On Monsters: An Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears

Author(s): Stephen T. Asma

Cultural Studies

Hailed as 'a feast' (Washington Post) and 'a modern-day bestiary' (the New Yorker), Stephen Asma's on Monsters is a wide-ranging cultural and conceptual history of monsters - how they have evolved over time, what functions they have served for us, and what shapes they are likely to take in the future.


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"A comprehensive modern-day bestiary." - The New Yorker "Monsters literal and metaphorical are dissected with skill and discernment in philosopher and scholar Asma's penetrating "unnatural history." Erudite, funny, and deeply attuned to the profound psychological and moral implications of monstrousness, Asma encompasses the mystical and the scientific as he ponders the simultaneous repulsion and attraction monsters arouse... Asma is insightful and entertaining in his discussion of monsters of the deep, supernatural doppelgangers, zombies, and vampires, and intense in his discussion of Freud and the 'science of monstrous feelings...' Asma's far-reaching book of monsterology is original, captivating, and profoundly elucidating." - Booklist starred review

Acknowledgments Introduction: Extraordinary Beings Part 1 - Ancient Monsters 1 Alexander Fights Monsters in India 2 Monsters Are Nature's Playthings 3 Hermaphrodites and Man-headed Oxen 4 Monstrous Desire Part 2 - Medieval Monsters: Messages from God 5 Biblical Monsters 6 Do Monsters Have Souls? 7 The Monster Killer 8 Possessing Demons and Witches Part 3 - Scientific Monsters: The Book of Nature is Riddled with Typos 9 Natural History, Freaks, and Nondescripts 10 The Medicalization of Monsters 11 Darwin's Mutants Part 4 - Inner Monsters: The Psychological Aspects 12 The Art of Human Vulnerability: Angst and Horror 13 Criminal Monsters: Psychopathology, Aggression, and the Malignant Heart Part 5 - Monsters Today and Tomorrow 14 Torturers, Terrorists, and Zombies: The Products of Monstrous Societies 15 Future Monsters: Robots, Mutants, and Posthuman Cyborgs Epilogue Notes Index

General Fields

  • : 9780199798094
  • : Oxford University Press Inc
  • : Oxford University Press Inc
  • : October 2011
  • : 229mm X 152mm X 34mm
  • : United States
  • : January 2012
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Stephen T. Asma
  • : Paperback
  • : 001.944
  • : 368
  • : 20 b/w halftones, 30 line illus.