From Hideous to Hedonist: The Changing Face of the Nineteenth-century Monster

Authored by: Abigail Lee , Hannah Thompson

The Ashgate Research Companion to Monsters and the Monstrous

Print publication date:  August  2013
Online publication date:  February  2017

Print ISBN: 9781409407546
eBook ISBN: 9781315241197
Adobe ISBN: 9781351894326


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The nineteenth century can be characterized by political as well as literary upheaval. The French Revolution of 1789 radically changed the way that power relationships were understood and experienced, whilst differing modes of representation, such as the Gothic, Romanticism, Realism, and Decadence, opened up new ways of seeing and representing the world and our place in it. The figure of the monster is omnipresent throughout the nineteenth century as Romanticism’s interest in the “grotesque” “initiated a cultural revaluation of monstrosity in all its forms.” 1 This chapter will demonstrate how the monster’s representation and meaning change in the course of the century to reflect—but also to comment on—the literature and society in which he or she is found.

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