Werewolves and Other Shapeshifters in Popular Culture

A Thematic Analysis of Recent Depictions


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About the Book

In recent years, shapeshifting characters in literature, film and television have been on the rise. This has followed the increased use of such characters as metaphors, with novelists and critics identifying specific meanings and topics behind them. This book aims to unravel the shapeshifting trope. Rather than pursue a case-based study, the works are grouped around specific themes—adolescence, gender, sexuality, race, disability, addiction, and spirituality—that are explored through the metaphor of shapeshifting. Because of the transformative possibilities of this metaphor and its flexibility, the shapeshifter has the potential to change how we see our world. With coverage of iconic fantasy texts and a focus on current works, the book engages with the shapeshifting figure in popular culture from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Kimberley McMahon-Coleman is an associate professor (academic development) at Charles Sturt University in Australia. Her research interests include the Gothic, Indigenous literature, popular culture, and academic language and learning.
Roslyn Weaver has a PhD in literature from the University of Wollongong and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in medical humanities at Western Sydney University. Her research interests include apocalypse, popular culture, children’s literature, and speculative fiction.

Bibliographic Details

Kimberley McMahon-Coleman and Roslyn Weaver
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 211
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6816-4
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9250-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      v
Foreword: Shapeshifters Know No Bounds (Gerry Turcotte)      1
Preface      3
Introduction      5

1. Dear Diary, I Become a Monster Once a Month: Shapeshifting and Adolescence      15
2. Wolf Boys and Wolf Girls: Shapeshifting and Gender Politics      41
3. Till Death Do Us Part and Beyond: Shapeshifting, Desire and Sexuality      68
4. The Alpha Race: Racial and Social Politics of Shapeshifting      92
5. Shapeshifting and the Body: Disability, Illness and Mental Health      117
6. Coping, Masking and Addiction: A Little Drinking Problem      140
7. What to Do with Eternity? Shapeshifting and Spirituality      161

Conclusion      184
Works Cited      187
Index      195

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “A fine contribution”—SFRA Review
  • “Recommended…an excellent resource”—Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts