Our Old Monsters: Witches, Werewolves and Vampires from Medieval Theology to Horror Cinema

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McFarland, Jul 11, 2015 - Performing Arts - 252 pages
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The witch, the vampire and the werewolf endure in modern horror. These “old monsters” have their origins in Aristotle as studied in the universities of medieval Europe, where Christian scholars reconciled works of natural philosophy and medicine with theological precepts. They codified divine perfection as warm, light, male and associated with the ethereal world beyond the moon, while evil imperfection was cold, dark, female and bound to the corrupt world below the moon. All who did not conform to divine goodness—including un-holy women and Jews—were considered evil and ascribed a melancholic, blood hungry and demonic physiology. This construct was the basis for anti-woman and anti–Jewish discourse that has persisted through modern Western culture. Nowhere is this more evident than in horror films, where the witch, the vampire and the werewolf represent our fear of the inverted other.
 

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Contents

Preface
1
Introduction
3
Medieval Foundations
15
Modern Permutations
135
Epilogue
195
Chapter Notes
197
Bibliography
223
Filmography
234
Index
237
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About the author (2015)

Brenda S. Gardenour Walter is an associate professor of history at the Saint Louis College of Pharmacy with research interests in the role of Aristotelian discourse, learned medicine, scholastic theology and the continued influence of medieval otherness on the horror genre. She lives in Saint Louis, Missouri.

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