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Book Cover for: Of Men and Monsters: Jeffrey Dahmer and the Construction of the Serial Killer, Richard Tithecott

Of Men and Monsters: Jeffrey Dahmer and the Construction of the Serial Killer

Richard Tithecott

Of Men and Monsters examines the serial killer as an American cultural icon, one that both attracts and repels. Richard Tithecott suggests that the stories we tell and the images we conjure of serial killers - real and fictional - reveal as much about mainstream culture and its values, desires, and anxieties as they do about the killers themselves. Why, for example, does Hannibal Lecter, though clearly dangerous, seem brilliant, even alluring, while his dark counterpart in Silence of the Lambs, Buffalo Bill, represents pure monstrosity? In a nation where murders occur every day, why do those we name "serial killers" seem so different, meriting a flood of public and media attention? Looking at how Jeffrey Dahmer's story was told - on the Geraldo talk show and CNN specials, in Washington Post editorials and People Weekly pictorials - Tithecott argues that the serial killer we construct for ourselves is a mythical figure in the contemporary world. Transcending boundaries between madness and sanity, civilization and savagery, the idea of the serial killer fulfills dreams of masculinity, purity, and violence.

Book Details

  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publish Date: Oct 15th, 1997
  • Pages: 208
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 9.28in - 6.31in - 0.73in - 1.00lb
  • EAN: 9780299156800
  • Categories: CriminologyMurder - GeneralUnited States - General

About the Author

Richard Tithecott is an administrative director at the University of Southern California. He is coeditor of the Signet Classic edition of My Secret Life: An Erotic Diary of Victorian London.

Praise for this book

"In this post-modern reading, Jeffrey Dahmer is not a page in the history of true crime but a Monster who serves many rhetorical and cultural functions."--Philip Jenkins, Penn State University, author of Using Murder: The Social Construction of Serial Homicide

"Brilliantly compelling. Tithecott challenges us to investigate our simultaneous distancing from and fascination with serial murder."--Maria Tatar, Harvard University, author of Lustmord: Sexual Murder in Weimar Germany

"Tithecott takes aim at the unsettling disparity of attention between murderer and murdered."--Chris Bull, Washington Post