Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date

1-2012

Journal Title

Speculum

Volume

87

Issue

1

Version

Publisher's PDF

Publisher's Statement

This book review was published in Speculum and can also be seen on the journal's website.

DOI

10.1017/S0038713412000528

Abstract

The perceived gender, overt sexuality, and frightening reproductive potential of medieval monsters are placed under the cultural mico- and macro-scope in this revised dissertations, an ambitious and provocative (if sometimes self-limited) addition to the growing field of monster studies. As with most recent explorations in the filed, Dana Oswald's argument (repeated with force and regularity throughout) relives heavily on the work of Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, focusing on monsters as embodiments of cultural anxiety. However, the haunting traces of monstrosity collected by Oswald lead her to proclaim that not only does the monster always escape (as theorized by Cohen), but that "the monster always returns" (p.18, for example), thus further emphasizing the particularly sexual anxieties that this collection of "human monsters" embody.

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