien, when the creature bursts out of the egg, it is fearsome because
of its evident power and speed. But the fearsomeness of the creature in light of its power
and speed also encourages us to regard its squishy carapace as dangerous in its own terms.
You wouldn™t want to touch it for fear that it might contaminate you. Horror, then, is not
simply a function of fear in response to the overt lethal capacity of the monster to maim
plus disgust in response to the monster™s impurity. For when fear and disgust are mixed in
horror-provoking imagery, what is disgusting becomes additionally fearsome in its own
way. Call this process toxification.
This process of toxification, moreover, is important theoretically. For one of the things
that happens, as we will see in the next section of this essay, is that when fear is subtracted
from potentially horrific imagery “ as happens in much comedy “ the imagery becomes
detoxified.This is why what I call category jamming is not a sufficient condition for a hor-
rific response. Impure, incongruous entities can be presented detoxified, so to say, as is the
case in much humor.
Lastly, the phenomenon of toxification is important because it suggests a way in which
I might be able to answer a recent criticism of my Philosophy of Horror.
In the process of answering what I call the paradox of horror, I maintained that
being horrified is unpleasant and that the pleasure we derive from horror fictions comes
from elsewhere (notably from our fascination with the design of the monstrosity along
with certain recurrent forms of plotting). Berys Gaut, in contrast, argues that the plea-
sure derived from horror fictions comes from being horrified. One of the ways that
Gaut defends this view is by pointing out that even if being horrified is necessarily typi-
cally unpleasant, this is consistent with some people sometimes taking pleasure from
being horrified. These will be atypical people in atypical situations. And horror audi-
ences, by hypothesis, are of this sort.
Responding to this proposal, I argue that it is strange to regard either the responses of
horror audiences or the situation of being art-horrified by horror fictions to be atypical.
Indeed, I contend that the situation of being art-horrified by horror fictions is the norm,
since we are rarely, if ever, horrified, in the sense of art-horror, anywhere else but in
response to horror fictions. In ordinary experience there are no monsters. So we have little
recourse in real life to be horrified in the sense that I use that term.
But Gaut questions my claim that we rarely, if ever, experience the relevant sort of
horror in real life. He maintains that we often experience fear and disgust separately. So,
if horror is the result of merely conjoining fear and disgust, then there is no reason to
suppose that they might not be experienced together with respect to some object in
real life. However, in response to Gaut, I would like to argue that what I call horror
involves the toxification process discussed in the first paragraph of this note. Thus, art-
horror involves fear (divorced from impurity), disgust, and, as a consequence of the mix-
NOTES 423
ture of these two elements, a third element, namely, fear-of-toxification. This emotion,
particularly with regard to the impression of toxification, is not typical in ordinary life.
It is primarily an artifact of the horror genre. So, it does not seem right to characterize
the horror audience as atypical with respect to art-horror. Rather, they are definitive of
it.Therefore, Gaut cannot exploit the typicality operator, in the way that he suggests, in
order to dissolve the paradox of horror.
See: Berys Gaut, “The Paradox of Horror,” The British Journal of Aesthetics 33 (1993):
333“45; Berys Gaut, “The Enjoyment Theory of Horror: A Response to Carroll,” The
British Journal of Aesthetics 36 (1995): 284“89; and Carroll, “Enjoying Horror Fictions: A
Reply to Gaut” (see note 13).
16. Mary Douglas, Purity and Danger (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1966); and
Edmund Leach, “Anthropological Aspects of Language: Animal Categories and Verbal
Abuse,” in New Directions in the Study of Language, ed. Eric H. Lenneberg (MIT Press,
1964), pp. 23“63.
17. Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, part I, chap. 6.
18. Francis Hutcheson, Reflections on Laughter (Glasgow, 1750), reprinted in John Morreall, ed.,
The Philosophy of Laughter and Humor (SUNY Press, 1987), p. 32.
19. James Beattie,“On Laughter and Ludicrous Composition,” in his Essays (Edinburgh: Creech,
1776);William Hazlitt, Lectures on the English Comic Writers (London: George Bell, 1850); Søren
Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript, trans. David F. Swenson (Princeton University
Press, 1941); Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Idea, trans. R. B. Haldane and John
Kemp, 6th ed. (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1907), book I, section 13.
20. Arthur Koestler, The Act of Creation (London: Hutchinson, 1964); D. H. Monro, Argument of
Laughter (Melbourne University Press, 1951); John Morreall, Taking Laughter Seriously (SUNY
Press, 1983); Michael Clark,“Humor and Incongruity,” Philosophy 45 (1970): 20“32.
21. Adapted from Mel Brooks. See Joshua Halberstam, Everyday Ethics (Harmondsworth: Pen-
guin, 1993), p. 83.
22. No«l Carroll,“On Jokes,” Midwest Studies in Philosophy 16 (1991): 280“301.
23. Interestingly, Beetlejuice, in the film of the same name, resembles a clown. But certainly he
is a clown-monster, if there ever was one.
24. Wolfgang Zucker,“The Clown as the Lord of Disorder,” in Holy Laughter, ed. M. C. Hyers
(New York: Seabury, 1960).
25. Don Handelman, Models and Mirrors: Toward an Anthropology of Public Events (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1990), p. 247.
26. Ibid., p. 242.
27. Pnina Werbner,“The Virgin and the Clown,” Man, n.s. (1986): 21.
28. Paul Bouissac, Circus and Culture:A Semiotic Approach (Indiana University Press, 1976), p. 165.
29. This routine can be seen on Great Comedians:TV “ The Early Years, which is distributed by
Goodtimes Home Video Corp., 401 5th Avenue, New York, New York (Goodtimes Home
Video Corp., 1987; Movietime Inc.Archives, 1986).
30. Similar strategies with respect to the clown-figure are in evidence in the film Spawn by A.
Z. Dipp©, and in the comic book series by Todd McFarlane on which it is based.
31. Of course, I do not mean to suggest that horror and humor are the only mental states in
this neighborhood. Certain types of religious awe are also located in the vicinity of incon-
gruity. Recall that the leading mystery in Christianity “ Christ as simultaneously both god
and man “ revolves around an apparent contradiction.
32. Mary K. Rothbart,“Incongruity, Problem-Solving and Laughter,” in Humour and Laughter:
Theory, Research and Applications, eds.Antony J. Chapman and Hugh C. Foot (London: John
Wiley and Sons, 1976), pp. 37“54. See also Mary K. Rothbart and Diana Pien, “Elephants
and Marshmallows: A Theoretical Synthesis of Incongruity-Resolution and Arousal Theo-
ries of Humour,” and “Psychological Approaches to the Study of Humour,” in It™s A Funny
Thing, Humour, eds. Antony J. Chapman and Hugh C. Foot (New York: Pergamon Press,
1977), pp. 37“40 and 87“94, respectively. Rothbart™s work is also discussed by Paul Lewis in
424 NOTES


his book Comic Effects: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Humor in Literature (SUNY Press, 1989),
chaps. 1 and 4.
33. Mary Rothbart,“Laughter in Young Children,” Psychological Bulletin 80 (1973): 247“56.
34. Moreover, where a fictional environment is “safe,” the impurity of incongruity features of
the relevant monsters are detoxified. See note 15.
35. There may be certain forms of “black humor” in which this generalization does not
appear to obtain. In Roman Polanski™s Cul de Sac, for example, we are invited to laugh
at the bloody death of a self-satisfied bourgeois character. But in cases like these, I
wonder whether the laughter is merely comic, rather than a Hobbesian celebration of
superiority.
36. Versions of this essay have been read at a number of universities and conferences. The
author wishes to thank these audiences for their generous comments, criticisms, and sug-
gestions. Special thanks go to Ted Cohen, John Morreall, Elliott Sober, Robert Stecker,
Michael Krausz, Jerrold Levinson, Stephen Davies, Alex Neill, Annette Michelson, David
Bordwell,Tom Gunning, Lucy Fischer, and Sally Banes. Of course, no one but the author is
responsible for the errors in this essay.


THE PARADOX SU S P E N S E
OF

1. Examples of theorists who take uncertainty to be a key element of suspense include:
Seymour Chatman, Story and Discourse: Narrative Structure in Fiction and Film (Ithaca and
London: Cornell University Press, 1978), p. 170; Eugene Vale, The Technique of Screen and
Television Writing (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1982), pp. 178“79; Andrew Ortony,
Gerald L. Clore, and Allan Collins, The Cognitive Structure of the Emotions (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1988), p. 131; Kendall Walton, Mimesis as Make-Believe
(Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1990), pp. 259“61; Richard J. Gerrig,
Experiencing Narrative Worlds: On the Psychological Activities of Reading (New Haven:Yale
University Press, 1993), p. 77; Richard Michaels, Structures of Fantasy, (Washington, D.C.:
MES Press, 1992), p. 266.
2. Richard J. Gerrig,“Reexperiencing Fiction and Non-fiction,” in the Journal of Aesthetics and
Art Criticism, 47 (1989), pp. 277“80; Richard J. Gerrig,“Suspense in the Absence of Uncer-
tainty,” Journal of Memory and Language, 28 (1989), pp. 633“48; Richard J. Gerrig, Experienc-
ing Narrative Worlds, pp. 79“80, 238“39.
3. What I am calling the paradox of suspense may be regarded as a subparadox in the family
of paradoxes that might be titled paradoxes of recidivism “ that is, paradoxes that involve audi-
ences returning to fictions whose outcomes they already know “ such as mystery stories
and jokes as well as suspense tales “ but which they enjoy nonetheless for their being twice-
(or more) told tales.
4. This section represents a refinement and attempted updating of earlier essays by me that
advance a theory of suspense, including: No«l Carroll,“Toward a Theory of Film Suspense,”
in Persistence of Vision, 1 (1984), pp. 65“89; and No«l Carroll, The Philosophy of Horror (New
York: Routledge, 1990), pp. 137“44.
5. For example, I would argue that George N. Dove mistook suspense for mystery through-
out his book Suspense in the Formula Story, which might have been better titled Mystery in
the Formula Story. See George N. Dove, Suspense in the Formula Story (Bowling Green, Ohio:
Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1989).
6. I do not mean to preclude the possibility of fictions that mix elements of suspense and mys-
tery hierarchically. This Gun for Hire is probably an example of such a mixed genre case “
because, up to a certain point, there are whodunit questions about who is ultimately behind
the assassination “ however, in the main it seems to be a suspense novel.
7. Marie Rodell, Mystery Fiction:Theory and Technique (New York: Hermitage House, 1952), p. 71.
NOTES 425

8. Some fictions may contain courses of events that may have rival outcomes that are uncer-
tain but the text may make nothing of them.Thus, they do not generate suspense.The pre-
ceding condition acknowledges this possibility and, in consequence, requires that the
course of events in question must be one that is made salient, that is, one in which the audi-
ence is alerted to the importance of the rivalry between alternative outcomes.
9. Ortony, Clore and Collins, The Cognitive Structure of Emotions, p. 131.
10. This happens with the character Raven at points in This Gun for Hire.
11. See, for example, D. Zillman and J. R. Cantor,“Affective Responses to the Emotions of a Pro-
tagonist,” in Journal of Experimental and Social Psychology, 8 (1977), pp. 155“65; D. Zillman,T.A.
Hay, and J. Bryant,“The Effect of Suspense and Its Resolution in the Appreciation of Dramatic
Presentation,” in Journal of Research in Personality, 9 (1975), pp. 307“23; D. Zillman,“Anatomy of
Suspense,” in The Entertainment Functions of Television, edited by P. H.Tannenbaum (Hillsdale,
N.J.: Erlbaum, 1980), pp. 133“63; and P. Comisky and J. Bryant,“Factors Involved in Generat-
ing Suspense,” Human Communication Research, 9, no. 1 (1982), pp. 48“58.
12. See Comisky and Bryant for experimental testing along these lines. These experiments
were suggested by earlier findings by Zillman and Cantor that indicated that subjects
responded positively to the euphoria of a boy character when that was subsequent to
benevolent or neutral behavior on his part, whereas they responded negatively when the
euphoria was subsequent to malevolent behavior by the boy.
13. For example, see W. F. Brewer and P. E. Jose, “Development of Story Liking: Character,
Identification, Suspense and Outcome Resolution,” in Developmental Psychology, 20, no. 5
(1984), pp. 911“24.
14. For opposition to the identification model, see D. Zillman, “Anatomy of Suspense”; No«l
Carroll,“Character-Identification?” in The Philosophy of Horror; D.W. Harding,“Psycholog-
ical Processes in the Reading of Fiction,” in Aesthetics in the Modern World, edited by Harold
Osborne (New York:Weybright and Talley, 1968), pp. 300“17. Harding™s article is a devel-
opment of an earlier article entitled: “The Role of the Onlooker,” in Scrutiny, VI, no. 3
(December 1937).
15. This notion of internal probability is crucial to specifying the content of what the audience is
to imagine in the course of consuming a suspense fiction. For from a point of view external
to the fiction, we do not believe that the events in question have any probability. Likewise by
focusing our attention on what is internal to the fiction, we do not imagine that the fiction
was, for example, written by Karl May. From the external point of view, we know that In the
Desert is by Karl May, but we do not imagine that as part of what it is to follow the story. It is
not part of the story, nor should it be part of our imaginative response to the story.This is also
why our knowledge that heroes almost always triumph in stories does not disturb our inter-
nal probability ratings. For it is not information that is inside the fiction operator. It is not part
of the story, and, hence, not something we are supposed to imagine.
16. Of course there are comparable narrative structures in literature as well.
17. Because establishing and reemphasizing the relative probabilities of the competing out-
comes to courses of events will undoubtedly take time, the expositional duration of the
event will reflect this.Thus, I would not deny that the passage of time figures in the articu-
lation of suspense. However, I have not included it as a central ingredient, in its own right,
of suspense. In this I perhaps reveal my suspicions with regard to theorists of suspense who
claim that it arises as a consequence of time being “distended” or outcomes being “delayed”
in the exposition of suspense scenes.
My problem here is that notions like that of temporal distension entail a contrast with
something else “ presumably the event represented is supposed to contrast to the duration

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