Body criticism

STAFFORD Barbara Maria

Body criticism : imaging the unseen in enlightenment art and medecine

Cambridge (Mass.) ; London : The MIT Press, 1993, 1 vol. (XXI-585 p.).

ISBN 0-262-69165-5

MOND 494

Résumé :

In this elegant and profusely illustrated history of perception, Barbara Stafford explores a remarkable set of body metaphors deriving from both aesthetic and medical practices that were developed during the enlightenment for making visible the unseeable aspects of the world. While she focuses on these metaphors as a reflection of the changing attitudes toward the human body during the period of birth of the modern world, she also presents a strong argument for our need to recognize the occurence of a profound revolution – a radical shift from a text-based to a visually centered culture. Stafford uses this historical insight to argue that modern societies need to develop innovative, nonlinguisitic paradigms and to train a broad public in visual aptitude.

Barbara Maria Stafford is professor of art history at the University of Chicago.

Contents :

Introduction : The visualization of knowledge
Somatic metaphors
Hunting for method
Surface or depth
Picture and text

1. Dissecting
Searching operations
Physiognomics, or corporeal connoisseurship
The calculation of incongriuty
Pathognomics, or the pursuit of looks

2. Abstracting
Systems of epitomization
Wounds of experience
Distracting styles of pain
Patterns of interiority

3. Conceiving
Barbarisms, or strangeness incarnate
“Brain-born images”
Breeding for difference
Grotesques, or Ars combinatoria

4. Marking
Contagious pointillism
Stains of desire
“Like a shadow on the skin”
Romantic misfits

5. Magnifying
Microscopic seers
Visual quackery
Dream projections
Free to be false

6. Sensing
A finer touch
Mental meteorology
Fluid phantoms
Communicable feelings

Conclusion : The aesthetics of almost

Axe de recherches :

  • Axe transversal : Cultures visuelles

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