Many of the biggest literary successes in the past decade have involved elements of the fantastic, and we have seen these stories come to life on both the small and big screens: Harry Potter, True Blood, The Walking Dead, dare we mention Twilight? This is to say nothing of the various primetime TV shows that reimagine fairy tales, or the ghost story franchises from The Ring to Paranormal Activity. What draws us to these stories of the supernatural? And how do they relate to our real lives? Acclaimed author of magical realism, Kelly Link, explores the pleasure of surprising readers when using traditional story tropes, and discusses the archetypes of the genre. In the second half of the episode, William McKelvy, associate professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis, explains the hallmarks and legacy of Gothic literature.
In addition to the interview below, you can find a reading selection from the short story "The Hortlak" from Kelly's collection Magic for Beginners as well as a reading list based on the episode.
For Further Reading:
Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link; The Monkey's Wedding and Other Stories by Joan Aiken; Dracula by Bram Stoker; Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley; The Turn of the Screw by Henry James; Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte