Monsters In Ink


2011/12 Group B



Despite the efforts of people to construct a secure perimeter around the perceived normality of customary practice, monsters remain an ever-present concern, stalking the outskirts of humanity’s earliest settlements, luring home-bound heroes into danger, pressing contorted faces against the window of the Medieval mead hall, or living among and within fearful communities. Conceived as serpents in an untroubled paradise, dragons beyond uncharted seas, invisible noises in the night, aliens lurking in the depths of a seemingly boundless space, monsters represent, among other possibilities, the ever-present limits and fears of human endeavour. Moulded from the clay of failure or haunting every dalliance with perfection, they are as innumerable and diverse as humanity’s nightmares and dreams. Having long embodied anxieties, monsters have also come to represent the outer or permissible limits of human action, knowledge and dissent. From the Cyclops of the Homeric Greeks to the misfits and cyborgs of the modern world, this course explores the complex and evolving role of monsters in human consciousness, canvassing a fascination unlimited by time, place or culture.

  • Lectures: Mondays, 12-2pm

Term One:

  • Genesis
  • Homer, The Odyssey
  • Euripides, Medea
  • Plato, Republic
  • Sophocles, Oedipus the King
  • Beowulf
  • Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince
  • William Shakespeare, The Tempest
  • Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy
  • Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan
  • Aphra Behn, Oroonoko

Term Two:

  • Jean Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on Inequality
  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
  • Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals
  • Karl Marx, Manifesto of the Communist Party and selected readings
  • Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  • Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents
  • Franz Kafka, “The Metamorphosis”
  • Albert Camus, The Outsider
  • Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz
  • Ted Hughes, New Selected Poems
  • Sylvia Plath, Plath
  • Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Watchmen