• Róbert SMID
Keywords: monster studies, gothic, Victorian fiction, weird fiction


The paper scrutinizes the shift in literary horror that occurred at the beginning and the end of the 19th century and in the first half of the 20th century with regard to the figure of the monster and the experience of monstrosity. The Gothic prose of Mary Shelley or Edgar Allan Poe in the first half of the 19th century postulated the monster as an alien entity that was part of a different ontology; it was unnatural, yet when it comes to the dichotomy of nature and culture, it paradoxically belonged with the former. Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, Robert Louis Stevenson and H. G. Wells, however, constituted the figure of the monster by integrating its alienity and exotic nature into the social order of the fin-de-siècle. The next and final stage in the paradigm shift of monstrosity is the horror of H. P. Lovecraft, who unveiled the monster in the very rationality of the discourse network of 1900, and turned the then-dominant “horror metaphysicae” into a profoundly physical horror, which ultimately lead to the foundation of a new genre: the weird.

Author Biography

Róbert SMID

Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem, Bölcsészettudományi Kar
Összehasonlító Irodalom- és Kultúratudományi Tanszék
Budapest, Magyarország


Brantlinger, Patrick. 1990. Rule of Darkness: British Literature and Imperialism, 1830–1914. London: Cornell UP.
Carroll, Noël. 1990. The Philosophy of Horror, or Paradoxes of the Heart . London: Routledge.
Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome. 1996. Monster Culture (Seven Theses). In Monster Theory: Reading Culture, szerk. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen. 3–25. Minneapolis (MN): University of Minnesota Press.
Douglas, Mary. 2001. Purity and Danger: An analysis of the Concepts of Purity and Taboo . London: Routledge.
Erle, Sibylle – Hendry, Helen. 2020. Monsters: interdisciplinary explorations in monstrosity. Palgrave Communications 6 (53):
Gould, Stephen J. 1980. The Panda’s Thumb: More Reflections on Natural History. London: W. W. Norton & Company.
Halberstam, Judith. 1995. Skins Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters. London: Duke UP.
Haraway, Donna. 1991. The Promises of Monsters. In Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. 295–336. London: Routledge.
Harman, Graham. 2012. Weird Realism: Lovecraft and Philosophy . Winchester: Zero Books.
Houellebecq, Michel. 1991. H . P . Lovecraft: Contre le monde, contre la vie . Paris: Éditions du Rocher.
Huet, Marie-Hélène. 1993. Monstrous Imagination . Cambridge (MA): Harvard UP.
Hurley, Kelly. 2004. The Gothic Body: Sexuality, Materialism, and Degeneration at the Fin de Siècle . Cambridge (MA): Cambride UP.
Karschay, Stephan. 2015. Degeneration, Normativity and the Gothic at the Fin de Siècle . New York (NY): Palgrave Macmillan.
Kittler, Friedrich. 1993. Draculas Vermächtnis. In Draculas Vermächtnis: Technische Schriften. 11–57. Leipzig: Reclam.
Kneale, James. 2016. “Ghoulish Dialogues:” H. P. Lovecraft’s Weird Geographies. In The Age of Lovecraft, szerk. Carl H. Sederholm – Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock. 43–61. Minneapolis (MN): University of Minnesota Press.
Koenig-Woodyard, Chris – Shalini Nanayakkara – Yashvi Khatri. 2018. Introduction: Monster Studies. University of Toronto Quarterly 1 (87): 1–24.
Latour, Bruno. 2011. Love Your Monsters: Why we must care for our technologies as we do our children. In Love Your Monsters: Postenvironmentalism and the Anthropocene, szerző: Michael Shellenberger és Ted Nordhaus, 30–46. epub. s. l.: The Breakthrough Institute.
Lee Six, Abigail – Thompson, Hannah. 2016. From Hideous to Hedonist: The Changing Face of the Nineteenth Century Monster. In The Ashgate Research Companion to Monsters and the Monstrous, szerk. Asa Simon Mittman – Peter J. Dendle. 335–358. London: Routledge.
Limpár Ildikó. 2021. Rémesen népszerű: Szörnyek a populáris kultúrában . Budapest: Athenaeum.
Lovecraft, Howard Phillips. 2014. The New Annoted H . P . Lovecraft . London: W. W. Norton & Company.—. 2008. H . P . Lovecraft: The Fiction . New York (NY): Barnes & Noble.
De Man, Paul. 1999. Az olvasás allegóriái . Szeged: Ictus–JATE.
Morton, Timothy. 2007. Ecology Without Nature: Rethinking Environmental Aesthetics. Cambridge (MA): Harvard UP.
Nemes Z. Márió – Wirágh András. 2020. A halottak globálisan lovagolnak: Bevezetés a kortárs gótikus diskurzusokba. Helikon (2): 145–167.
Shelley, Mary. 2001. Frankenstein. New York: Hungary Minds Inc.
Stevenson, Robert Louis. 2005. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde . Toronto: Broadview.
Wright, Alexa. 2013. Monstrosity: The Human Monster in Visual Culture . London: I. B. Tauris.
22. 09. 2021.