August 22nd, 2012 / 4:58 pm
Behind the Scenes

Fall Semester Reading List: 21st Century Horror

For those of you who might be interested, click through for the reading list I’ve assigned the students taking my “Contemporary Literature: 21st Century Horror” course this fall.

Opening Materials

“The Definition of Horror” by Noel Carroll, a chapter from The Philosophy of Horror: Or, Paradoxes of the Heart

“Through a Mirror, Darkly: Art-Horror as a Medium for Moral Reflection” by Philip Tallon,  an essay from the collection The Philosophy of Horror

Severed by Scott Snyder (2012)

The Orange Eats Creeps by Grace Krilanovich (2010)
+ “Monster Culture (Seven Theses)” by Jefferey Jerome Cohen, an essay from the collection Monster Theory: Reading Culture

Entrance to a colonial pageant in which we all begin to intricate by Johannes Göransson (2011)
+ “Parasites and Perverts: An introduction to Gothic Monstrosity” by Judith Halberstam, a chapter from Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters

The Marbled Swarm by Dennis Cooper (2011)
+ “The Human” by John Gray, a chapter from Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals

Maximum Gaga by Lara Glenum (2009)
+ “Approaching Abjection” by Julia Kristeva,  a chapter from Powers of Horror

Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials (Anomaly) by Reza Negarestani (2008)
+ “Black Infinity; Or, Oil Discovers Humans” by Eugene Thacker, an essay from the collection Leper Creativity: Cyclonopedia Symposium

Anatomy Courses by Blake Butler & Sean Kilpatrick (2012)
+ “Formless” by Georges Bataille, from the essay collection Visions Of Excess: Selected Writings, 1927-1939




[Previous reading lists I’ve posted include: “Major Figures in American Literature: Gertrude Stein” and “Introduction to Experimental Literature” and “American Postmodernism” and “The European Avant-Garde 1900-1945” and “20th-21st Century Experimental Short Stories“]


  1. Neil Griffin

      I’d like to be in your class Orange Eats Creeps is being discussed. That was a strange experience.

  2. frrrrrank

      Yeah that is an awesome book but I could see it not going over well. Didn’t see it as horror much and that’s the worst when students feel “betrayed” by a class or whatever.

  3. Spenser Davis

      This is one of my favorite ongoing ‘columns’ on htmlgiant. Are there any sites/blogs that collect these sorts of lists? I like to go back to these when trying to learn something new or finding something new to read.

  4. lorian long


  5. Ethan

      This class sounds awesome. I just read The Orange Eats Creeps and The Marbled Swarm back-to-back. I enjoyed them both though I agree with frrrrrank that I didn’t see The Orange Eats Creeps as horror, but damn that flatso pancake “steamroller” scene in The Marbled Swarm was intense and disturbing, not many gory death scenes have gotten under my skin quite like that one did.

  6. deadgod

      The difference between haunt and monster is interesting.

      –that is, the distinction between “horror” that yields eventually or ultimately to ratiocination – the ghost is the leftover of an unjust death; the psychopath’s violence stems from a life story or a knowable mental illness; the violence makes sense from the point of view of revenge or karma – and “horror” that’s unintelligibly rooted – an agent of suffering that’s ‘motivelessly malignant’ – .

  7. mimi

      wish i could go back to skool

  8. reynard

      maximum gaga so yum i miss that book it probably is somewhere blowing minds with a fist full of flowers in the shape of a skull i hope i hope i hope i should buy it again but sometimes i like the idea of a book living inside me like a virus made of memory which is like, maybe almost nothing

  9. Golgonooza

      Nice list, I’d take this class in a heartbeat! Maybe throw some Thomas Ligotti in there, perhaps Teatro Grottesco?

  10. Quincy Rhoads

      Your reading lists make me long for college.

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  12. Nick K

      This looks like an interesting class, but except for the theoretical texts it does seem to me like you’re interested in Horror. How do you define Horror? Not as a genre, it doesn’t look like.

  13. herocious

      The Orange Eats Creeps still has my bookmark somewhere in the middle. I look at it and think about finishing it when the time is right. Anyone here ever read this horror piece? It definitely falls into this category.

  14. Isaac Estep

      Cyclonopedia is so dope!

  15. J.S.A. Lowe

      Mostly honestly I’m bleak with envy that a PhD candidate gets to teach these kinds of classes. As an MFA student I entered a competition and scored a single lit section of my own device, Post-Apocalyptic Fiction & Feminist Theory; but since then it’s been all comp/rhet. Gah. Maybe I should transfer to your program—

  16. Cassandra Troyan
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