The Dark Side of British Horror Fiction: Politics, Taboos and Censorship


  • Alberto Lázaro University of Alcalá



British literature, censorship, horror fiction, politics, reception studies, religion, sex


Nearly two and a half centuries have passed since the first British Gothic novels began to attract attention with their pages full of monstrous characters, excessive violence, explicit sexual content and all kinds of horrific scenes. For the most part, the reception of this type of literature has been very positive, though not exempt from controversies. This paper seeks to show how, beyond the alluring mystery, inventive plots and attraction of the dark side, British horror fiction appeals to the reader’s inner desires and imagination by means of transgressive political, religious or sexual contents that often defy taboos and social decorum. To illustrate this argument, three well-known authors and texts from three different periods will be discussed: Matthew Gregory Lewis’s The Monk (1796), Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s “Carmilla” (1872) and Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange (1962).


Download data is not yet available.



22. 12. 2017

How to Cite

Lázaro, A. (2017). The Dark Side of British Horror Fiction: Politics, Taboos and Censorship. ELOPE: English Language Overseas Perspectives and Enquiries, 14(2), 69-81.