Mark Seltzer is a professor of English at Cornell University who has previously explored, in his book Bodies and Machines, the notion of a technological society as one in which processes of "registration, recording, and reproduction" break down distinctions between individual and mass, private and public. In Serial Killers, he argues that this "machine culture" constitutes a "pathological public sphere" that sets up the serial killer as an icon of our "wound culture"--a public not only enthralled by, but addicted to, murder and mayhem. The Washington Post writes of this book: "Drawing with equal dexterity on sources ranging from gay pulp novelist Dennis Cooper to French philosopher Jacques Lacan, Seltzer sees the serial killer as a sort of performance artist around whom we gather in an unhealthy attempt to exorcise our own demons."
Also recommended: Of Men and Monsters: Jeffrey Dahmer and the Construction of the Serial Killer by Richard Tithecott
From Library Journal
This book will not appeal to those public library patrons who troll the true-crime section looking for something that will titillate or frighten them or who, like many of us, simply have a morbid curiosity about the beasts who walk among us. Rather, it is a scholarly work whose notes section makes up almost a quarter of its length. Drawing on a vast array of studies of serial killers, both scientific and fictional, and his own previous work on man and technology (Bodies & Machines, Routledge, 1992), Seltzer (English, Cornell) explores the emergence toward the end of the last century of a "wound culture," or the public fascination with torn and opened bodies and psyches, and the concomitant emergence of the serial killer as a type of person. He offers a fresh view that should be made available to readers in academic settings.?Jim G. Burns, Ottumwa P.L., Ia.
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Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.