Friday, August 21, 2015

NecronomiCon Providence 2015 -  Monstrous Stories: A History of Monsters

Prof. Touba Ghadessi, Wheaton College

Monsters have occupied a prominent place in the collective imaginary for centuries. Yet, as individuals have often attempted to claim the uniqueness of the monsters they saw/created/destroyed, these monsters all grew within a discourse of civic regulations and scientific discoveries. Visual and literary images of monsters served as active visual markers of these dichotomous interactions. This talk examines monsters historically and proposes that H.P. Lovecraft’s monsters fell, in fact, in line with the historical monsters that preceded them. From the importance of hybridity, to the monster as a body of knowledge, fear, and wonder, this paper will present several paradigms meant to highlight the ways in which monsters have been — and still are — a rhetorical device that serve strategically to delineate the boundaries of the very categories to which they do not belong.

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