On Monsters: an unnatural history of our worst fears

Oxford University Press (2009)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Hailed as "a feast" (Washington Post) and "a modern-day bestiary" (The New Yorker), Stephen Asma's On Monsters is a wide-ranging cultural and conceptual history of monsters--how they have evolved over time, what functions they have served for us, and what shapes they are likely to take in the future. Beginning at the time of Alexander the Great, the monsters come fast and furious--Behemoth and Leviathan, Gog and Magog, Satan and his demons, Grendel and Frankenstein, circus freaks and headless children, right up to the serial killers and terrorists of today and the post-human cyborgs of tomorrow. Monsters embody our deepest anxieties and vulnerabilities, Asma argues, but they also symbolize the mysterious and incoherent territory beyond the safe enclosures of rational thought. Exploring sources as diverse as philosophical treatises, scientific notebooks, and novels, Asma unravels traditional monster stories for the clues they offer about the inner logic of an era's fears and fascinations. In doing so, he illuminates the many ways monsters have become repositories for those human qualities that must be repudiated, externalized, and defeated.

Similar books and articles

Is Genetically Modified Food Unnatural?Helena Siipi - 2015 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 28 (5):807-816.
Foucault and the Enigma of the Monster.Luciano Nuzzo - 2013 - International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique 26 (1):55-72.
Where monsters dwell.David Israel & John Perry - 1996 - In Jerry Seligman & Dag Westerståhl (eds.), Logic, Language and Computation. Csli Publications, Stanford. pp. 1--303.
Modal monsters and talk about fiction.Stefano Predelli - 2008 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 37 (3):277-297.
The Morality of Naturalness.Tuija Takala - 2004 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 13 (1):15-19.
"Monsters on the Brain: An Evolutionary Epistemology of Horror".Stephen Asma - 2014 - Social Research: An International Quarterly (N.4).

Analytics

Added to PP
2015-10-08

Downloads
1,000 (#12,977)

6 months
210 (#11,803)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Stephen Asma
Columbia College Chicago

Citations of this work

The Strangest Sort of Map: Reply to Commentaries.Stephen Asma - 2021 - Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture 5 (2):75-82.
"Monsters on the Brain: An Evolutionary Epistemology of Horror".Stephen Asma - 2014 - Social Research: An International Quarterly (N.4).
Women who kill men: Gender, agency and subversion in Swedish crime novels.Tiina Mäntymäki - 2013 - European Journal of Women's Studies 20 (4):441-454.
Monstrous body: between alienness and ownness.Anna Alichniewicz - 2021 - Argument: Biannual Philosophical Journal 11 (2):403-414.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references