Cover

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Title Page, About the Series, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

One of the great pleasures of finishing a book is the opportunity it affords to reflect back upon the generosity of so many people who supported its writing. ...

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Introduction: The Intimate Stranger

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pp. xi-xx

His body an affront to natural proportion, the giant encodes an excess that places him outside the realm of the human, outside the possibility of desire. Yet a different cultural moment has enabled the same monster who gives "satisfaction" only through his "defeat and death" (Burke, Enquiry, 158) to preside as a jolly green corporate emblem, ...

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1. The Ruins of Identity

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pp. 1-28

In the most celebrated essay in Anglo-Saxon studies, J. R. R. Tolkien liberated Old English literature from its monsters. The opinion of philologists such as W. P. Ker had long held sway: Beowulf was a poem valuable for the historical allusions that limn its periphery, worthless for the three battles against monsters that form its narrative heart. ...

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2. Monstrous Origin: Body, Nation, Family

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pp. 29-61

For many centuries, Guildhall, London's center of civic governance, enclosed within the order of its architecture a pair of menacing giants. These intimate strangers at the heart of the nation were two immense statues erected before the mid-sixteenth century, perhaps as early as the reign of Henry V. ...

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3. The Body in Pieces: Identity and the Monstrous in Romance

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pp. 62-95

In the Sega video game Mortal Kombat, players triumph over their opponents through the martial arts, usually by kicking them to death. The victor's electronic avatar reaches into the prostrate enemy's body and rips out the spinal cord, to which the brain is still attached. ...

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4. The Giant of Self-Figuration: Diminishing Masculinity in Chaucer's "Tale of Sir Thopas"

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pp. 96-118

Caroline Walker Bynum has argued that the years around 1300 saw a widely renewed cultural fascination with the fragmentation of the human form, with the body in pieces.1 First in Italy and then elsewhere in Europe, autopsies were performed to determine legal cause of demise, transforming dead flesh into living narratives; ...

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5. The Body Hybrid: Giants, Dog-Men, and Becoming Inhuman

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pp. 119-141

In an intriguing short story, Vladimir Slepian writes of a man who decides to become a dog.1 One limb, one organ at a time, he transforms himself, mapping the affects of the canine body across a human form in the strangest kind of diagramming. Dogs are quadrupedal, and so he ties shoes to hands and feet. ...

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6. Exorbitance

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pp. 142-184

The 1950s were a decade of monsters: giant spiders, giant ants, giant bees, giant praying mantises, giant alien fungi, and of course, plain old giants. No other period in recent memory has been so obsessed with constructing, deconstructing, and reconfiguring the category "monster," with employing the label for nationalistic, capitalistic, misogynistic, and culturally imperialistic ends. ...

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Afterword: Transhistoricity

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pp. 185-186

As I finish writing this book about the life of the giant in medieval England, I am haunted by a very American television commercial for an imported automobile, a four-wheel-drive sport utility vehicle manufactured in Japan. ...

Notes

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pp. 187-210

Bibliography

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pp. 211-230

Index

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pp. 231-235

Other Works in the Series, About the Author

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