Judith Halberstam's 'Skin Shows'

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Research Methods: Traditional and Digital EL0767 Critical Review: Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters by Judith Halberstam Katie Weymes 09006464 Introduction As a key text of its field, Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters by Dr. Judith Halberstam, approaches the topic of monstrosity as a construction of the body through a range of discourses in the evolution of Gothic culture from literature of the early nineteenth century to modern film. A contribution to the field, positioned alongside works from Chris Baldick (In Frankenstein’s Shadow: Myth Monstrosity and Nineteenth-Century Writing, 1987) and Kelly Hurley (The Gothic Body: Sexuality and Materialism and Degeneration at the Fin De Siecle, 1996), Skin Shows challenges the meaning of representation of the Gothic body. In many ways however, in contrast to her contemporaries, Halberstam rejects the typical reading of the physical Gothic body and focuses on the significance of skin itself, as a culturally poignant element which represents a ‘fabric’ of race, gender, sexuality, and social class while also expressing the importance of historical and cultural readings in to the form and narrative. As…show more content…
This insightful introduction to the concept of the monster as a cultural object begins with the acknowledgement of a shift in the monster’s role within contemporary horror cinema as an ‘amalgam of sex and gender’ and Halberstam outlines the necessity to ‘read a history of otherness into and out of the history of Gothic fiction’. At this point the reader is presented with the theory of a foreign sexuality which epitomises the essence of the monster in early Gothic and expresses the marginalised physicality of the ‘other’. The structure of Halberstam’s argument is coherent and the framework of the study’s theoretical model is skilfully

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