I had the opportunity to present a short paper about giant rats in literature as part of a three-day conference titled ‘Monsters and the Monstrous: Myths and Metaphors of Enduring Evil’. All the panels were held at Harris Manchester College, Oxford University courtesy of the Interdisciplinary Network and saw examinations of perceived ‘monstrosity’ in film, art, sociology and ethnography, literature and folktale.

Papers covered everything from transmutant axolotls to cannibalism, necrophilia as an alternative Heimlich manoeuvre to the posited connection between Shakespeare’s Caliban and Nicki Minaj’s music videos. Many thanks to Simon Bacon, Rob Fisher and Kasia for convening the overall event, my fellow panel-members Marcia Heloisa Amarante Gonçalves (‘The Devil Whisperer: Animality as a Path to Taming the Monster in The Exorcist‘) and Almudena Nido (‘Monstrous Heads on the Hero’s Body: Animal Art and Hybridity’) and all the conference delegates for their insights, prompts and fascinating conversation.

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