Beasts of the Forest
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Beasts of the Forest: Denizens of the Dark Woods offers its readers an in-depth and interdisciplinary engagement with the forest and its monstrous inhabitants; through critical readings of folklore, fiction, film, music video and animation.

Within the text there are a multitude of convergent critical perspectives used to engage and explore fictional and real monsters of the forest in media and folklore. The collection features chapters from a variety of academic perspectives: film and media studies, cultural studies, queer theory, Tolkien studies, mythology and popular music are featured. Under examination are a wide range of narratives and media forms that represent, reimagine and create the werewolves, witches and weird apparitions that inhabit the forest, along with the forest as a monstrous entity in itself.

Whether they be our shelter and safe-haven or the domain of malevolent spirits and sprites, forests have the capacity to horrify and threaten those that venture into them without permission. Human interference has continually threatened forests across the world, yet this threat is reversed in myth, folklore and more recent cultural forms. This collection ranges widely to analyse how forests figure in contemporary culture, as well as the wider contexts in which such representations are inserted.


1. Ferocious Forests

1.1 Richard Mills 'You're already in Hell': Representations of the Forest in Wolf People's video Night Witch (2016)

1.2 Elizabeth Parker 'That Awful Secret of the Wood': Venturing Beneath the Deep Dark Forest

1.3 Fodor András In the shadow of the Lovecraftian forest: the haunting arborescent space in Brian Catling's The Vorrh

2. Denizens of the Woods

2.1 Jon Hackett Long in the Tooth? Werewolves of a Certain Age

2.2 Benjamin Dalton Got wood?: Cruising the queer forest with Alain Guiraudie

3. Tolkein's Forests

3.1 Brad Eden Trees and Tolkien: Reflections between medieval and modern reverence

3.2 Leticia Cortina Aracil Shadow Shrouds and Moonlight Veils The Forest as an Existential Scene in Tolkien's Legendarium

3.3 Damian O'Byrne The Fiendish Forests of Middle-earth: Tolkien's Trees as Villainous Adversaries




Publié par
Date de parution 02 décembre 2019
Nombre de lectures 2
EAN13 9780861969586
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

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Beasts of the Forest: Denizens of the Dark Woods
Beasts of the Forest: Denizens of the Dark Woods
Edited by Jon Hackett and Se n Harrington
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
Beasts of the Forest: Denizens of the Dark Woods
A catalogue entry for this book is available from the British Library
ISBN: 0 86196 740 7 (Paperback))
ISBN: 0 86196 957 9 (ebook-MOBI)
ISBN: 0 86196 958 6 (ebook-EPUB)
ISBN: 0 86196 959 3 (ebook-EPDF)
Published by
John Libbey Publishing Ltd, 205 Crescent Road, East Barnet, Herts EN4 8SB, United Kingdom
e-mail: ; web site:
Distributed worldwide by Indiana University Press ,
Herman B Wells Library - 350, 1320 E. 10th St., Bloomington, IN 47405, USA.
2019 Copyright John Libbey Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.
Unauthorised duplication contravenes applicable laws.
Printed and bound in the United States of America.
Introduction: Beasts of the Forest
Part 1:
Chapter 1
You re already in Hell : Representations of the Forest in Wolf People s video Night Witch (2016) , Richard Mills
Chapter 2
EcoGothic Secrets: Venturing Beneath the Deep Dark Forest , Elizabeth Parker
Chapter 3
Holy monstrosity of arborescence in Brian Catling s The Vorrh , Andr s Fodor
Part 2:
Chapter 4
Long in the Tooth? Werewolves of a Certain Age , Jon Hackett
Chapter 5
Cruising the Queer Forest with Alain Guiraudie: Woods, Plastics, Plasticities , Benjamin Dalton
Chapter 6
The Good and Bad Forests of Modern Fantasy Cinema: A Kleinian Topology , Alexander Sergeant
Part 3:
Chapter 7
Trees and Tolkien: Reflections between medieval and modern reverence , Brad Eden
Chapter 8
Shadow Shrouds and Moonlight Veils The Forest as an Existential Scene in Tolkien s Legendarium , Leticia Cortina Aracil
Chapter 9
The Fiendish Forests of Middle-earth: Tolkien s Trees as Villainous Adversaries , Damian O Byrne
The Editors and Contributors
From the Beasts of the Forest conference at St Mary s University, Twickenham, 1 July 2017. Image courtesy of Valerian Entertainment.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the speakers that have contributed to our conference series, which has to date covered Beasts of the Deep, Beasts of the Forest and finally Beasts of the Sky . Over the course of three symposia between 2016 and 2018, we were privileged to hear over 50 speakers present papers. We thank each of these presenters for volunteering their time, expertise and creativity.
These conferences would not have been possible were it not for the organisational expertise of Suzanne Gilbert, to whom we are eternally indebted!
We would like to thank our wonderfully talented illustrator Rupert Norfolk, for providing his abundant talents in creating memorable images across each of these collections. Our colleague Lee Brooks has kindly contributed the striking cover to this volume.
Finally we would like to offer a dedication to the memory of Peter Hutchings, who provided the wonderful keynote presentation for Beasts of the Forest in 2017. We were greatly saddened to hear of Peter s passing, and thank him for his memorable contribution.
Belebte Waldstra e (1605) - Brueghel the Elder

Beasts of the Forest
I n the painting Belebte Waldstra e (1605) - Jan Brueghel the Elder captures a small but significant moment from everyday life in the early 17 th century. We see a medieval highway, leading into a dense and dark forest. The overhanging trees shadow the earthen road, and along this road we see travellers, merchants and horsemen, coming and going. These paths into the dense forests of central Europe were significant routes that joined people, cities and farmland. They were the veins that would later carry the life-force of the enlightenment - shining light into the dark ages and washing away our fears of the natural worlds. In medieval times, the forest could be a threatening place - home to dangerous animals alongside myths and legends.
In present times, the Western world can seem like a monstrous place. Socio-political strife and cultural upheaval seem intertwined with impending ecological disaster. The administration of Donald Trump and his inter-mediaries have continually downplayed the existence of climate change, and have been active in the removal of federal protections to the environment within the United States and beyond ( The Guardian , 2017). Jair Bolsonaro, president of Brazil and named by some Trump of the Tropics , has committed to dialling back his country s protections for the Amazon rainforest and has suggested pulling Brazil out of the 1993 Paris agreement (Nature, 2018). Here in Europe, our last remaining tract of primeval forest - Bia owie a forest in Poland - was up until recently being threatened by renewed logging, which saw some 200,000 cubic meters of ancient trees cut down (Cole, 2018). The forest would have continued to be reduced, were it not for timely action by the European Court of Justice ( mihorski et al , 2018).
In early 2019, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Sir David Attenborough pleaded and begged world leaders at the very least to acknowledge the threat posed to the natural world: We can wreck it with ease, we can wreck it without even noticing. (BBC, 2019) The dulcet tones of his famous voice, continually imploring us not to forget that the ecological disasters of land and sea implicate us all, and it is up to us to take action before it is too late. Though what specific actions can be taken against the growing tide of human expansion and industrialisation, Attenborough does not specify.
When did the natural world cease to be threatening and when did it start to become so acutely threatened? This is a question to hold, during the course of the following collection. The papers enclosed within this text, offer a variety of analyses of threatening apparitions of the forest - the media texts that represent arboreal contexts as monstrous in themselves, or as home to monsters. It is hoped that by initiating these discussions, we can ascertain the cultural attraction and appeal of these threatening forest apparitions - as images of what is essentially one of the most threatened ecological contexts in the 21 st century.
Conjuring the spirits of the Frankfurt School (or alternatively Althusser, (1971)), popular media texts can offer us a look into the ideologies of the industries and culture within which we exist. The western Culture Industry , as described by Adorno and Horkheimer (1944), is still animated by the spirit of the industrial revolution - the ideals of enlightenment and modernism that sought to push back the boundaries of the wild, the superstitious and the esoteric - enabling plenty and minimising want.
Yet despite the socio-cultural movements that sought to expel and repress our fear of our natural world, these spaces and places come back to haunt our popular imagination - reworked and mediated by commercial apparatuses - that produce, distribute and exhibit our popular media.
Over the last 10 years, the academic field of monstrosity has gained renewed interest, as evidenced in several collections - Asma (2009), Wright (2013) and indeed our precursor to this text: Beast of the Deep: Sea Creatures and Popular Culture (2018). Among recent discussions - James Eli Adams (2018) questions the scientific discourses around monstrosity - that position the monstrous as anomalies that instilled radical fear (Adams, 2018, p. 776). Radical, perhaps, in its ability to conjure up a sense that the world around us is changing, and at times we can feel powerless to affect these changes. Perhaps we have become so complacent in the natural world s vulnerability and impending destruction that fantasies of this space as threatening once again hold a strange appeal.
Continually in our popular media, we see the forest designated as a threatening space, filled with horrors of human or supernatural creation. Indeed, a wave of Scandi-noir-inspired television series begin with or contain a young woman, being chased through the woods by a killer - starting with the Danish production Forbrydelsen (2007). This was repeated and repacked across national boundaries - France: La For t (2017), Germany: Dark (2017) and the United States: The Killing (2011-2014). The forest is such a common horror geography, that one does not have to go far to find threatening arboreal spaces. Recent films such as The Ritual (2017), The Witch (2015) and Apostle (2018), all position the forest as a point and place of archaic connection with primordial and esoteric horrors.
Yet these tendencies can be followed into the recent and far past - the expressed fears of settling Puritans in North America positioned the forests as the direct opponent of their work in civilising their new landscape (Ringel, 2017). Their anxieties over whether they had discovered a new-Eden, or hell on earth, were played out in their folk-tales and anxieties as projected on to these dark and foreboding woods, a tendency repeatedly expressed in the literature and storytelling practices of North America up to recent times - from the dark woods of American Gothic literature, to the haunted woods of contemporary American television (from Twin Peaks (1990-1991) and The X-Files (1993-2002) to Grimm (2011-) and Sabrina (2018-), among many others).
This collection forms a series of discussions of these beasts of the woods, as they appear in our popular media. The follo

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