Marvels, Monsters and Freaks 1780-1920 - HI5075

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Autumn
View Timetable
5 30 (15)







Society has always been fascinated by those deemed different and over time, unusual people have been viewed and constructed in a myriad of ways. The course explores the continuities and changes surrounding those classed as different. Broadly, the course will investigate the changing nature of difference from the 1780s to the 1920s. It will examine the body and mind as contested sites; spaces occupied by those considered different; the establishment of normality versus deviance; the changing conceptions of difference over time; relationships between unusual people and the wider society. Using a broad range of sources, from novels to film, the course will trace the shifting cultural constructions of difference.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

One weekly one hour seminar and one weekly two hour seminar.

Indicative reading

Bogdan, Freak Show (1988)
Shattuck, The Forbidden Experiments: The Story of the Wild Boy of Aveyron (1980)
McDonagh, Idiocy: A Cultural History (2008)
Garland Thompson, Freakery (1996)
Feidler, Freaks (1978)
Tromp, (ed), Victorian Freaks (2008)
Porter, A Social History of Madness (1987)
Dale and Melling, Mental Illness and Learning Disability Since 1850 (2006)
Durbach, The Spectacle of Deformity (2009)
Sander L Gilman, Difference and Pathology (1985)
Turner, and Stagg, (eds) Social Histories of Disability and Deformity (2006)
Ernst, (ed) Histories of the Normal and Abnormal (2006)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

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