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Aesthetics of Play: Online Proceedings

by sbrothier
In response to critics of supernatural horror tales, H.P. Lovecraft commenced his now famous work of literature with this incisive reply: The appeal of the spectrally macabre is generally narrow because it demands from the reader a certain degree of imagination and a capacity for detachment from everyday life. Relatively few are free enough from the spell of the daily routine to respond to tappings from outside, and tales of ordinary feelings and events, or of common sentimental distortions of such feelings and events, will always take first place in the taste of the majority... ([1927] 1973 : 12). Reformulated nowadays, Lovecraft might as easily have suggested that the appeal of the spectrally macabre demands that one plays its game. Because, while it is true that all genres are characterized by a set of pre-established conventions that generate a certain number of more or less precise expectations stimulating a certain reflexive game of guesswork and recognition, the horror genre might be the one that has been most often compared to a game.


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