School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures
at Riyal Holloway Universuty of London
Trauma Fiction History Series
Date: 12 March 2010
Nineteenth Century Monsters
‘Nineteenth-Century Monsters’, a round table organised by Dr Hannah Thompson.
Speakers will include Dr Miranda Gill (Cambridge) and Professor Abigail Lee Six (Royal Holloway).
Encounters with the monstrous are always memorable and often traumatic. Throughout both literature and history, the figure of the monster functions as an emblem of the other, an unspeakable and unruly presence which is frequently blamed for the physical and emotional wounds inflicted on both individuals and society. However the nineteenth century’s interest in categorisation and classification coupled with advances in physiognomy and psychiatry and a more enlightened approach to physical difference led writers, thinkers and scientists to look again at the problematic figure of the monster. This seminar will consider the means by which literature, thought and science speak of monsters and what their findings reveal about the monster’s significance. Through readings of various depictions and discussions of the monstrous, we will ask whether encounters with the monstrous are always damaging and dangerous or whether, following assertions by recent ‘Monster Theory’, they can be rethought as significant insights into the representation of human experience and the production of meaning. This seminar will consist of papers by three academics working on different aspects of monstrosity, followed by a round-table discussion. Recommended reading will be posted here in advance of the seminar.
This event has been recorded and is available as a podcast at the following URL:
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