New Books Network

Liz Gloyn

Tracking Classical Monsters in Popular Culture

Bloomsbury Academic 2019

New Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in European StudiesNew Books in FilmNew Books in FolkloreNew Books in Literary StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Popular Culture November 12, 2019 Aven McMaster and Mark Sundaram

What is it about ancient monsters that popular culture still finds so enthralling? Why do the monsters of antiquity continue to stride across the...

What is it about ancient monsters that popular culture still finds so enthralling? Why do the monsters of antiquity continue to stride across the modern world? In Tracking Classical Monsters in Popular Culture (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019), the first in-depth study of how post-classical societies use the creatures from ancient myth, Liz Gloyn reveals the trends behind how we have used monsters since the 1950s to the present day, and considers why they have remained such a powerful presence in our shared cultural imagination. She presents a new model for interpreting the extraordinary vitality that classical monsters have shown, and their enormous adaptability in finding places to dwell in popular culture without sacrificing their connection to the ancient world.

Her argument takes her readers through a comprehensive tour of monsters on film and television, from the much-loved creations of Ray Harryhausen in Clash of the Titans to the monster of the week in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, before looking in detail at the afterlives of the Medusa and the Minotaur. She develops a broad theory of the ancient monster and its life after antiquity, investigating its relation to gender, genre and space to offer a bold and novel exploration of what keeps drawing us back to these mythical beasts. From the siren to the centaur, all monster lovers will find something to enjoy in this stimulating and accessible book.


Aven McMaster and Mark Sundaram are historians and the hosts of the excellent podcast The Endless Knot.