On Monsters: An Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears by Stephen T. Asma

On Monsters: An Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears

byStephen T. Asma

Paperback | August 4, 2011

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Hailed as "a feast" (Washington Post) and "a modern-day bestiary" (The New Yorker), Stephen Asma's On Monsters is a wide-ranging cultural and conceptual history of monsters - how they have evolved over time, what functions they have served for us, and what shapes they are likely to take in thefuture. Beginning at the time of Alexander the Great, the monsters come fast and furious - Behemoth and Leviathan, Gog and Magog, Satan and his demons, Grendel and Frankenstein, circus freaks and headless children, right up to the serial killers and terrorists of today and the post-human cyborgs oftomorrow. Monsters embody our deepest anxieties and vulnerabilities, Asma argues, but they also symbolize the mysterious and incoherent territory beyond the safe enclosures of rational thought. Exploring sources as diverse as philosophical treatises, scientific notebooks, and novels, Asma unravels traditionalmonster stories for the clues they offer about the inner logic of an era's fears and fascinations. In doing so, he illuminates the many ways monsters have become repositories for those human qualities that must be repudiated, externalized, and defeated.

About The Author

Stephen T. Asma is Professor of Philosophy at Columbia College Chicago, where he holds the title of Distinguished Scholar.
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Title:On Monsters: An Unnatural History of Our Worst FearsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:August 4, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199798095

ISBN - 13:9780199798094

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction: Extraordinary BeingsPart 1 - Ancient Monsters1. Alexander Fights Monsters in India2. Monsters Are Nature's Playthings3. Hermaphrodites and Man-headed Oxen4. Monstrous DesirePart 2 - Medieval Monsters: Messages from God5. Biblical Monsters6. Do Monsters Have Souls?7. The Monster Killer8. Possessing Demons and WitchesPart 3 - Scientific Monsters: The Book of Nature is Riddled with Typos9. Natural History, Freaks, and Nondescripts10. The Medicalization of Monsters11. Darwin's MutantsPart 4 - Inner Monsters: The Psychological Aspects12. The Art of Human Vulnerability: Angst and Horror13. Criminal Monsters: Psychopathology, Aggression, and the Malignant HeartPart 5 - Monsters Today and Tomorrow14. Torturers, Terrorists, and Zombies: The Products of Monstrous Societies15. Future Monsters: Robots, Mutants, and Posthuman CyborgsEpilogueNotesIndex