Over her dead body : death, femininity and the aesthetic in SearchWorks catalogNarrative and visual representations of death, drawing their material from a common cultural image repertoire, can be read as symptoms of our culture. The feminine body appears as a perfect, immaculate aesthetic form because it is a dead body, solidified into an object of art. This book explores the conjunction of death, art and femininity, which forms a rich and disturbing strata of Western culture. It unfolds the psychoanalytic and semiotic terminology and raises issues concerning representation, the interstice between the dead body and the image, sacrifice of the body for the production of art and re-establishment of order. The book then explores myths of femininity and beauty, and presents a socio-historical discussion of death since the mid eighteenth century and in its relation to the new value ascribed to femininity during this period. Using Lacan's typology of gender constructions, it presents Jane Eyre as the typical Victorian example for a tripartite feminine death figure.
Recommend to librarian. Buy Rights to this title. Request a Review or Inspection Copy. In , Edgar Allen Poe wrote that 'the death of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetic topic in the world'. The conjuction of death, art and femininity forms a rich and disturbing strata of Western culture, explored here in fascinating detail by Elisabeth Bronfen. The text is richly illustrated throughout with thirty-seven paintings and photographs.
Death, femininity and the aesthetic
Gout thus centers a study that persuasively places a series of sicknesses into precise historical frames, suggesting that, "even as we 'treat' afflictions of the human body and regard illness as the invasion of microbes or baciUi, we must also read them as inextricably integrated into a specific culture at a specific time" p. Gordon shows how gout has both a literal and a Uterary history: as its medical profile shifts in the wake of political and class upheavals, so too does its significance as a trope marking social position undergo alteration. It is unfortunate that Gordon's superb essay languishes in a volume that otherwise has Uttle to recommend it. New York: Routledge, Over Her Dead Body is a highly original book that exposes the powerful and astonishingly pervasive conjunction of death, femininity, and the aesthetic in Western culture since the Enlightenment. It is no accident, Elisabeth Bronfen contends, that beautiful women, dead or dying, figure prominently in the literature, art, and cultural tropes of these past three hundred years, especially in the Romantic and Victorian eras. Indeed, from about on, the literary scene is a veritable parade of feminine corpses, fair revenants, and pale doubles for the dead.