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Rebecca Steele

2015 WIHR Research Projects

Screams in the Dark: The Socio-Political Implications of the Female Monster in 19th Century German-Language Literature

Funded projects, February 2015

Researcher: Rebecca Steele

Department: Modern and Classical Languages

In my new book project, Screams in the Dark: Female Monsters in 19th Century German-Language Literature, I will investigate the intersectionality and multiple oppressions present in the female monster, which appears in German literature of the19th century during times of major upheaval and transition. Witches, sirens, mermaids, and golems can be found in fairy tales at the turn of the century, marking the peak of the socio-political debate on definitions of gender and their implication for women’s rights. Shape-shifters, mermaids, and spiders appear mid-century, when the first wave of women’s rights advocates declare that the emancipation men were seeking during the 1848 revolutions should apply to both sexes.  My project will uncover and interpret the various ways male and female authors create, shape, and transform female monsters as a mechanism to understand and synthesize their changing socio-political landscape.

Female Monsters

Female Monsters

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