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A new account of the interconnectedness of history, medicine, politics, myth, and literature in early modern culture, focussing on the ways in which monsters give particular force, colour, and shape to the imagination; the image at its centre is the triangulated picture of Andromeda, Perseus and the monster, approaching.

The book charts the process of sustained and distinctive change in the cultural significance of the monstrous from the mid-sixteenth century to the late seventeenth. It is structured as a series of close readings, supported by the exploration of a wide range of texts and images, from many diverse fields, which all concern themselves with illicit coupling, unarranged marriages, generic hybridity, and the politics of monstrosity. It includes original readings of major works of French literature by Montaigne, Rabelais, Ronsard, Pascal, Corneille, and Racine.


The book is illustrated throughout, with 36 black-and-white halftones.