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For Goya, ‘Fantasy abandoned by reason produces impossible monsters: united with her, she is the mother of the arts and the origin of their marvels’, though some see his etching as revealing the dark undercurrents of Enlightenment. The monster, according to Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, offers ways of understanding the cultures which bear them; ‘the monstrum is etymologically “that which reveals”’.
The inaugural issue of the journal Monstrum will showcase the kinds of cultural themes which will be revealed in this new venture from Spectral Visions Press of the University of Sunderland. The journal is a refereed academic journal and invites original articles on all aspects of monsters and the monstrous. The perspective is that of literary studies but, in keeping with the boundary-defying nature of the monster, welcomes an interdisciplinary approach that may draw on (among others) cultural studies, philosophy, psychology, anthropology, and the history of ideas, and which explores monstrosity in a variety of genres and media.
Proposals for individual or collaborative papers are invited on the cultural meanings of representations of monsters and the idea of the monstrous via diverse theoretical approaches in literature from realist fiction, drama, and poetry through the Gothic novel, modernism, horror, SF, fantasy, paranormal romance, comedy, YA and children’s literature to myth, epic, and folklore (or in such other media as film, TV, comics, or video games).
Possible topics might include (but are not limited to):

  • Monsters and the Other (racial, ethnic, sexual, ideological, etc.
  • Monsters and the Self (what we are and what is repressed)
  • Reason, the fantastic, and the monstrous
  • The monstrous human
  • Monstrous taxonomies (how monsters escape and confuse classificatory systems)
  • The sympathetic monster and the Demon Lover
  • The Eternal Return of the Monster (how the form of the monster both endures and mutates)
  • The inanimate monster (architecture, machinery, and landscape; colossuses both natural and cultural)
  • Monstrous scales (size and sublimity; the monstrously gigantic or the insidiously microbial
  • Species of monster: vampires, werewolves, zombies, ogres, dragons, basilisks, dinosaurs, sharks, giant squid, aliens, mutants, half-breeds, perverts, criminals, terrorists
  • Infamous monsters: Lycaon, Medusa, Lamia, Satan, Lilith, Gargantua, Dracula, Frankenstein’s creature, King Kong, Godzilla, Hitler, Hannibal Lecter, Cthulhu, Moby Dick, the Daleks

Please send electronic copies of proposals (approx. 500 words) and a brief biography (100 words) in MS Word format by 31 January 2014 to each of:

We will notify you over acceptance shortly after. Completed articles of approximately 6,000 words, formatted in MHRA style, will be due by 30 April 2015.