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Ugliness: A Cultural History

Ugliness: A Cultural History
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Ugliness: A Cultural History
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  • ISBN: 9781780239316
57,60 Lei
72,00 Lei
Fără TVA: 57,60 Lei
In this riveting book Gretchen E. Henderson explores perceptions of ugliness through history, from ancient Roman feasts to medieval grotesque gargoyles, from Mary Shelley's monster cobbled from corpses to the Nazi Exhibition of Degenerate Art. Covering literature, art, music and even Uglydolls, Henderson reveals how ugliness has long posed a challenge to aesthetics and taste. Following ugly bodies and dismantling ugly senses across periods and continents, Ugliness: A Cultural History draws on a wealth of fields to cross cultures and times, delineating the changing map of ugliness as it charges the public imagination. Now available in paperback, this book is illustrated with a range of artefacts and offers a refreshing perspective that moves beyond the surface to ask what `ugly' truly is, even as its meaning continues to shift.

"In her wide-ranging and frequently illuminating study, Ugliness: A Cultural History, published this month, Gretchen Henderson traces the connections--some obvious, but many not at all--between aesthetic norms and cultural anxieties, from antiquity to the present day. Henderson's totemic character is Polyphemus, the half-divine Cyclops whose appearance in Homer's Odyssey is one of the poem's most harrowing episodes. Set apart by his 'non-Greek race, enormous size, congenital disorder and demigod status' (or, to put it more broadly, by his difference, hybridity, and hypervisibility), the monster exemplifies the lasting tendency to equate appearance with less tangible values. . . . Henderson artfully links the Polyphemus myth to the 'hierarchy of species' found in Aristotle's 'Generation of Animals.' Aristotle's 'downhill slope' is topped by men, followed by women, then devolves into 'hybrid offspring' like satyrs and fauns. This motion, from powerful to exoticized, illustrates the trick--later employed at the height of phrenological and eugenic crazes--of forcing the worth, and, ultimately, the humanity, of certain individuals to correspond with often arbitrary aesthetic categories. . . . Beauty does more than simply seduce: it masks and perfumes, freezes moral categories in place. Ugliness--with all its seams unconcealed--is sometimes the closest thing to the truth."--Vinson Cunningham "New Yorker "

"If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then so is ugliness. For proof, look no further than the concept's own history, most recently traced by Henderson. Although there are some objectively repugnant moments--until the late twentieth century, cities including Chicago and Omaha had 'ugly laws' that made it illegal for people with disabilities to appear in public--any transgressions that once seemed ugly now look like progress. Among them: the seventeenth-century Chinese painting Ten Thousand Ugly Inkblots, which resembles lauded work from Jackson Pollock, and the music once described as 'grunts and squeaks' also known as jazz. 'Rather than mere binaries, ' Henderson writes, 'ugliness and beauty seem to function more like binary stars. They orbit and attract each other, and we can admire both.'"--Lily Rothman "Time Magazine "

"Ugliness is in the eye of the beholder--or is it? Henderson's book asks this central question and answers it in an engaging and exciting way. Accessible and amusing, you need to read it to find out whether ugliness is only a cultural or a brain construct!"--Sander L. Gilman, author of Illness and Image

"A fascinating meditation on a slippery subject."--Guardian

"Henderson's cultural history of ugliness skates, at an entertainingly high speed, across large swathes of territory, cultural, historical, and biological, always fascinating...[T]he existence and resistance of the ugly is a reminder--urgent and intense and necessary--that the world does not exist for us alone."--Times Literary Supplement

"In this brief but expansive cultural history, Henderson removes ugliness from its binary relationship with beauty, probing how the term functions as a signifier of cultural boundaries and sites of transformation. . . . Henderson's multidisciplinary approach to the topic makes the book a valuable resource for scholars throughout the arts and humanities. This would also be a useful text for freshman seminars because the writing style fosters discussion and critical thinking. Overall, the book is a highly recommended addition to academic and art libraries."--ARLIS/NA

"A multifarious book about ugliness, exploring the subject in its multiple forms . . . engagingly written and copiously illustrated."--Choice

"Henderson approaches her topic through an impressive number of examples, spanning disciplines, mediums, usages, geographies, and chronologies, and including works of fine and popular art, architecture, mythology, cultural moments, historical facts, and human individuals and groups. The book offers an anecdotal survey of what people have termed 'ugly' in various contexts. . . . The author manages to take the discussion of ugliness into its own territory, beyond a mere opposition to beauty. This book provides an engaging and accessible cultural history that is informative and entices the reader to see things in a different perspective."--History Today

"Ugliness: A Cultural History is a provocative book because, while exploring our relationship to that which we brand as ugly (or beautiful), Gretchen Henderson forces us to reflect on our tastes and fears, our social conventions, and our everyday notions of justice. Such a call to attention is always very useful; in our prejudiced age it has become essential."--Literary Review

"We tend to use the word confidently, as though ugliness has a self-evident and unchanging meaning. In fact, Henderson writes, the "shape-shifting" term has a long, strange, and "unruly history." Breaking her lively study into sections--"ugly ones," "ugly groups," "ugly senses"--she touches on an impressive assortment of cultural eras in order to form a rather, well, unbecoming picture of human fears, anxieties and prejudices . . . through this well-illustrated study, she makes a terrific case for how we've regulated the borders of acceptability and mistreated whatever crosses the line."--Maclean's
Autor HENDERSON, Gretchen E.
An apariţie 2018
Editura Reaktion Books
Nr pagini 240
Dimensiuni 21.6 x 13.8 cm
Format Paperback
Cuvinte cheie: henderson gretchen