Monstrosity, Ecocriticism and Socio-Political
Anxieties in Two Sea Narratives
This article analyses two recent American rewritings of the Leviathan myth: Dan Simmons‘s
The Terror (2007) and Tim Curran‘s Leviathan (2013). Belonging to a tradition that has
fruitfully elaborated the sea monster paradigm, both novels respond to current concerns
about the spiritual and ethical decline of Western culture, the perils of anarchy, the
monetarization of relations, and the impending ecological disasters. Besides exploring the
biblical and Hobbesian intertextuality of the two novels, the article investigates various
meanings coalescing into the scary creatures represented by Simmons and Curran. Two other
objects of scrutiny are the increasing spectacularization of horror in todays literature
and the potentiality of nautical Gothic, a form of writing that connotes the sea as a
perturbing generator of psychoontological distress.
Angela Carter‘s Exposure of Flesh-Inscribed Stereotypes
The human body is a crucial site for the inscription of cultural paradigms: how people are perceived controls the way they are treated. Postmodernist writers have shown sexual roles, racial inequalities and other forms of discrimination to be parts of a process of reductio ad absurdum, consisting of the identification of the individual‘s social functions with their anatomical features as well as with the habitual marking of their bodies. This article examines Angela Carter‘s The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman where Carter‘s refusal of established body politics is most clearly dramatised. This novel exposes the dreary consequences of power/weakness relations, together with its contradictory exploitation of Gothic devices, making it an esssential testimony to Carter‘s postmodernist reconfiguration of worldviews and narrative modes.