Through the lens of Folk Horror: Courbet’s late landscapes
This paper explores Jean-Désiré-Gustave Courbet’s late landscapes using Folk Horror tropes as an interpretational framework. Folk Horror is regarded as a subset of the horror genre and is therefore located within the terrain of contemporary popular culture; a concern with the otherness of the landscape, nature, failed/misguided agency, and rural culture are at its core. An inherent pessimism drives Folk Horror’s ‘jamming’ of normative bucolic representations subverting man’s surety of sovereignty over nature, thereby tolling with our current catastrophic failure to address how human agency has affected climate change. Bringing a Folk Horror lens to bear on Courbet’s anti-human animism seeks to connect 19th century painting with the ecosocial and cultural concerns of our own time.
Keywords: Folk Horror; Jean-Désiré-Gustave Courbet; Anthropocene; the Anthropocene Unconscious, pessimism; animism; Otherness; landscape; painting; film; speculative realism, ecosocial; pop culture.