The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis (Popular Fictions)

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9780415052580: The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis (Popular Fictions)

In almost all critical writings on the horror film, woman is conceptualized only as victim. In "The Monstrous-Feminine", Barbara Creed challenges the mythical patriarchal view that woman terrifies because she is castrated, by arguing that woman primarily terrifies because of a fear that she might "castrate". With close reference to a number of classic horror films including "Alien", "The Brood", "The Hunger", "Carrie", "The Exorcist", "Sisters", "I Spit on Your Grave" and "Psycho", she presents a sustained analysis of the seven "faces" of the monstrous-feminine from a feminist and psychoanalytic perspective, discussing woman as monster in relation to woman as archaic mother, monstrous womb, vampire, witch, possessed body, monstrous mother and castrator. Her argument disrupts Freudian and Lacanian theories of sexual difference, as well as existing theories of spectatorship and fetishism in relation to the male and female gaze in the cinema, to provide a challenging and provocative re-reading of classical and contemporary film and theoretical texts.

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Review:

"By reinstating the repressed mother and "femme castratice in classic Freudian theory, and by extending Julia Kristeva's discussion of horror and abjection to fresh critical objects, Barbara Creed accessibly and convincingly demonstrates the relevance and productivity of psychoanalytic theory for cultural analysis."
-Annette Kuhn, University of Glasgow
"A substantial contribution to knowledge of the horror film . . . the first study to concentrate specifically on the monstrous-feminine."
-E. Ann Kaplan
"Witty, succinct, a pleasure to read. The critique of Freudian theory comprises a total re-conceptualization of the status of the feminine within psychoanalytic debate."
-Sneja Gunew

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