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Monster Theory

Reading Culture

1996

Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, editor

Monster Theory

Explores concepts of monstrosity in Western civilization from Beowulf to Jurassic Park.

The contributors to Monster Theory consider beasts, demons, freaks and fiends as symbolic expressions of cultural unease that pervade a society and shape its collective behavior. Through a historical sampling of monsters, these essays argue that our fascination for the monstrous testifies to our continued desire to explore difference and prohibition.

Contributors: Mary Baine Campbell, David L. Clark, Frank Grady, David A. Hedrich Hirsch, Lawrence D. Kritzman, Kathleen Perry Long, Stephen Pender, Allison Pingree, Anne Lake Prescott, John O'Neill, William Sayers, Michael Uebel, and Ruth Waterhouse.

This collection of essays is truly outstanding. Monster Theory makes important claims pertinent to the study of culture. I know of no other book that can compare to it.

Marie-Hélène Huet, University of Michigan

We live in a time of monsters. Monsters provide a key to understanding the culture that spawned them. So argue the essays in this wide-ranging and fascinating collection that asks the question, What happens when critical theorists take the study of monsters seriously as a means of examining our culture?

In viewing the monstrous body as a metaphor for the cultural body, the contributors to Monster Theory consider beasts, demons, freaks, and fiends as symbolic expressions of cultural unease that pervade a society and shape its collective behavior. Through a historical sampling of monsters, these essays argue that our fascination for the monstrous testifies to our continued desire to explore difference and prohibition.

Contributors: Mary Baine Campbell, Brandeis U; David L. Clark, McMaster U; Frank Grady, U of Missouri, St. Louis; David A. Hedrich Hirsch, U of Illinois; Lawrence D. Kritzman, Dartmouth College; Kathleen Perry Long, Cornell U; Stephen Pender; Allison Pingree, Harvard U; Anne Lake Prescott, Barnard College; John O'Neill, York U; William Sayers, George Washington U; Michael Uebel, U of Virginia; Ruth Waterhouse.


Monster Theory

Jeffrey Jerome Cohen is assistant professor of English and associate director of the Program in Human Sciences at George Washington University.

Monster Theory

This collection of essays is truly outstanding. Monster Theory makes important claims pertinent to the study of culture. I know of no other book that can compare to it.

Marie-Hélène Huet, University of Michigan

An exciting and original book, Monster Theory makes a significant contribution to cultural studies across periods, genres, and disciplines.

Helen Deutsch, University of California, Los Angeles