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Fiction Horror

Violent Faculties

by (author) Charlene Elsby

Clash Publishing
Initial publish date
Mar 2024
Horror, Black Humor, Feminist
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2024
    List Price

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A philosophy professor tests the limits of the soul and body by performing dehumanizing experiments on unwilling subjects, after the department is closed due to budget cuts.

Violent Faculties follows a philosophy professor influenced by Sade and Bataille. She is ejected by university administrators aiming to impose business strategies in the interest of profit over knowledge.

She designs a series of experiments to demonstrate the value of philosophy as a discipline, not because of its potential for financial benefit, but because of its relevance to life and death. The corpses proliferate as her experiments yield theoretical results and ethical conundrums.

She questions why it is wrong to kill humans, what is it about them that makes their lives sacred, and then attempts to find it in their bodies, their words, their thoughts, and their souls—seeking foundational truths with a knife in her home office.

About the author

Charlene Elsby has a Ph.D. in philosophy from McMaster University, where she worked on Aristotle's notion of non-existence. She is the president of the North American Roman Ingarden Society and vice president of the North American Society for Early Phenomenology. She is the author of several academic works on metaphysics, ontology, aesthetics, literature, and logic. Her first novel, Hexis (Clash Books), was published in February 2020. She lives in Ottawa.

Charlene Elsby's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“I’ve never read anything quite like Charlene Elsby’s Violent Faculties and I suspect I never will again. Part tenure application, part manifesto of sadistic feminism, Elsby’s story of a professor pushed to rational excess by administrative powers-that-be reads like an overview of Western philosophy as written by your brilliant and bloodthirsty best friend who happens to be a malignant narcissist. Elsby’s voice is daring, original, and wholly uncompromising. Violent Faculties is a work of true transgressive transcendence.” —Paula Ashe, Shirley Jackson award-winning author of We Are Here to Hurt Each Other

“One of my favorite contemporary writers… Elsby’s voice winds its way into your head and smashes about like a trapped heron.” —B.R. Yeager, author of Negative Space and Burn You the Fuck Alive

“Elsby is a dark magician with words.” —Samantha Krewulak, author of Horror Bound

“Charlene Elsby is in a class of her own invention—a voice to follow all the way into the dark.” —Mila Jaroniec, author of Plastic Vodka Bottle Sleepover

“Elsby engulfs the reader in an oppressive interiority, draping her characters’ damaged psyches over our heads and slowly, diabolically, cinching them ‘round our necks, until all we can see is just how snugly they might fit us. Even if you think it’s you who’s getting inside these characters’ minds, rest assured, by the time you’re finished with them, you’ll never get them out of yours again.” —David Fitzgerald, author of Troll

"Fusing philosophy and horror, with a sinister dose of torture porn, Charlene Elsby's Violent Faculties is a masterful tale of human misery and the macabre, a story that transcends its innermost psychosocial experiments and becomes a cautionary tale by way of academic study. Elsby is at the peak of her powers, and this book is her calling card. I can't wait to see what sadistic experiments she has in store for us next." —Michael J. Seidlinger, author The Body Harvest and Anybody Home?

“Elsby’s commentary is razor-sharp, her brutality, unflinching. Violent Faculties has earned a place in my top reads of the year.” Rae Knowles, author of Merciless Waters

"A disturbing dissertation on humanity that lures you into its extreme experiment in philosophical flagellation and doesn't dismiss you until the final footnote." —Brian McAuley, author of Curse of the Reaper and Candy Cain Kills

"Fierce, clever, and wholly unapologetic, Charlene Elsby's Violent Faculties will mash your brain into mush."—Ronald Malfi, author of Shamrock Alley and Floating Staircase

"An absorbing, twisted tale of psychosis, murder, and grief." —Kirkus Reviews



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