Marchetto Santorun, María Cecilia: "‘Terrible monsters Sin-bred’. Blakean monstrosity in Alan Moore’s graphic novels." In: Palgrave Communications 6.91 (2020), S. 1–15, <https://www.nature.com/articles/s41599-020-0451-2>.
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BibTeX citation key: MarchettoSantorun2020
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Keywords: "From Hell", "Neonomicon", "Promethea", "Providence", "Swamp Thing", Bissette. Stephen R., Blake. William, Burrows. Jacen, Campbell. Eddie, Monster, Moore. Alan, Totleben. John, United Kingdom, USA, Williams III. J.H.
Creators: Marchetto Santorun
Collection: Palgrave Communications
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William Blake’s illuminated books are full of depictions of the monstrous, like Orc’s or Urizen’s metamorphoses, bestial figures such as the Leviathan in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (c. 1790–1793), and the masses of blood and flesh appearing in The Book of Urizen (1794). In contrast to eighteenth-century discourses in which moral virtue and monstrosity were polar opposites, Blake’s universe is more complex and presents an ambivalent attitude towards revolution and social transgression embodied in the monstrous. The meanings of the monstrous in Blake are associated with evil in his works, where it can be understood as released or repressed energies, two types which correspond, respectively, to liberation or alienation. Via countercultural influence, Blakean antinomianism filtered down to Alan Moore, for whom the notion of evil depends on perspectives; thus, in Moore, the socially unacceptable can appear as monstrous, but monstrosity is also a mode through which to make visible the oppressive order that defines transgression as such. This article will discuss Blake and Moore’s use of visual and verbal aesthetics to identify as monstrous characters like Satan, Urizen and Orc in Blake and William Gull, Asmodeus and Cthulhu in Moore to pinpoint the meanings that underlie them and how the direct or indirect Blakean influence operates in Moore’s works. This will contribute to trace changes in their meanings as they pass from signifying energy to tyranny, from unfallenness to fallenness, or from conventional to visionary perception. This exploration will also show the changes in their mode of representation, contributing to understand the peculiarities of the Gothic side of Moore’s construction of Blakean vision. To do this, a series of parallels found in several examples from Alan Moore’s graphic novels will be analysed, especially Swamp Thing (1984–1987), where the hero is a vegetable–human hybrid; From Hell (1989–1998), where the villain acts as both mad scientist and monster in his perverse endeavour to violently reshape female desire to his will; Promethea (1999–2005), where a divine emanation is perceived as a threatening devil by opposing fundamentalists; and finally the horrible entities in Neonomicon (2010–2011) and Providence (2015–2017).
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