Synopses & Reviews
The female body has occupied a central place in the Western imagination, its images pervading poetry and story, mythology and religious doctrine, the visual arts, and scientific treatises. It has inspired both attraction and fear, been perceived as beautiful and unclean, alluring and dangerous, a source of pleasure and nurturing but also a source of evil and destruction.
In The Female Body in Western Culture, twenty-three internationally noted scholars and critics, in specially commissioned essays, explore these representations and their consequences for contemporary art and culture. Ranging from Genesis to Gertrude Stein and Angela Carter, from ancient Greek ritual to the Victorian sleeping cure, from images of the Madonna to modern film and Surrealist art, the essays cover a wide spectrum of approaches and subject mailer. They all converge, however, around questions of power and powerlessness, voice and silence, subjecthood and objectification. And they point the way to the new possibilities and displacements of traditional male-female oppositions. Androgyny in a new key? This book demonstrates that a blurring of gender boundaries does not have to deny difference.
male-female oppositions. Androgyny in a new key? This book demonstrates that a blurring of gender boundaries does not have to deny difference.
About the Author
Susan Rubin Suleiman is the Dillon Professor of the Civilization of France and Professor of Comparative Literature, Harvard University.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Eros
1. (Re) Writing the Body: The Politics and Poetics of Female Eroticism
Susan Rubin Suleiman
2. The Somagrams of Gertrude Stein
Catherine R. Stimpson
3. In Praise of the Ear (Gloss's Glosses)
Thomas C. Pavel
Part 2: Death
4. Dangling Virgins: Myth, Ritual, and the Place of Women in Ancient Greece
5. Speaking Silences: Women's Suicide
6. Death Sentences: Writing Couples and Ideology
Part 3: Mothers
7. Stabat Mater
8. The Matrix of War: Mothers and Heroes
Part 4: Illness
9. The Rest Cure: Repetition or Resolution of Victorian Women's Conflicts?
Ellen L. Bassuk
10. The Clinical Eye: Medical Discourses in the "Woman's Film" of the 1940s
Mary Ann Doane
11. Interpreting Anorexia Nervosa
Part 5: Images
12. The Virgin's One Bare Breast: Female Nudity and Religious Meaning in Tuscan Early Renaissance Culture
Margaret R. Miles
13. "This Heraldry in Lucrece' Face"
Nancy J. Vickers
14. Edgar Degas and the Representation of the Female Body
Carol M. Armstrong
15. Sexuality at a Loss: The Films of F. W. Murnau
16. Ladies Shot and Painted: Female Embodiment in Surrealist Art
Mary Ann Caws
17. Jean Rhys: Poses of a Woman as Guest
Part 6: Difference
18. Woman as a Semiotic Object
19. Sexuality, Sin, and Sorrow: The Emergence of Female Character (A Readingof Genesis 1-3)
20. The Politics of Women's Bodies: Reflections on Plato
21. Rereading as a Woman: The Body in Practice
Nancy K. Miller
22. Female Fetishism: The Case of George Sand
23. Huysmans: Writing Against (Female) Nature
Notes on Contributors