Monstrous Births

  • Karen J. Renner


Throughout history, monstrous births have been interpreted as signs of parental sins or widespread social flaws. Maternal impression theory in particular linked a mother’s emotions and experiences to her child’s malformations. Monstrous birth narratives from the 1960s–1980s continued the tradition of maternal impression but also indicted fatherhood and social problems. Later texts, however, have returned to a form of maternal impression that sees monstrous children as the fitting offspring of equally monstrous mothers afflicted by “baby hunger.” The challenges posed by second-wave feminism and advancements in reproductive technologies led to the creation of father-focused monstrous birth stories as well. Antichrist narratives and tales about mad scientists and their monstrous brainchildren returned attention to the power of paternity.


Down Syndrome Birth Control Pill Female Protagonist Alien Abduction Delivery Room Staff 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen J. Renner
    • 1
  1. 1.Northern Arizona UniversityFlagstaffUSA

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