Literature used for this post:

Grotesque, by Justin D. Edwards and Rune Graulund

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The more I read this book, the more I realize that art grotesque is so much more than just a really interesting visual artistic style. Lots of social criticism can be found in there.

So, I just read the fifth chapter of this book. It discusses disharmony and transgression within art grotesque – mainly in literature, to be honest.

This chapter starts with clarifying some of the concepts it discusses.

Disharmony – transgresses the borders of what is considered a harmonious form to create disorientation and confusion, and is dependent on an idea of harmony, a sense of symmetry and balance.

Transgression – to violate rules and borders, to go beyond aesthetic limits, ethical/established forms of behaviour, violate rules, but also giving shape and form to the rules being violated.

Exaggeration – to enlarge or diminish something beyond normal proportions, to make it larger, better or worse than it is. This term is parted in two; parts of a complete form can be exaggerated, or the entire form is exaggerated.

Discussed within exaggeration are some physical traits; length, strength and weight. Among these, an extremely tall person is considered irreversable; nothing can be done about it (except, of course, chopping of the legs). Strength and over-weight are considered grotesque because they can be changed.

Extravagance – excessive waste, to show off, lacking restraint, go outside the borders for normality.

This is something I feel is done to a large extrent today. Society seems to admire extravagance in extreme.

Excess – another term that can be applied on our own society. Excessive consumption, crime et cetera – even extreme weather.

Within the grotesque, excess can be so powerful it creates a physical reaction in the audience. It is a destablizing factor to what is accepted and normal.

Admittedly, I’m not too impressed with this chapter. I do find the explainations of these words within the grotesque quite helpful (though not surprising), but again – they use examples and references of modern authors and critics, and I do find it a bit tedious.

However; I think I’ll find enormous joy when we start actually looking at art, to see for ourselves how all these terms and concepts manifest in the grotesque imagery.

Now, there are a few chapters in this book that I won’t be reading at this time. Two of them relate to topics that I have entire books to read about – and I think I’ll do that, instead.

See you in the next post, with another book. 🙂


This is me, sharing my fascination with the grotesque, the macabre, the disfigured, the ugly and the dark – mainly in art and literature, but I might quite possibly also indulge into the twists of the human mind.


Feel free to read, share and comment – I appreciate it.