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Monsters and their Meanings in Early Modern Culture – Mighty Magic - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Monsters and their Meanings in Early Modern Culture: Mighty Magic

Wes Williams


To call something ‘monstrous’ in the mid-sixteenth century is, more often than not, to wonder at its enormous size: it is to call to mind something like a whale; by the late seventeenth century ‘monstrous’ is more likely to denote hidden intentions, unspoken desires. Several shifts are at work in this word history, as in what Shakespeare's Othello terms the ‘mighty magic’ of stories about monsters. These shifts can be described in a number of ways. The clearest and most compelling is the migration of monsters from natural history to moral philosophy, from the margins of maps to a central role ... More

Keywords: monsters, literature, imagination, children, romance, medicine, politics, spectacle, war, Andromeda, France

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780199577026
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199577026.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Wes Williams, author
Tutor in French, St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford
Author Webpage