Frost's Star in a Stone-Boat (1995)
of Heaven, Maps of Hell: Religious Terror as Memory from the
Puritans through Stephen King (1996)
Maps of Heaven, Maps of Hell from Book News, Inc.
Ingebretsen (English, Georgetown U.) poses an interesting
question in his introduction, "Why does Milton's Satan
have all the best lines?" A glance at the bestsellers
list shows that king of horror Stephen King tops the charts
with five books. Americans obviously love to be scared out
of their wits because, the author argues, our puritanical
theology demands fear to attain conversion, and the writings
of Cotton Mather, Hawthorne, Frost, and King are the relics
of this collective memory. Tracing themes of captivity, expiation,
self-loss, and possession, the volume provides an entertaining
analysis of American literature and cultural identity. Annotation
c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
from the Graduate Theological Union
and Gay Studies and the Teaching of English: Positions, Pedagogies,
and Cultural Politics (National Council of Teachers of English,
Stake: Monsters and a Rhetoric of Fear in Public Culture
304 p. (est.). 2001
At Stake: Monsters and the Rhetoric of Fear in Public Culture.
who reads the papers or watches the evening news is all too
familiar with how variations of the word monster are used
to describe unthinkable acts of violence. Jeffrey Dahmer,
Timothy McVeigh, and O. J.
Simpson were all monsters if we are to believe the mass media.
Even Bill Clinton was depicted with the term during the Monica
Lewinsky scandal. But why is so much energy devoted in our
culture to the making of
monsters? Why are Americans so transfixed by transgression?
What is at stake when the exclamatory gestures of horror films
pass for descriptive arguments in courtrooms, ethical speech
in political commentary, or the bedrock of mainstream journalism?
study that is at once an analysis of popular culture, a polemic
on religious and secular rhetoric, and an ethics of representation,
Edward Ingebretsen searches for answers. At Stake explores
the social construction of monstrousness in public discourse-tabloids,
television, magazines, sermons, and popular fiction. Ingebretsen
argues that the monster serves a moralizing function in our
culture, demonstrating how not
to be in order to enforce prevailing standards of behavior
and personal conduct. The boys who shot up Columbine High
School, for instance, personify teen rebellion taken perilously
too far. Susan Smith, the South
Carolinian who murdered her two children, embodies the hazards
of maternal neglect. Andrew Cunanan, who killed Gianni Versace,
among others, characterizes the menace of predatory sexuality.
In a biblical sense,
monsters are not unlike omens from the gods. The dreadful
consequences of their actions inspire fear in our hearts,
and warn us by example.
of Darkness to Appall': Religious Terror in the Poetry of
Robert Frost," Robert Frost Review, (1993):
"The Monster in the Home: True crime and the Traffic
in Body parts," Journal of American Culture 21:1 (1998):
of the Guys' or 'One of the Gals'?: Gender Confusion and the
Problem of Authority in the Roman Clergy." Theology and
Sexuality Journal. (March 1999)
the Dogs Beneath the Table." Whosoever Online Magazine.