free hit counter code Idols of Perversity: Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin-de-Siècle Culture - GoBooks - Download Free Book
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

Idols of Perversity: Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin-de-Siècle Culture

Availability: Ready to download

At the turn of the century, an unprecedented attack on women erupted in virtually every aspect of culture: literary, artistic, scientific, and philosophic. Throughout Europe and America, artists and intellectuals banded together to portray women as static and unindividuated beings who functioned solely in a sexual and reproductive capacity, thus formulating many of the ant At the turn of the century, an unprecedented attack on women erupted in virtually every aspect of culture: literary, artistic, scientific, and philosophic. Throughout Europe and America, artists and intellectuals banded together to portray women as static and unindividuated beings who functioned solely in a sexual and reproductive capacity, thus formulating many of the anti-feminine platitudes that today still constrain women's potential. Bram Dijkstra's Idols of Perversity explores the nature and development of turn-of-the-century misogyny in the works of hundreds of writers, artists, and scientists, including Zola, Strindberg, Wedekind, Henry James, Rossetti, Renoir, Moreau, Klimt, Darwin, and Spencer. Dijkstra demonstrates that the most prejudicial aspects of Evolutionary Theory helped to justify this wave of anti-feminine sentiment. The theory claimed that the female of the species could not participate in the great evolutionary process that would guide the intellectual male to his ultimate, predestined role as a disembodied spiritual essence. Darwinists argued that women hindered this process by their willingness to lure men back to a sham paradise of erotic materialism. To protect the male's continued evolution, artists and intellectuals produced a flood of pseudo-scientific tracts, novels, and paintings which warned the world's males of the evils lying beneath the surface elegance of woman's tempting skin. Reproducing hundreds of pictures from the period and including in-depth discussions of such key works as Dracula and Venus in Furs, this fascinating book not only exposes the crucial links between misogyny then and now, but also connects it to the racism and anti-semitism that led to catastrophic genocidal delusions in the first half of the twentieth century. Crossing the conventional boundaries of art history, sociology, the history of scientific theory, and literary analysis, Dijkstra unveils a startling view of a grim and largely one-sided war on women still being fought today.


Compare
Ads Banner

At the turn of the century, an unprecedented attack on women erupted in virtually every aspect of culture: literary, artistic, scientific, and philosophic. Throughout Europe and America, artists and intellectuals banded together to portray women as static and unindividuated beings who functioned solely in a sexual and reproductive capacity, thus formulating many of the ant At the turn of the century, an unprecedented attack on women erupted in virtually every aspect of culture: literary, artistic, scientific, and philosophic. Throughout Europe and America, artists and intellectuals banded together to portray women as static and unindividuated beings who functioned solely in a sexual and reproductive capacity, thus formulating many of the anti-feminine platitudes that today still constrain women's potential. Bram Dijkstra's Idols of Perversity explores the nature and development of turn-of-the-century misogyny in the works of hundreds of writers, artists, and scientists, including Zola, Strindberg, Wedekind, Henry James, Rossetti, Renoir, Moreau, Klimt, Darwin, and Spencer. Dijkstra demonstrates that the most prejudicial aspects of Evolutionary Theory helped to justify this wave of anti-feminine sentiment. The theory claimed that the female of the species could not participate in the great evolutionary process that would guide the intellectual male to his ultimate, predestined role as a disembodied spiritual essence. Darwinists argued that women hindered this process by their willingness to lure men back to a sham paradise of erotic materialism. To protect the male's continued evolution, artists and intellectuals produced a flood of pseudo-scientific tracts, novels, and paintings which warned the world's males of the evils lying beneath the surface elegance of woman's tempting skin. Reproducing hundreds of pictures from the period and including in-depth discussions of such key works as Dracula and Venus in Furs, this fascinating book not only exposes the crucial links between misogyny then and now, but also connects it to the racism and anti-semitism that led to catastrophic genocidal delusions in the first half of the twentieth century. Crossing the conventional boundaries of art history, sociology, the history of scientific theory, and literary analysis, Dijkstra unveils a startling view of a grim and largely one-sided war on women still being fought today.

30 review for Idols of Perversity: Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin-de-Siècle Culture

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Mason

    Did you know that in 1896 an anorexic actress made a small fortune posing nude for portraits which were called “The Dead Lady Look” because tuberculosis (consumption in common parlance) was considered a glamorous way to die? One of the most mind-blowing treatises on women in society and culture I have ever read. Picked this one up when I was researching my fin de siècle book, The Gilded Age (originally titled The Golden Age). You will never again look at our society’s depiction of women in the me Did you know that in 1896 an anorexic actress made a small fortune posing nude for portraits which were called “The Dead Lady Look” because tuberculosis (consumption in common parlance) was considered a glamorous way to die? One of the most mind-blowing treatises on women in society and culture I have ever read. Picked this one up when I was researching my fin de siècle book, The Gilded Age (originally titled The Golden Age). You will never again look at our society’s depiction of women in the media without considering the subtext of male-dominated society. Dijkstra draws upon the particularly virulent attack on women of the fin de siècle period I was studying, but the resonances of his analyses are everywhere around us today. It’s all about money and power, who has it and who doesn’t, and how that affects your life, your freedom, and your liberty. This is scholarly—citations, an extensive bibliography, quotations, and best of all the art. Beautifully and engagingly written, with astute analysis of how money, power, and the striving for personal freedom affected relations between men and women (and gay people). Partial chapter titles include such gems as “Raptures of Submission and the Cult of the Household Nun,” “The Nymph with the Broken Back and the Mythology of Therapeutic Rape,” “Women of Moonlight and Wax, the Lesbian Glass,” “Gold and the Virgin Whores of Babylon, the Priestesses of Man’s Severed Head,” “Clinging Vines and the Dangers of Degeneration.” A Must Read.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alessandra

    A survey of misogyny in late-Victorian art. Extremely creepy. The evidence may be a bit wobbly in places, but the sheer number of appalling examples is extremely telling. One of those important, eye-opening books worth reading, but ugh.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mir

    An interesting study, although Dijkstra commits the all-too-common scholarly sin of ignoring masses of evidence that don't fit his thesis. He also erroneously treats this instantiation as unique, rather than as part of a recurring pattern of shifting attitudes toward women.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Herman

    What is that book your reading? It’s about art history. Is it a college textbook? Well, I think it might be the author is a college professor. Why are you reading it? Good question Not a simple answer but the best I can say is I like Art History. Dr. Bram Dijkstra is very observant and speaks about cultural misogyny in a way that I can understand but it takes a good deal of my gray matter working overtime to get through his very thick analysis of the various aspects of this movement as it is demonstrat What is that book your reading? It’s about art history. Is it a college textbook? Well, I think it might be the author is a college professor. Why are you reading it? Good question Not a simple answer but the best I can say is I like Art History. Dr. Bram Dijkstra is very observant and speaks about cultural misogyny in a way that I can understand but it takes a good deal of my gray matter working overtime to get through his very thick analysis of the various aspects of this movement as it is demonstrated in the Art, and literature of the Victorian era. Really that’s your answer? Well yes, in short but there are other parts that I find interesting as well, the language while it doesn’t really flow off the tongue I find it at times witty and at times funny and at times just rather thought provoking. For example in the chapter about the Nymph with the broken back he talks about the ‘self-directed arboreal ecstasies of the dryads’ Basically at the time a lot of artists like to paint pictures of nude women in trees. Or when speaking about the economic conditions of the time and it’s impact on the male mindset he has this observation. This Hobbesian jungle ,…led to crucial adjustments to the middle class’s sense of cultural and moral motivation in what had been perceived,..as a world of necessary mutual depredation. (I just love that phrase necessary mutual depredation). And this I found just very funny. ‘Physicians explained to horrified husbands that as blood drained from their wives brains to rush to their excited reproductive organs, their minds as well as their bodies weakened, and the soul and body alike would trail off into a sleep induced by erotic self-stimulation.’ (So because women were finger-banging themselves so much they didn’t have enough blood in their brains to stay awake? Sounds more like a teenage boy problem to me). There are also the words my vocabulary has increased with all the new and odd words found in this text. Things like satiety, abeyance, maudlin, and protean to name just a few. And I also wanted to mention this I thought of this as I read the description of the often used theme of women staring at themselves in a round mirror or a pool of water. ‘Yet as long as woman existed apart from man, she existed as Woman, the great undifferentiated, static expression of primal being. Thus, her womanhood was a source of continual fascination to her. To see herself was her only hold on reality: If she was the mirror of nature, then water, the natural mirror, was the source of her impersonal, self-contained self-identity. To prevent loss of self she had to reassure herself continually of her existence by looking in that natural mirror-the source of her being, as it were, the water from which, like Venus, she had come and to which , like Ophelia, she was destined to return, Which caused me to remember this. ((One of the heresaiarchs of Uqbar had stated that mirrors and copulation are abominations, since they both multiply the number of man.)) Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges (Haha brain is overheating and cracking jokes all at the same time) So in conclusion three final observations 1) This took a real long time to read deep thoughts and dense language at least I understood all the art references but not a light read by any means. 2) Near the very end of the book the author finally got around to explaining the Cover of the book Ella Ferris Pell ‘Salome’ 1890 Good story nice counterpoint. 3) The final concluding argument that ‘these fantasies of gynecide thus opened the door to the realities of genocide in the twentieth century yes and no, I don’t feel the author tied his numerous examples together in a way that clearly made that point. So I’ll try to explain it in my way of thinking. The Fin-De-Siecle cultural period was for the American experience like our Tween years, early middle-school time were assholes in a collective sense and all this cultural mien grafted onto our impressionable psychics like stink on shit. So we grew up as a nation mentally warped, hey can’t help it our great-great-grandparents were perverts and racists, and had weird eugenic ideals. So this art is our collective Id or as my wife calls it “The Bitch in the Basement” who is now fully grown in fact getting a bit old and still is driven by the fantasies of their youth in the case of males, or the cultural restrictions and moral suasions of sex and worthiness and value in the case of females, and all of this is observable in the art. This book is about the art at the time when western societies made a detour into the realm of darkness.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Macie

    This is an ambitious book, one of the most well-researched I've encountered, that very methodically lays out the snowball effect that stereotypes about women created in fin-de-siecle culture. While visual art plays the starring role, literature, philosophy, and scientific theories are each analyzed in turn. It's not perfect; the author sometimes overreaches, gets repetitive (I never want to read the phrase "nymph with a broken back" again), and occasionally goes on tangents that made no sense at This is an ambitious book, one of the most well-researched I've encountered, that very methodically lays out the snowball effect that stereotypes about women created in fin-de-siecle culture. While visual art plays the starring role, literature, philosophy, and scientific theories are each analyzed in turn. It's not perfect; the author sometimes overreaches, gets repetitive (I never want to read the phrase "nymph with a broken back" again), and occasionally goes on tangents that made no sense at all to me in the context of the book. I had to read this in pieces because I got so angry about how women were portrayed, and about how those Victorian-era ideas became archetypes in contemporary culture (watching an episode of Sex and the City is all that is needed to verify this). Rather than try to connect these ideas to modern culture, however, the author uses them to make the case that these dehumanizing ideas established the base for the Nazi regime. It's a fascinating read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    Often fascinating analysis of depictions of women as symbolic of evil, real and metaphorical. Dijkstra covers art and literature primarily. I found the book quite thought-provoking when I read it a few years back and am still talking about years later. Highly recommended.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Marley

    A friend of mine found this in the remainder stack and got it realy cheap and sent it to me We both love the Pr-Raphaelites. We're both perverse. The language is a bit flowery and the casual reader needs to know a bit of art history, but the plethora of pictures makes up for it. I recommend this book not only for those who enjoy art, but for historians, to. How depressing to learn your favorite art is woman-hating. or rather so many Victorian artists were afraid of women. Really, though, this is A friend of mine found this in the remainder stack and got it realy cheap and sent it to me We both love the Pr-Raphaelites. We're both perverse. The language is a bit flowery and the casual reader needs to know a bit of art history, but the plethora of pictures makes up for it. I recommend this book not only for those who enjoy art, but for historians, to. How depressing to learn your favorite art is woman-hating. or rather so many Victorian artists were afraid of women. Really, though, this is a tour-de-force.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    A very interesting timeline of sociocultural changes in attitude toward women in the West--primarily Europe, with some U.S.--from the mid-1800s through the Industrial Revolution and into the disbursement of evolutionary theory and its subsequent influence into World War I, as reflected in the popular, praised art of the time. Dijkstra takes a pretty strong anti-men tone in some places, to the point that I'd almost say it kills the message--except the message is so meticulously and repetitively do A very interesting timeline of sociocultural changes in attitude toward women in the West--primarily Europe, with some U.S.--from the mid-1800s through the Industrial Revolution and into the disbursement of evolutionary theory and its subsequent influence into World War I, as reflected in the popular, praised art of the time. Dijkstra takes a pretty strong anti-men tone in some places, to the point that I'd almost say it kills the message--except the message is so meticulously and repetitively documented that it's pretty well unkillable.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kira Barnes

    Buy this book only for the beautiful pictures. This man doesn't know what he's talking about and pretends to be a feminist. Well, I as a woman am insulted by what he says about some of my favorite artists ever. I think I read this book about 25 years ago. My opinion still stands. If you like this book I will hunt you down and hit you with a wet noodle.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Hugolane

    I knew nothing of this book until a month ago when a web search for pictures of women in the late nineteenth century took me to a A. J. Carlisle's blog post about it. Ordered it and read it as quickly as I could during a very busy semester. The first half of the book blew me away. As an historian of the nineteenth century, I understand the separate sphere's ideology and am familiar with some of the Viennese Secession artists who get a fair amount of attention. I even had an intuitive sense of th I knew nothing of this book until a month ago when a web search for pictures of women in the late nineteenth century took me to a A. J. Carlisle's blog post about it. Ordered it and read it as quickly as I could during a very busy semester. The first half of the book blew me away. As an historian of the nineteenth century, I understand the separate sphere's ideology and am familiar with some of the Viennese Secession artists who get a fair amount of attention. I even had an intuitive sense of the misogynistic aspect of paintings of the ear. Nonetheless Dijkstra brought that to the fore of my consciousness. It seemed the first five or six chapters had two or three sentences so rich and eloquent that they deserved to be written down. Towards the end, I lost some of my enthusiasm, eve if I think the later chapters may be necessary to complete his argument, but I am not sure. The art was nice though, and it was nice to see his explication of Leopold Sacher-Masoch's _Venus in Furs_ in the final chapter. Reading the other reviews, Dijkstra's claim that the misogyny and male fantasies among the elite laid the groundwork for the Holocaust is controversial, but as a specialist in the era, I think he is correct. He is not making a direct causal link, as I understand it, just pointing to the way the elitist and misogynistic thinking of the era opened up that possibility.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    There is a certain type of historian who loves to demonize the past. Dijkstra is one of them. He also suffers from the delusion that right now, this moment in history, is the apogee of all human endeavor and every other era suffers by comparison. I think these people represent a very specific type of narcissist who seem to believe that their personal presence improves the world to the point of perfection never before achieved in any other era. This book is full of the type of academic bullshit pr There is a certain type of historian who loves to demonize the past. Dijkstra is one of them. He also suffers from the delusion that right now, this moment in history, is the apogee of all human endeavor and every other era suffers by comparison. I think these people represent a very specific type of narcissist who seem to believe that their personal presence improves the world to the point of perfection never before achieved in any other era. This book is full of the type of academic bullshit produced by a human being whose relative worth is equal to nipples on a boar hog; trying to convince useful people that the writer's existence is justified. Well, I suppose that's true; shitty books full of misinterpreted social history won't write themselves. My advice is to avoid the text, the illustrations alone are worthy of a five star review; unfortunately it was the information that dragged the overall rating down to one star. Hey Bram, make yourself useful and go rotate my tires, will ya?

  12. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    The chief merit of this book is that it collects hundreds of obscure fantasy paintings from the latter half of the nineteenth century. Academic artists here rub shoulders with Symbolists, Pre-Raphaelites, and Art Nouveau figures. Some of the artists like Klimt and Moreau will be familiar, but for every artist you've heard of you'll meet five you won't recognize. Unfortunately, the author is only interested in passing moral judgments on the subject matter of these paintings, so all of the illustr The chief merit of this book is that it collects hundreds of obscure fantasy paintings from the latter half of the nineteenth century. Academic artists here rub shoulders with Symbolists, Pre-Raphaelites, and Art Nouveau figures. Some of the artists like Klimt and Moreau will be familiar, but for every artist you've heard of you'll meet five you won't recognize. Unfortunately, the author is only interested in passing moral judgments on the subject matter of these paintings, so all of the illustrations are black and white. The author's dour and sour commentary on these forgotten masterpieces is ironically effective and adds piquancy to the pictures. It seems that the author's chief interest in these fascinating images is to judge them and find them wanting under an extremely narrow standard of feminist piety. Like Max Nordau's Degeneration from a century earlier, Dijkstra's moralistic commentary mostly serves to whet your interest and make the pictures that much more devilishly fascinating. Taken as a whole, the commentary gets quite monotonous and is floridly overstated. Images of a gaggle of nude children in the water become precursors to the Holocaust: How nightmarish painters' dreams of infantile flesh could ultimately become is graphically demonstrated in Leon Frederic's monumental triptych 'The Stream', in which this artist, ostensibly to illustrate Beethoven's 'Pastoral' symphony, created with insane literalness the ultimate representation of the familiar equation between water, women, and the world of the child in a carnal orgy of infant flesh. When images of this sort, of this extreme paranoia, arise in man's imagination, can Buchenwald be far behind? It's mostly more of the same throughout the book. Just a few paragraphs are enough to give you an accurate impression of the whole. In the company of an interesting picture, though, Dijkstra's text adds some value and often rises to the heights of low comedy. This isn't a book for reading; it's a book for looking at the pictures.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Marsha Altman

    This book is insane. If you see it in a discount bin, totally pick it up and attempt to read it. From what I can gather, various intellectual circles at the 19th century in continental Europe didn't care too much for women and used theories from the early eugenics movement to justify for their misogyny. Then they made a lot of art, some of now surprisingly popular classic art. Bram Dijkstra collected this art and put it in a book with the widest margins I have ever seen. He has a lot of theories This book is insane. If you see it in a discount bin, totally pick it up and attempt to read it. From what I can gather, various intellectual circles at the 19th century in continental Europe didn't care too much for women and used theories from the early eugenics movement to justify for their misogyny. Then they made a lot of art, some of now surprisingly popular classic art. Bram Dijkstra collected this art and put it in a book with the widest margins I have ever seen. He has a lot of theories, some of them relatively sane but some occasionally crazy, as to why the artists drew women the way that they did. There are tons of pictures of named women lying around in fields, sleeping in a pile of leaves, which if you are a woman will drive you mad because none of us would ever do that - there are things called bugs and other things not to expose yourself to no more comfortable that flowerbed looks. Apparently it all ties into the prevailing theories of the day, which was that women were lazy, terrible and basically the opposite of guys. The writings of these artists contributed to the eugenics movement that eventually led to Nazi Germany, so that's interesting to think about. My recommendation is to skim a lot of it, especially of the author's talking about intellectuals from, say, France from 1890-95 that you've never heard of and have no way of finding out more about. But he does have interesting things to say about the art, much of which is fascinating and beautiful. Also if you live in a household with modestly standards, don't leave the book around because 90% of the paintings are sleeping naked women. They're not showing a whole lot, but they are naked.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Georgina

    The three star rating is an average; 5 stars for the illustrations, 1 star for the text. Bram Dijkstra man-splained this historic and artistic era to me, so now I understand how oppressed women really were. Poor little old me, walking around with this bothersome uterus that prevents me from learning and perceiving on my own. Thanks Bram! )))))))an aside to the readers of this review; I'm whispering so the author can't hear me: #what a clueless dipshit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The three star rating is an average; 5 stars for the illustrations, 1 star for the text. Bram Dijkstra man-splained this historic and artistic era to me, so now I understand how oppressed women really were. Poor little old me, walking around with this bothersome uterus that prevents me from learning and perceiving on my own. Thanks Bram! )))))))an aside to the readers of this review; I'm whispering so the author can't hear me: #what a clueless dipshit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm going to go read a shit-ton of positive Pre Raphaelite books now. I'm going to like what I like, for the reasons I like it; regardless of the opinions of the author. This guy should stop spending so much time being concerned with social justice and do something useful with his time. Hey Bram, get out there and rotate my tires, would ya?

  15. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Buonaventura

    This book charts ways in which women, notably in the Victorian era, were viewed as naturally sick and physically badly designed, and how Western art and literature reflected this in its portrayal of the female sex. A fascinating book, well researched and food for thought.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Carolyne

    An excellent book on how the view of woman in art transitioned from positive to negative as women in society looked to expand their roles in the world i.e. out of the house and into the world.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dfordoom

    Dreary feminist tract. Apparently all western art is a patriarchal plot.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    Great book. Really helped me understand the evolution of the female form in 19th century art.

  19. 5 out of 5

    J.

    Haven't read in too long a time for accurate review. Will revisit.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Karen Lynn

    "When women became increasingly resistant to men’s efforts to teach them, in the name of progress and evolution, how to behave within their appointed station in civilization, men’s cultural campaign to educate their mates, frustrated by women’s “inherently perverse” unwillingness to conform, escalated into what can truthfully be called a war on woman - for to say “women” would contradict a major premise of the period’s anti-feminine thought. If this was a war largely fought on the battlefield of "When women became increasingly resistant to men’s efforts to teach them, in the name of progress and evolution, how to behave within their appointed station in civilization, men’s cultural campaign to educate their mates, frustrated by women’s “inherently perverse” unwillingness to conform, escalated into what can truthfully be called a war on woman - for to say “women” would contradict a major premise of the period’s anti-feminine thought. If this was a war largely fought on the battlefield of words and images, where the dead and wounded fell without notice into the mass grave of lost human creativity, it was no less destructive than many real wars. Indeed, I intend to show that the intellectual assumptions which underlay the turn of the century’s cultural war on woman also permitted the implementation of the genocidal race theories of Nazi Germany. ......... Some of the most vicious expressions of male distrust of, and enmity towards, women can be found in the writings of the medieval church fathers which late nineteenth-century writers liked to quote. These tireless purveyors of culture were also forever delving into the large fund of antifeminine lore to be found in classical mythology and the Bible." ~Bram Dijkstra's, Idol's of Perversity: Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin De Siecle Culture

  21. 4 out of 5

    Gayle Noble

    This book may be summed up as follows: Victorian men had some downright strange ideas about female sexuality. Depicted in art and literature as either virginal 'angels', synonymous with purity, or as lustful nymphs, viragos, maenads, and vampires - women were anything except human beings it seems. (One wonders how much of this mindset lingers today when it comes to the still prevalent sexual double standard, etc.) The author also examines how contemporary science fed into these views, with the be This book may be summed up as follows: Victorian men had some downright strange ideas about female sexuality. Depicted in art and literature as either virginal 'angels', synonymous with purity, or as lustful nymphs, viragos, maenads, and vampires - women were anything except human beings it seems. (One wonders how much of this mindset lingers today when it comes to the still prevalent sexual double standard, etc.) The author also examines how contemporary science fed into these views, with the belief that education stunted women's reproductive capabilities and that women were not actually human in the same way men were. Interesting subject, but infuriating and scary at times.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Staci Marie

    This is one of my most favorite books in the world ever. I've held on to this book for over 20 years. I'm not sure I have keep any other of my books for this long. My ultimate fantasy is to be in an art gallery with every single one of these original paintings.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lenore .

    a brilliant examination of the victorian myths about femininity which are still frighteningly prevalent today. a must-read for both feminists and literature students!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jeri Walker

    Amazing information and critical analysis of art and the projection of women in society. I was horrified and intrigued all at the same time. As with anything important, this has changed the way I view part of the world.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    A bit hysterical, but hysterical men write a lot of fun stuff. It is, of course, important to note the current of misogyny in fin-de-siécle art and literature, but this is hardly unique to the period. I don't buy Dijkstra's suggestion that fin-de-siécle art led to the rise of fascism in Europe and WWII. That's a bit simplistic, and also seems to be an effort to shift the blame to a source that is easily identifiable and easily chastised. Also, his conclusions are a bit depressing, that the only A bit hysterical, but hysterical men write a lot of fun stuff. It is, of course, important to note the current of misogyny in fin-de-siécle art and literature, but this is hardly unique to the period. I don't buy Dijkstra's suggestion that fin-de-siécle art led to the rise of fascism in Europe and WWII. That's a bit simplistic, and also seems to be an effort to shift the blame to a source that is easily identifiable and easily chastised. Also, his conclusions are a bit depressing, that the only proper role for a woman is, well, good and wholesome and quite thoroughly boring. Sometimes a woman just wants to be a ruthless, decapitating, vitality-stealing vampire. It is a bit ironic that in a work about misogyny in art the author tries to define a role for Woman. I suppose at the time this book was published it wasn't very popular to point out that Woman doesn't exist, and we're just people who will do as we please, and be good or bad according to the dictates of our own, individual hearts, just as men do.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Norman

    very interesting read for a man. There are loads of nudes in the text to illustrate the points made and that adds to the dilemma of being a man and reading this book! The points raised are excellent and very scholarly. The author deliberately illustrates her points by restricting her pictures from the exact period she is investigating. I found that I became aware of my discomfort in reading how women have been presented as objects. The author does not duck the issues in women portrayed as 'ill', very interesting read for a man. There are loads of nudes in the text to illustrate the points made and that adds to the dilemma of being a man and reading this book! The points raised are excellent and very scholarly. The author deliberately illustrates her points by restricting her pictures from the exact period she is investigating. I found that I became aware of my discomfort in reading how women have been presented as objects. The author does not duck the issues in women portrayed as 'ill', 'wounded'; as sirens, as Madonna and whore etc. The illustrations are fantastic and many never seen before - by me at least - but of course, I shouldn't be interested as the text tells me of the 'wrongness' of voyeuristic practices. I'll work through this confusion for me in my 6th decade, and look to change my practice, but still recommend this highly for those who want a thinking book on the subject of (female) nudes in art. Brilliant

  27. 5 out of 5

    Pippa

    I wasn't convinced by a lot of the examples in this, and there were some things which may have been ignored because they didn't fit with the theme. One example of how this didn't gel with me... Herbert Draper's 'The Gates of Dawn' is surely a picture of a woman looking out at all the possibilities open to her! Yes, she is reflecting moonlight, but she is beautiful and at the gates of a new world. I find this inspiring. (Am I just ignorant?) This is certainly a book which would be useful to provo I wasn't convinced by a lot of the examples in this, and there were some things which may have been ignored because they didn't fit with the theme. One example of how this didn't gel with me... Herbert Draper's 'The Gates of Dawn' is surely a picture of a woman looking out at all the possibilities open to her! Yes, she is reflecting moonlight, but she is beautiful and at the gates of a new world. I find this inspiring. (Am I just ignorant?) This is certainly a book which would be useful to provoke discussion.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    I've actually abandoned this one--it's just too dense. (And after reading Foucault's History of Madness, that's saying something.) The theories in here are interesting enough, and I definitely appreciate the copious illustrations, particularly when Dijkstra is referencing art. But I just couldn't get through the last quarter or so--the writing style is so heavy, and I feel like the points are being reiterated without adding anything new. On the bright side, there was plenty of literary reference I've actually abandoned this one--it's just too dense. (And after reading Foucault's History of Madness, that's saying something.) The theories in here are interesting enough, and I definitely appreciate the copious illustrations, particularly when Dijkstra is referencing art. But I just couldn't get through the last quarter or so--the writing style is so heavy, and I feel like the points are being reiterated without adding anything new. On the bright side, there was plenty of literary reference as well, which led to me picking up the Henry James novels I'm currently working my way through.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. now I own this would be interesting to look at this against the info in The Evolution of Great world CitiesThe Evolution of Great World Cities: Urban Wealth and Economic GrowthKENNEDY, CHRISTOPHER M start all over for a different take on this see http://paradoxosalpha.livejournal.com... now I own this would be interesting to look at this against the info in The Evolution of Great world CitiesThe Evolution of Great World Cities: Urban Wealth and Economic GrowthKENNEDY, CHRISTOPHER M start all over for a different take on this see http://paradoxosalpha.livejournal.com...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Peggy N

    Hands-down this my favorite art-history book. Modernism, Vienna, Freud, and feminists - and why Frankenstein is so much better than Dracula. Has a more gossipy than dry academic tone, yet it's carefully documented, and presents a compelling thesis. Great pictures.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.