Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Our deep need for monsters that lurk in the dark

Sea monsters are the stuff of legend - lurking not just in the depths of the oceans, but also the darker corners of our minds. What is it that draws us to these creatures, asks Mary Colwell.

"This inhuman place makes human monsters," wrote Stephen King in his novel The Shining. Many academics agree that monsters lurk in the deepest recesses, they prowl through our ancestral minds appearing in the half-light, under the bed - or at the bottom of the sea.

"They don't really exist, but they play a huge role in our mindscapes, in our dreams, stories, nightmares, myths and so on," says Matthias Classen, assistant professor of literature and media at Aarhus University in Denmark, who studies monsters in literature. "Monsters say something about human psychology, not the world."

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