Fragments, Genius and Madness: Masks and Mask-Making in the fin-de-siècle Imagination

Segnini, E. (2021) Fragments, Genius and Madness: Masks and Mask-Making in the fin-de-siècle Imagination. Series: Studies in Comparative Literature (56). Legenda. ISBN 9781781888544

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At the turn of the nineteenth century, as inquiries about degeneration shaped medical, anthropological and philosophical discourses, masks flourished as portraits, ornaments, and disguises. Drawing upon psychoanalysis, anthropology, feminist and queer studies, Elisa Segnini explores tales that revolve around masks and mask-making in relation to nineteenth-century thought, offering innovative readings of fictional and dramatic works by Max Beerbohm, Gabriele D’Annunzio, Jean Lorrain, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Andrey Bely, next to artifacts such as the plaster cast of the Inconnue de la Seine, the waxes of criminals held in Cesare Lombroso’s museum, Rodin’s ‘horror masks’ modeled after a Japanese dancer. In the fin-de-siècle imagination, this comparative study argues, masks addressed two concepts: the repressed elements of the psyche and the perceived parameters of a declining phase in Western civilization. This monograph demonstrates to what extent the medical, sociological and aesthetic spheres overlapped in fin-de-siècle Europe, and contributes to debates about gender and ethnicity in Decadence and modernist studies.

Item Type:Books
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Segnini, Dr Elisa
Authors: Segnini, E.
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > Italian

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