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Victorian Era and Monsters

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by

Janette Foreman

on 14 August 2013

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Transcript of Victorian Era and Monsters

Victorian Era and Monsters
When was the Victorian era?
1837-1901
During Queen Victoria's reign
Victorians placed a lot of emphasis on appearances . . . they wanted to appear "normal" to everyone else.
Cohen's Monster Theory
In this class . . .
We'll be reading some literature that was written during or around the Victorian era, with these fears/fascinations in mind.
Victorian Mindset
Thus, anyone who was not considered "normal" ran the risk of appearing "abnormal" to the Victorian society.
The "abnormal" was the "Other"
Victorian Culture
Like all cultures, they feared a few things.
1. Fear of Medicine and Experimentation
They feared technology -- much like we do sometimes
Technology racing ahead of our ability to cope with it.
Technology creating new "hybrids" or species. (kind of like cloning)
For example:
2. Fear of the Invader
Invaders can be anything coming in that is unwanted.
for example:
Disease
The "Other". . .
The "Other" is anything or anyone who is considered "different".
Jeffrey Jerome Cohen says in his book "Monster Theory" that a culture can be read by its monsters.
This basically means that
you can tell what a culture
is like by looking at what
monsters scare them. . .
. . . and fascinate them!
For example:
Our modern culture loves aliens. Why?

Well, there are many reasons, but let's think about what aliens represent.

-- Invasion
-- Upsetting the "norm" Just to name a few!
-- Changing the status quo

Can you guess why a super power like America would be afraid (yet fascinated) with things the alien represents?
So Victorians feared . . .
1. Medicine and experimentation
Can you guess why they liked/feared monsters with double personalities, like Jekyll & Hyde?
2. Fear of the Invader
Can you guess why they like/feared monsters from another land who seems like he can't be stopped, like Dracula?
Full transcript