OpenCampus Tea-Time Talks – Gothic Nature presents ‘The Wendigo and Colonial Monstrosity in Algernon Blackwood and Stephen King’
Dr Kevin Corstorphine, Lecturer in American Studies; Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education
This talk examines Algernon Blackwood’s 1910 novella The Wendigo and Stephen King’s 1983 novel Pet Sematary, as well as other works of horror and supernatural fiction.
It follows the work of ecologically minded critics such as Simon C Estok, who argues that human interactions with the environment have been characterised not just by destruction but by a mindset of “ecophobia”.
The particular fearful focus of this discussion will be the figure of the mythical Wendigo, which inhabits both a place within specific Native American traditions and the imagination of the colonial settlers of North America. A spirit characterised by cannibalism, the Wendigo is highly evocative of the destructive greed of the coloniser and of human treatment of nature in general.