Posted by: plbh88 | 06/04/2011


I can’t believe that it’s already APRIL.

Lots of things to mention:

Firstly, I’ve condensed my research on monsters to more fully flesh out one fantastic creature in particular already discussed on the blog: the harpy of 1784.  Inspiring and subsequently shaped by visual culture such as engravings and etchings, artists, craftsmen, fashion merchants, playwrights, naturalists, and social critics alike appropriated and exploited the metaphorical power of the harpy.  From its appearance in popular broadsides and pamphlets in 1784 and into the Revolution, the harpy spoke to numerous concerns and issues as a symbolic monster in the eighteenth-century French imaginary.  As the concept of the monster was and remains anything but static, monstrosity could take varied forms and its effects varied according to audience.  Inspiring fears and sensations of disorder and sterility to those of fascination and humor, monsters such as the harpy manifested themselves across multiple spheres of French society in the decade that would explode in revolution.

Although most works on revolutionary-era caricatures include at least one harpy print, my research has uncovered a wide variety of different images of this monster that are as fantastic as the descriptions that accompany many of them.  One of my favorite parts of this project was searching out obscure and even unpublished harpy prints, some of which are completely ridiculous but go to show how “unreasonable” the Age of Reason could be.

In addition to further developing these ideas on my own and with my professors, I was able to share them with my friends and others at the annual Charles Center Honors Colloquium earlier in the semester.  This was a great way to condense my thoughts and ideas.

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