In this academic work of film and literary criticism, Judith Halberstam examines the monster as cultural object. She discusses classic gothic texts such as Frankenstein
, and then looks at the impact of changing technology (horror movies with special effects) for depicting monsters. Her argument is that the gothic in its more lurid, unabashedly violent, and perverse forms may be more empowering to the reader/viewer than in its carefully articulated, understated, and sublimated forms. H-Net Reviews
calls Skin Shows
an "intelligent, well-informed, and provocative piece of writing" and writes that its "greatest strength ... is that it allows for other critics of the Gothic to proceed more self-consciously about the presuppositions that particularly psychoanalysis has introduced into the academic discussion." One caveat, though: the language is somewhat turgid, with awkward verbs such as "gothicize" and "metaphorize."
--This text refers to the
“Halberstam’s argument is elegant in its simplicity, but far-reaching in its implications. Providing a strikingly original account of the Gothic, she proposes through her work a cultural history of fear and prejudice and, thus, paves the way for a new scholarly enterprise."—Ann Cvetkovich, University of Texas, Austin
"Skin Shows is the Gothic book that many of us have been waiting for, and it is every bit as smart as we had hoped it would be. Halberstam’s notion of monstrosity will change Gothic studies for good. The results are dazzling."—George E. Haggerty, University of California, Riverside