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The Monstrous Imagination in Literature

Literature not only creates monsters, but seems to enjoy the imaginative leap needed to make "real" the obviously unreal monster. Why does literature uses its imaginative power its ability to move beyond reality & to envision figures that are non-human, abnormal, or uncivilized and are disturbing, disruptive, or horrific in form? If we examine these figures closely, one of the things that makes them both very human and very monstrous is their imaginative excess: they often have an imagination that is out of control, overly-rebellious or engaged in too-powerful thinking. Thus, this class argues that literature uses the figure of the monster to question the benefits, powers, and downfalls of the imagination. By asking you to question why the imagination creates monsters, this class asks you to question the nature of the imagination itself; especially the imagination that creates and reads literature.

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