The Grotesque and the Unnatural

Moon Under Water posted an interesting piece about the grotesque and satire today and this gave me the idea to plug a book called The Grotesque and the Unnatural that came out recently. In fact, I got my copy just earlier this week and it looks very impressive.

(c) Cambria Press

The blurb reads, in part:

The book contributes to current discussions on the grotesque in contemporary literary and cultural theory from the perspective of one specific motif: the unnatural. Quite like the grotesque, observing the unnatural (and unnaturalness) reveals a resilient strain in critical thought, and the significance of this history gradually unfolds as the volume charts the progress of its main themes from the Renaissance to the present day. While in much current talk about theory and criticism certain related notions are still posited for and against each other––what is seen as normal or natural and what is not, and what should be seen as normal or natural and what should not––the discussions in The Grotesque and the Unnatural go a long way toward founding a new vista from which to observe this beguiling opposition.

It includes a number of essays that look at the grotesque in relation to the unnatural and focuses on the slipperiness of the slippery concepts. The editors, two lovely beardy fellows from the University of Tampere in Finland, did a great job in gathering together different approaches to a difficult topic in a way that will hopefully illuminate various aspects of the grotesque without emptying it of its transgressive power. As Ruskin already saw, we need to maintain that friction and potential for terror in order not to destroy the concept under examination. In other words, to examine the grotesque without domesticating it. That, in a nutshell, is what I think makes this book interesting. And the cover, too. The front cover is pretty awesome.

1 Response to “The Grotesque and the Unnatural”


  1. 1 Moon Under Water February 27, 2012 at 20:08

    Looks interesting…must give it a look.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s





%d bloggers like this: