Event Title

Unmasking the Monster: The New Erotic Identity of the Monster in Contemporary Literature

Location

Exhibition Hall, DeVos Center

Start Date

10-4-2012 3:30 PM

Description

Over the last millennium, Western society has transitioned from a condition in which centralized belief and a lack of resources fostered interdependence necessary for basic survival to a post-modern, decentralized conglomeration of independent individuals seeking not merely self-benefit, but luxury and excess. During this social alteration, the iconic monsters we have created and accepted as a society have transformed drastically in shape as well as character to match our changing cultural mores. The image of the monster has shifted radically from an archetype that inspires fear and enforces social norms to a malleable exotic other who elicits desire and longing.

Through the examination of traditional or archetypal monsters, Grendel from Beowulf and Satan from Paradise Lost, the Romantic monsters of Frankenstein’s Creation and Dracula (both from the original written works), and contemporary reflections of these monsters including those from John Gardner’s Grendel, Robert Zemeckis’ Beowulf, Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire, John Carpenters Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight, one can observe the transfiguration of the monsters image and action. Through close reading and analysis of these texts (both written and visual) using various theoretical lenses – while playing close attention to the sociological function of the monster – it becomes evident that the classic monster Grendel has “evolved” to Stephanie Meyer’s Edward, signaling that what once acted as the signified evil has become nothing more than the signifier of self-indulgent wish-fulfillment.

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Apr 10th, 3:30 PM

Unmasking the Monster: The New Erotic Identity of the Monster in Contemporary Literature

Exhibition Hall, DeVos Center

Over the last millennium, Western society has transitioned from a condition in which centralized belief and a lack of resources fostered interdependence necessary for basic survival to a post-modern, decentralized conglomeration of independent individuals seeking not merely self-benefit, but luxury and excess. During this social alteration, the iconic monsters we have created and accepted as a society have transformed drastically in shape as well as character to match our changing cultural mores. The image of the monster has shifted radically from an archetype that inspires fear and enforces social norms to a malleable exotic other who elicits desire and longing.

Through the examination of traditional or archetypal monsters, Grendel from Beowulf and Satan from Paradise Lost, the Romantic monsters of Frankenstein’s Creation and Dracula (both from the original written works), and contemporary reflections of these monsters including those from John Gardner’s Grendel, Robert Zemeckis’ Beowulf, Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire, John Carpenters Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight, one can observe the transfiguration of the monsters image and action. Through close reading and analysis of these texts (both written and visual) using various theoretical lenses – while playing close attention to the sociological function of the monster – it becomes evident that the classic monster Grendel has “evolved” to Stephanie Meyer’s Edward, signaling that what once acted as the signified evil has become nothing more than the signifier of self-indulgent wish-fulfillment.