Freakery is a concept that has been heavily discussed in correlation with monstrosity. Its discourse has evolved throughout the centuries from its categorization within medieval romance to its more contemporary presence in the medicinal field.  Freaks have been known for lacking and or having excess in a figurative or literal representation. Part of what makes the ‘freak’ so interesting is its ability to avoid a particular categorization, to muddle the boundaries that the norms of society has established.  All of these concepts have pushed the freak towards a life of speculation, in which they act as an object of comic effect or ridicule and torment. Contemporary scholars have addressed freakery in a more positive light, representing a community of people who don’t necessarily fit within the norms society has established. The question remains — how far from the norm an individual must stray to be considered a freak?

All of our group posts can be found under the tag “freakery.” Here is a clickable list of our monsters:

Frieza from Dragon Ball Z

Rick Genest, “Zombie Boy”


Pepper, American Horror Story:  Asylum

The Elephant Man 

The Headless Horseman

Plastic Surgery Beauties

The Wolf Man

The Cyclops

The Eunuch

Mitch Albom’s The Blue Man

Talky Tina in The Twilight Zone

The Hermaphrodite

Below is a compilation of our individual bibliographies:

Albom, Mitch. The Five People You Meet in Heaven. New York: Hyperion, 2006. Print.

Anderson, Michael. “Reading Violence in Boys’ Writing.” Language Arts , Vol. 80, No. 3, Celebrating Local Languages and Literacies (January 2003), pp. 223-230 <>.

Baumgartner, Holly Lynn., and Roger Davis. Hosting the Monster. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2008. Print.

Bogdan, Robert. “In Search of Freaks.” Freak Show: Presenting Human Oddities for Amusement and Profit. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1988. N. pag. Print.

Brand, Peg Zeglin. “Beauty Matters.” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 57.1 (1999): 1-10. JSTOR. Wiley. Web. Nov. 2013.

Braunberger, Christine. “Revolting Bodies: The Monster Beauty of Tattooed Women.”NWSA Journal 12.2 (2000): 1-23. Print.

Bruner, Marjorie W. “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: A Mythological Parody.” College English 25.4 (1964): 274-83. Print.

Carnes, Mark C. Rev. of Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, by Rosemarie Garland Thomson; The Inhuman Race: The Racial Grotesque in American Literature and Culture, by Leonard Cassuto. The Journal of American History 84.4 (1998): 1501-03. Organization of American Historians. Nov. 2013. <>.

Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome. “Monster Culture (Seven Theses).” Monster Theory: Reading Culture. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, 1996. 3-23. Print.

Corona, Victor P. Memory, Monsters, and Lady Gaga. Journal Of Popular Culture 46.4 (2013): 725-744. EBSCO. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.

Craig, J. Robert. “The Original Story in Werewolf Cinema of the 1930s and ’40s.” Studies in Popular Culture 27.3 (2005): 75-86. JSTOR. Popular Culture Association in the South. Web. Nov. 2013. <>.

Csicsery-Ronay, Istvan, Jr. “On the Grotesque in Science Fiction.” Science Fiction Studies 29.1 (2002): 71-99. JSTOR. SF-TH Inc. Web. Nov. 2013. <>.

Davidson, Arnold I. “The Horror of Monsters,” in The Boundaries of Humanity: Humans, Animals, Machines, eds. James J. Sheehan and Morton Sosna (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1991): 36-65. Print.

De Souza. “Origins of the Elephant Man: Mosaic Somatic Mutations Cause Proteus Syndrome.” Clinical Genetics 81.2 (2012): 123-24. EBSCO Mega File. Web.

Douglas, Mary. Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo (New York and Washington: Praeger, 1966): 29-40, 122-128. Print.

Eberle, Scott G. “Exploring the Uncanny Valley to Find the Edge of Play.” American Journal of Play. N.p., Fall 2009. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.

Esolen, Anthony. “Secular Grendel.” Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity 24.1 (2011): 20-23. EBSCO. Web. 20 Nov. 2013.

Farrell, Jennifer Kelso. “The Evil Behind the Mask: Grendel’s Pop Culture Evolution.”  Journal of Popular Culture 41.6 (2008): 934-949. EBSCO. Web. 20 Nov. 2013.

Ferguson, Christine. “”Gooble-Gabble, One of Us”: Grotesque Rhetoric and the Victorian Freak Show.” Victorian Review 23.2 (1997): 244-50. JSTOR. Victorian Studies Association of Western Canada. Web. Nov. 2013. <>.

Fiedler, Leslie A. “The Tyranny of the Normal.” The Hastings Center Report 14.2 (1984): 40-42.

Foley, Caroline A. “Fashion.” The Economic Journal 3.11 (1893): 458-74. JSTOR. Wiley. Web. Nov. 2013. <>.

Glenn, Justin. “Virgil’s Polyphemus.” Greece and Rome 2nd ser. 19.1 (1972): 47-59.JSTOR. Cambridge University Press. Web. Nov. 2013. <>.

Graham, Peter W., and Fritz Oehlschlaeger. Articulating the Elephant Man: Joseph

Merrick and His Interpreters. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1992. Print.

Graham, Sarah. “See Synonyms At MONSTER”: En-Freaking Transgender In Jeffrey Eugenides’s Middlesex.” Ariel 40.4 (2009): 1-18. EBSCO MegaFILE. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.

Grosz, Elizabeth. “Intolerable Ambiguity: Freaks As/at the Limit.” Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body. By Rosemarie Garland Thomson. New York: New York UP, 1996. 55-66. Print.

Harris, Muriel. “The Doll.” The North American Review 212.781 (1920): 809-15.JSTOR. Web. 21 Nov. 2013. <>.

Hernandez, Pura Nieto. “Back in the Cave of the Cyclops.” The American Journal of Philology 121.3 (2000): 345-66. JSTOR. The Johns Hopkins University Press. Web. Nov. 2013 <>.

Hume, Kathryn. “Medieval Romance and Science Fiction: The Anatomy of a Resemblance.” The Journal of Popular Culture 15.1 (1982): 15-26. Google Scholar. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.

Jones, Meredith. Skintight: An Anatomy of Cosmetic Surgery. Oxford: Berg, 2008.

Lamb, D. S. “Mythical Monsters.” American Anthropologist ns 2.2 (1900): 277-91.JSTOR. Wiley. Web. Nov. 2013. <>.

Liu, Alan. “Toward a Theory of Common Sense: Beckford’s Vathek and Johnson’s Rasselas.” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 26.2 (1984): 183-217. University of Texas Press. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. <>.

Lowe, Lisa. “Rereadings in Orientalism: Oriental Inventions and Inventions of the Orient in Montesquieu’s “Lettres persanes”.” Cultural Critique 15 (1990): 115-143. University of Minnesota Press. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. <>.

Mason, Katherine A. “Intersexuals Fight Back.” New Haven Advocate. N.p., 2 Apr. 2001. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.<>.

Mateen, Farrah J. and Boes, Christopher J. “‘Pinheads’ The Exhibition of Neurologic Disorders at ‘The Greatest Show on Earth.’” Neurology 75.22 (2010): 2028-2032.

Mcroy, Jay, and Guy Crucianelli. ““I Panic the World”: Benevolent Exploitation in Tod Browning’s Freaks and Harmony Korine’s Gummo.” The Journal of Popular Culture 42.2 (2009): 257-72. Wiley Online Library. Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Web. Nov. 2013. <>.

Milosh, Joseph and John Gardner. “John Gardner’s ‘Grendel’: Sources and Analogues.” Contemporary Literature 19.1 (1978): 48-57. JSTOR. Web. 20 Nov. 2013.

Montagu, Ashley, and Frederick Treves. The Elephant Man: A Study in Human Dignity. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1979. Print.

Morgan, Kathryn P. “Women and the Knife: Cosmetic Surgery and the Colonization of Women’s Bodies.” Feminism and the Body 6.3 (1991): 25-53.

Nashawaty, Chris. “Monster Mash.” Entertainment Weekly 1227 (2012): 66. EBSCO MegaFILE. Web. 23 Nov. 2013.

Neal, Allison. “The Continued Fascination with Freaks.” Journal of Victorian Culture 17.4 (2012): N. pag. Print.

Nepomnyashchy, Catherine T. “Pushkin’s The Bronze Horseman and Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”: A Curious Case of Cultural Cross-Fertilization?” Slavic Review Special Issue: Aleksandr Pushkin 1799-1999 58.2 (1999): 337-51. JSTOR. Web. 21 Nov. 2013. <>.

Opitz, J. M., and M. C. Holt. “Microcephaly: General Considerations and Aids to Nosology.” Journal of Craniofacial Genetics and Developmental Biology 10.2 (1990): 175-204. Web.

Piacentino, Ed. “”Sleepy Hollow” Comes South: Washington Irving’s Influence on Old Southwestern Humor.” The Southern Literary Journal 30.1 (1997): 27-42. JSTOR. Web. 21 Nov. 2013. <>.

Pinedo, Isabel. “Recreational Terror: Postmodern Elements of the Contemporary Horror Film.” Journal of Film and Video 48.1/2 (1996): 17-31. JSTOR. University of Ilinois Press. Web. Nov. 2013. <>.

Rothkirch, Alyce von. “’His face was livid, dreadful, with a foam at the corners of his mouth’:  A Typology of Villains in Classic Detective Stories.” The Modern Language Review , Vol. 108, No. 4 (October 2013), pp. 1042-1063. <>.

Schildkrout, Enid. “Inscribing The Body.” Annual Review of Anthropology 33.1 (2004): 319-44. JSTOR. Annual Reviews. Web. Nov. 2013. <>.

Scrine, Clair. “Freakish Bodies.” Metascience 8.3 (1999): 508-510. EBSCO. Web. 20 Nov. 2013.

Senelick, Laurence. “Enlightened by Morphodites: Narratives of the Fairground Half-and-Half.” American Studies 44.3 (1999): 357-78. Universitatsverlag. Web. 27 Nov. 2013. <>.

Shields, Sharma. “The McGugle Account.” The Iowa Review 39.3 (2009/10): 83-92.JSTOR. University of Iowa. Web. Nov. 2013. <>.

Studlar, Gaylyn. This Mad Masquerade: Stardom and Masculinity in the Jazz Age. New York: Columbia UP, 1996. Print.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven. Dir. Lloyd Kramer. Perf. Jon Voight, Jeff Daniels. Lionsgate, 2004. TV Movie.

Thomson, Rosemarie Garland. “Introduction: From Wonder to Error—A Genealogy of Freak Discourse in Modernity”. Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body. By Rosemarie Garland Thomson. New York: New York UP, 1996. 1-19. Print.

Tibbles, J. A., and M. M. Cohen. “The Proteus Syndrome: The Elephant Man Diagnosed.” Bmj 293.6548 (1986): 683-85. Print.

United States of America. United States Patent Office. Simulating Sunburning Toy Dolls and Figurines. By Charles A. Wagner and Herman B. Wagner. N.p.: n.p., 1960. Print.

Ussher, R. G. “The ‘Cyclops’ of Euripides.” Greece and Rome 2nd ser. 18.2 (1971): 166-79. JSTOR. Cambridge University Press. Web. Nov. 2013. <>.

Weber, Brenda R. “Masculinity, American Modernity, and Body Modification: A Feminist Reading of American Eunuchs.” Signs 38.3 (2013): 671-694. The University of Chicago Press. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. <>.

Wilson, Christopher K. “John Quider’s “Ichabod Crane Flying from the Headless Horseman”” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin 29.1 (1984): 12-19. JStor. Web. 21 Nov. 2013. <>.

Wilson, D. Harlan. “An Evolution of Monsterology.” Rev. of On Monsters: An Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears, by Stephen T. Asma. Science Fiction Studies 37.3 (2010): 495-498. SF-TH Inc. Nov. 2013. <>.

Wolfe, Peter. “Almost Human.” In The Zone: The Twilight World of Rod Sterling. N.p.: Bowling Green State University Popular, 1997. 95-124. Print.

Yeazell, Ruth Bernard. Harems of the Mind: Passages of Western Art and Literature. New Haven: Yale UP, 2000. Print.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s