She-wolf

A cultural history of female werewolves

Editor: Hannah Priest

This book explores the cultural history of the female werewolf, from her first appearance in medieval literature to recent incarnations in film, television and popular literature. It focuses on folkloric records of the island of Saaremaa, Estonia, a territory in which, unusually, there are more folktales of female werewolves than male. The book also explores tropes and strategies of feminisation evident in Werewolf: The Apocalypse to reveal an almost unique disavowal of the masculine werewolf in favour of traditions of presenting the female werewolf. The examination of Honoré Beaugrand's 'The Werewolves' offers fruitful discussion of the female werewolf's integration into colonial discourse and narrative. In the nineteenth century, at the fin de siècle, female authors began to produce fiction about the female werewolf. Two of the most interesting examples of this, which have been curiously neglected by critics, are Clemence Housman's novella The Werewolf and Rosamund Marriott Watson's poem 'A Ballad of the Were-wolf', written under the pseudonym Graham R. Tomson and published in 1891. Then, the book examines twenty-first-century young adult paranormal romance texts, considering the ways in which such texts associate lycanthropy with contemporary idealisations and constructions of the post-adolescent female. It explores presentations of body-centred violence in film, drawing parallels between female werewolves and other violent females in horror cinema. Finally, the book also examines cinematic representations of the femme animale with an exploration of how this conceptualisation of the feminine might inform a reading of Ginger Snaps.

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