Beware the beast in black: The cognitive poetics of terror in 'Night Crawler'

Kim Ebensgaard Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Acknowledging the need for contemporary philology to expand beyond the literary canon, this article presents a stylistic analysis of Judas Priest's 'Night Crawler' within the framework of cognitive poetics (e.g. Stockwell 2002; Steen/Gavins 2003; Burke 2005; Brandt 2008; Vandaele/Brône 2009; Verdonk 2013). Focusing on application of the narrative function of terror (Radcliffe 1826) which is common in Gothic literature and other forms of verbal art that appeal to our human fear of the unknown, the analysis addresses instances of language use in song that deliberately do not observe the maxim of quantity (Grice 1975) in referring to the monstrous antagonist in the narrative told in the song. In keeping with the purpose of cognitive poetics, the analysis also proposes a number of cognitive capacities that the reader is likely to draw on when construing the vague descriptions of the monster in 'Night Crawler'.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhilologie im Netz
Pages (from-to)24-61
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • cognitive poetics
  • cognitve stylistics
  • stylistics
  • stylistics of poetry
  • Heavy Metal
  • rock lyrics
  • cognitive linguistics
  • terror
  • horror
  • construal
  • construal operations
  • Judas Priest
  • metal music studies
  • monstrology

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