'Better the house than an asylum': Gothic strategies in Robert Bloch's 'Psycho'

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


    Published in 1959 and filmed by Alfred Hitchcock the following year, Robert Bloch's Psycho has long been hailed as a groundbreaking and iconic horror text, not least because of its links to a real-life serial killer. Previous treatments of the text in both its novelized and cinematic forms have concentrated on depictions of gender as with Julie Tharp's "The Transvestite as Monster: Gender Horror in the 'Silence of the Lambs' and 'Psycho'," issues of identity in the 1950s as in Mark Jancovich's "Rational Fears" and psychoanalytical concerns as in David Punter's "Robert Bloch's 'Psycho': some pathological context.s" Following John A. McDermott, who discusses "Psycho's" literary heritage of horror with reference to its specific antecedents in "'Do You Love Mother, Norman'?: Faulkner's 'A Rose for Emily' and Metalious's 'Peyton Place' as sources for Robert Bloch's 'Psycho,'" this chapter considers how the Gothic operates in Bloch's influential novel through an examination of its themes, tropes and narrative structures. Whereas the Bates motel is the initial site of horror, it is in the Bates house that Bloch's depictions of haunting find their fullest expression.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe man who collected psychos: critical essays on Robert Bloch
    EditorsB. Szumskyj
    Place of PublicationJefferson, NC
    Number of pages13
    ISBN (Print)9780786442089
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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