The Beautiful and the Monstrous

Essays in French Literature, Thought and Culture

by Amaleena Damlé (Volume editor) Aurélie L'Hostis (Volume editor)
©2010 Conference proceedings XII, 226 Pages
Series: Modern French Identities, Volume 87

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The composition of aesthetic beauty and its necessary correlation with the counterparts of ugliness and monstrosity have been the primary concerns of artists and philosophers through the ages. This collection of articles, selected from the proceedings of a conference on the theme of The Beautiful and the Monstrous that took place at Cambridge University in April 2008, seeks to reassess conceptualizations and representations of beauty and monstrosity and offers a timely critical evaluation of the relationship between the two. By means of a variety of theoretical approaches and methodologies, the authors provide rigorous analyses of philosophical and artistic expression from medieval to contemporary literature, thought and culture from France and across the French-speaking world. Throughout, they seek to challenge traditional approaches by addressing a diverse range of questions that relate to the beautiful and the monstrous: from formal, metaphysical and ethical considerations of aesthetics, to the threat of the monstrous in realms of psychoanalysis and politics; from figures of beauty and monstrosity as prescriptive social and identitarian categories, to transformations and metamorphoses which challenge the boundaries between human and monstrous other. Engaging with discourses on aesthetics, metaphysics, ethics, politics, psychoanalysis, feminism and postcolonialism, and discussing a spectrum of figures from angels to zombies, this collection offers a fresh range of perspectives on a fundamental transgeneric and transdisciplinary topic.


XII, 226
ISBN (Softcover)
French literature representations of beauty and monstrosity medieval to contemporary literature
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2010. XII, 226 pp., num. coloured and b/w ill.

Biographical notes

Amaleena Damlé (Volume editor) Aurélie L'Hostis (Volume editor)

Amaleena Damlé is Lecturer in French at Exeter College, Oxford University. Her primary research interests lie in intersections between twentieth- and twenty-first-century theory and literature, with a particular emphasis on gender and sexuality. Her doctoral thesis examined articulations of female corporeality and transformation in contemporary women’s writing in French and she has written articles on Amélie Nothomb, Ananda Devi and Marie Darrieussecq. Aurélie L’Hostis is a graduate of King’s College, Cambridge, where she completed a doctoral thesis on the contribution of French Caribbean literature to the creation of a historical consciousness in the region. Her publications include articles on the current debate around historical memory and slavery in France and the representation of Antillean traumatic history in works by Édouard Glissant and Patrick Chamoiseau.


Title: The Beautiful and the Monstrous