Monstrous Bodies/political Monstrosities in Early Modern Europe

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Laura Lunger Knoppers, Joan B. Landes
Cornell University Press, 2004 - Art - 304 pages

Multi-disciplinary in approach and cross-European in scope, this richly illustrated book features new links between the political and the monstrous in the early modern period. Emphasizing the importance of the visual in the culture of the monstrous, the book presents a range of striking engravings, woodcuts, broadsides, and anatomical works. Some of the most respected scholars of early modern Europe explore monstrous bodies in descriptions of aberrant births and grotesque anatomies, appropriations of classical or biblical beasts and harlots, satire, myth, and science fiction. Canonical writings on monstrosity by Aristotle, Ambroise Paré, Rabelais, Montaigne, and Mary Shelley are juxtaposed to less familiar treatments by Calvin, Luther, and Andrew Marvell, among others.

This volume challenges established narratives in which modern science and medicine, sustained by enlightened reason and secularization, progressively contain and even "normalize" all monsters. Instead, these essays stress the continual reinvention and polemical applications of the monstrous in the early modern period. Monsters emerge as a rich subject for not only the history of science, but also political and religious history, literary studies, visual studies, and the history of popular culture.

 

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Contents

FRONTIERS OF THE MONSTROUS Perceiving National Characters in Early Modern Europe
25
LAMENTABLE STRANGE AND WONDERFUL Headless Monsters in the English Revolution
40
A TIME FOR MONSTERS Monstrous Births Propaganda and the German Reformation
67
THE ANTICHRIST THE BABILON THE GREAT DRAGON Oliver Cromwell Andrew Marvell and the Apocalyptic Monstrous
93
MONSTROUS MEDICINE
127
REVOLUTIONARY ANATOMIES
148
SIGNS OF MONSTROSITY The Rhetoric of Description and the Limits of Allegory in Rabelais and Montaigne
179
MONSTROSITY AND MYTH IN MARY SHELLEYS FRANKENSTEIN
200
Anatomical Readings in the Early Modern Era
227
NOTES
247
CONTRIBUTORS
293
INDEX
297
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Laura Lunger Knoppers is Professor of English and Director, Institute for the Arts and Humanities, The Pennsylvania State University. She is the author of Constructing Cromwell: Ceremony, Portrait, and Print, 1645-1661 and Historicizing Milton: Spectacle, Poetry, and Power in Restoration England and the editor of Puritanism and Its Discontents. Joan B. Landes is Professor of Women's Studies and History at The Pennsylvania State University. She is the author of Visualizing the Nation: Gender, Representation, and Revolution in Eighteenth-Century France; Women and the Public Sphere in the Age of the French Revolution (both from Cornell); and the editor of Feminism, the Public and the Private.

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