Over Her Dead Body: Death, Femininity and the Aesthetic

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Manchester University Press, 1992 - Family & Relationships - 460 pages

In 1846, 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. Her examples range from Carmen to Little Nell, from Wuthering Heights to Vertigo, from Snow White to Frankenstein. The text is richly illustrated throughout with thirty-seven paintings and photographs.

The argument that this book presents is that narrative and visual representations of death can be read as symptoms of our culture and because the feminine body is culturally constructed as the superlative site of "other" and "not me", culture uses art to dream the deaths of beautiful women.



Violence of representation representation of violence
From animate body to inanimate text
Case study Wife to Mr Rossetti Elizabeth Siddall 182962
Strategies of translation mitigation and exchange
Stabilising the ambivalence of repetition
Case study Henrys sister Alice James 184892
Conclusion Aporias of resistance
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Page 460 - When it most closely allies itself to Beauty: the death then of a beautiful woman is unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world...

About the author (1992)

Elisabeth Bronfen is Professor of English and American Studies at the University of Zurich

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