The Monster in Theatre History : This Thing of Darkness book cover
1st Edition

The Monster in Theatre History
This Thing of Darkness

ISBN 9781138210899
Published August 3, 2017 by Routledge
204 Pages

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USD $170.00

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Book Description

Monsters are fragmentary, uncertain, frightening creatures. What happens when they enter the realm of the theatre?

The Monster in Theatre History explores the cultural genealogies of monsters as they appear in the recorded history of Western theatre. From the Ancient Greeks to the most cutting-edge new media, Michael Chemers focuses on a series of ‘key’ monsters, including Frankenstein’s creature, werewolves, ghosts, and vampires, to reconsider what monsters in performance might mean to those who witness them.

This volume builds a clear methodology for engaging with theatrical monsters of all kinds, providing a much-needed guidebook to this fascinating hinterland.

Table of Contents


Foreword by Mike Carey

Introduction: The Dramaturgy of Empathy

Why Study Monsters?

The Act of Fear

The Monster as Surrogate

Chapter One: Caliban’s Legacy

How to Hunt Monsters: The Seven Theses for the Stage

Chapter Two: Prometheus the Thief

Monstrous Transgressions

Regarding Parenting

The Modern Prometheus

Chapter Three: Presumption

Staging the Creature


The Prerogative of God

Chapter Four: The Vampire Trap

Back from the Dead

The Rise of Ruthven

The Angels of Hell

Wicked Souls, Wise Purposes

The Love that is Death

The Haemosexual Agenda

Chapter Four: Toys Are Us

The Uncanny

The Jew’s Monster

Golem on the Pulpit

An Angel Come Too Late

The Technolegacy of the Golem

Chapter Six: Boo

Phantom History

Who’s There?

The Spectre of War

Aristotle, Revenant

The Romantic Geist

Chapter Seven: Hairey Betwixt

The Reluctant Demonologist

The Werewolf Problem

Horrifying Transformations

Lupus Est

Conclusion: Defense Against the Dark Art



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Michael Chemers is an Associate Professor of Theater Arts at the University of California Santa Cruz, USA.