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Speaking of Monsters: A Teratological Anthology [Hardcover]

Caroline Joan S. Picart , John Edgar Browning

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Book Description

July 17, 2012 0230114504 978-0230114500
Despite its apparently monolithic definition, "teratology" (from the Greek word teras, meaning "monster," and the Latin logia, which is derived from the Greek logos, meaning "a speaking, discourse, treatise, doctrine, theory, science") seems infinitely malleable, flourishing in various rhetorical environments. Teratologies are more than a bestiary: a catalogue of "freaks" designed to celebrate the "normal." Rather, teratologies illustrate how humor, horror, fantasy, and the "real" cross-fertilize each other, resulting in the possibility of new worlds, ethics, and narratives emerging. As a general anthology of teratologies, this book simply maps what, in many ways, has already been occurring across several fields, as it tracks the expansion of this term, creating lacunae that form connections across multiple interpretive communities. It is a cross section of how "monster narratives" intersect with "outsider" positions, from different perspectives - such as those of literary critics, film critics, criminologists, law professors, historians, philosophers - and looks into various strategies of destabilizing normative binaries.

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Editorial Reviews


"Picart and Browning's book is a learned and, in places, intriguing study of monsters, with an emphasis on motion pictures, by established authorities in various fields ... The varied choice of authors and subjects leaves nothing to be desired ... Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, researchers/faculty, and professionals." - CHOICE

"All too often topics are betrayed in their treatment - creativity is discussed unimaginatively, art is approached unartfully or even artlessly, philosophy itself taken up thoughtlessly (at least without sufficiently sustained, probing thoughtfulness). Not so in this instance. Indeed, the category of monstrosity is itself monstrous. It is at once dependent upon traditional distinctions between the normal and a forever shifting array of opposites and in conflict with those historically entrenched dichotomies. The essays in this volume exhibit in detail the monstrous - in the sense of both the frighteningly huge and fiercely unsettling - force of this philosophical category. They do so in reference to a broad spectrum of cultural phenomena. The editors' finely crafted introduction however provides a useful map to this vast terrain." - Vincent Colapietro, Liberal Arts Research Professor of Philosophy, The Pennsylvania State University, USA

"This book is a must-read for students and scholars of teratology, monsters, the fantastic, and the detested other. Spanning a fascinating gulf of disciplines and genres, the authors illustrate just how interconnected we are with the monsters in our midst and the extent to which our understandable desire to define ourselves in opposition to the monstrous both creates and destroys the barriers between the human and the other. This book will change the way you think about crime, victimhood, knowledge, the normal, and our own place in the universe. From Dracula to the Holocaust, from gender to disability, this book challenges our own belief in the possibility of self-knowledge and questions the foundations of our self-defined humanity." - Danaya C. Wright, Clarence J. TeSelle Professor of Law, Levin College of Law, University of Florida, USA

"This collection of essays offers more than a unique contribution to social theory - it is a comprehensive framework for understanding how humans construct otherness. The work is critical for law since judges, police, and other legal actors repeatedly construct the criminal as monster, which lays the foundation for punishment that knows no bounds, including death. In an age of mass incarceration and fears of terrorism, this work is as timely as it is fascinating." - SpearIt, Assistant Professor of Law, Saint Louis University, USA

About the Author

Caroline Joan (Kay) S. Picart, formerly a tenured associate professor of English and Humanities at Florida State University, is a joint Juris Doctor-MA Candidate (WST) at the University of Florida Levin College of Law and an adjunct professor of Humanities at Santa Fe College. She is also currently editor-in-chief of the Florida Journal of International Law and articles editor of the Journal of Technology Law and Policy . She has published and contracted fourteen singly authored and co-authored/co-edited books, including Monsters in and Among Us: Towards a Gothic Criminology (2007), Frames of Evil: The Holocaust as Horror in American Film (2009), Draculas, Vampires, and Other Undead Forms (2009), and Dracula in Visual Media (2010) - winner of the 2011 Lord Ruthven Award.John Edgar Browning is a PhD student and Arthur A. Schomburg Fellow in American Studies at SUNY-Buffalo. He has co-/written eight books, including Draculas, Vampires, and Other Undead Forms (2009), Dracula in Visual Media (2010, winner of the 2011 Lord Ruthven Award), and The Vampire, His Kith and Kin: A Critical Edition (2011).

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