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Rough BeastsThe Monstrous in Irish Fiction, 1800-2000$
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Jack Fennell

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620344

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620344.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 11 May 2021



In Defence of Fear

(p.1) Chapter One Introduction
(p.iii) Rough Beasts

Jack Fennell

Liverpool University Press

In political rhetoric, academic analysis, social theory and everyday speech, fear is characterised as a limitation or an obstacle to be overcome – see turns of phrase such as ‘culture of fear,’ ‘management by fear’ and so on. This introduction argues for a more useful conception of fear, based on Ernst Bloch’s continuum of ‘negative expectant emotions,’ and combines this with a Sartrean conception of the absurdity of human existence to establish the function of monsters in human culture. In short, monsters reveal the limitations of our ideologically constructed world by breaking it: history cannot continue in their presence; they refute humanity’s ownership of the world, and traditionally, they have occupied spaces where human civilization cannot or will not go. Each monster disrupts history in a way particular to itself, and this chapter lays the groundwork for further analysis along those lines.

Keywords:   fear, absurdity, history, disruption, Bloch, Sartre

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