Yes, the title is overly dramatic, I concede. But monsters belong on the margins. They lurk at the edges of maps, in dank caves, up mountains, in deserts, in gloomy forests, isolated mansions… you get the idea. A monster cannot simply stroll into a supermarket and do a little shopping (except maybe in the world of Monsters Inc.) They must lurk in the shadows, or risk encountering a mob with the traditional torches and pitchforks (probably more likely to be hedge trimmers these days, but you never know). As Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, author of the seminal essay Monster Theory: Seven Theses observes, ‘the monster polices the borders of the possible’ (Cohen, 1995: 12).
Monsters, in short, belong on the margins, the borders, in the shadows. So much so, that many of them have been unjustly forgotten – which, as the ‘About’ page on this blog observes, goes against the monster’s entire raison d’etre. Hence my writing this blog – to bring them to your attention, and to convince you that they are indeed worthy of such. Be aware, though – my intent is not to tame, or domesticate the monster. I vastly prefer monsters who stay monstrous. Or, in the words of one of the greatest fictional vampires ever created, Suzy McKee Charnas’s Edward Weyland (who emphatically does NOT sparkle) ‘I am not the monster who falls in love and is destroyed by his human feelings. I am the monster who stays true.’
So, on this blog we’ll be taking trips out to the margins, the borders, we’ll observe the monsters from a safe distance, and then come home again. Sound good? Read on. And in the worlds of another excellent author, Mira Grant… don’t go out alone.
Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, ‘Monster Culture (Seven Theses)’, in Monster Theory: Reading Culture, ed. by Jeffrey Jerome Cohen (Minneapolis & London: University of Minnesota Press, 1995), pp. 3-25