Monster metaphors matter. They show what a culture demonizes and they provide a vocabulary for those who are marked as monstrous to resist.
Elizabeth Young is Carl M. and Elsie A. Small Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College. She is the author of Black Frankenstein: The Making of an American Metaphor and Disarming the Nation: Women’s Writing and the American Civil War and co-author of On Alexander Gardner’s “Photographic Sketch Book” of the Civil War. She is currently completing a book about animal representation in 19th-century North American fiction, visual culture, and taxidermy.
Posts by Elizabeth Young
The real Elvis is American, remember, and America is a consumer society. The desires we project, the stuff we buy—that is what feels real to us. It lets us have any Elvis we want. He left plenty of kitsch in his wake, plenty of pseudo-religion, plenty of Elvis jokes—but he was not, is not, a joke. He lived our contradictions, released our inhibitions, and lost himself in the process.