“It Takes Two”: Horror and Laughter in the Monstrosity of the Medieval to Modern Loathly Lady

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jessica White (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: https://library.appstate.edu/
Allison Gulley

Abstract: This thesis is an exploration of the humor and horror of the monstrous loathly lady viewed through a feminist lens. The loathly lady is a medieval figure who begins as an ugly, loathsome hag and ends the tale as a beautiful young woman as long as a man is able to solve a riddle of sovereignty. Through her transformation, much can be seen about attitudes about women and gender politics as she shifts from a monstrous woman to a normalized one. My goal is to examine her monstrosity as not only horrific but humorous. Traditionally, female monstrosity is only considered horrific, ultimately resulting in the same conclusion: that female monstrosity indicates an unfavorable view of strong and subversive females. However, in the case of the loathly lady, there is also an aspect of laughter to her monstrous appearance. I argue that depending on who the reader identifies with, this humor can often lead to the opposite conclusion. Furthermore, I broaden my analysis of the loathly lady to include examples from the Renaissance and modern day in order to see how these elements, and thus attitudes on female monstrosity, change over time.

Additional Information

White, J (2015) “It Takes Two”: Horror and Laughter in the Monstrosity of the Medieval to Modern Loathly Lady. Unpublished master's thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC
Language: English
Date: 2015
Feminism, loathly-lady, monstrosity, humor, medieval

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